I was a Missoula boy; entered university and like so many took R.O.T.C. because it paid a little money. By the time I'd graduated the Korean War had begun...I was called to active duty in January of 1951...was assigned to the 25th Division, 27th "Wolfhound" Regiment, Love Company...in the area between Kumwah and Chorwan.
A greenhorn second lieutenant always wonders about the reception he will receive. I had the good fortune to be assigned to an excellent platoon...they were in a reserve position. They ran grueling maneuvers every day; I thought I had fallen in with a herd of billy goats...I think those young men saw that I was trying to keep up and appreciated that.
In October we were on line; we faced this awesome mountain identified on the map as 1062, and there was roughly a Chinese regiment deployed there...we exchanged a' lot of fire, ran patrols at night...clanging along in the dark with all our equipment.
We got the choice assignment of being rotated back to the island of Koje-do, which was a prison camp for what was supposed to have been a three-week stint of guard duty; they had so many thousands of prisoners then, North Koreans and Chinese...it was supposed to been reward...about the third week we were there, someone hatched an ill-conceived plan for managing the segregation of these prisoners, for the purpose of interrogating them and separating (the non Communists)...they decided our battalion would make a predawn raid on the compound. They knew we were coming. They had stockpiled rocks, they had made bales of barbed wire, they had crude knives...we were met with a hail of stones, and had no place to go. All we did was hold our ground...I got the call that they were just minutes from opening fire...we hit the deck seconds before another platoon cut loose with a Browning Automatic Rifle...in just seconds, seventy-plus prisoners were killed; and one of the men in my platoon was killed by a stray bullet to the head. We withdrew; nothing was accomplished.
Then we went to Heartbreak Ridge; this was after the devastating action...spring was a gruesomely revealing season, lots of people left unburied during the winter...Essentially it was defensive...the truce talks were going on...Our young men got in the habit of howling like wolves, they were proud of being the Wolfhound Regiment...Our platoon (was next) to the Turkish Brigade...they were, it seemed to me, more belligerent in nature than we were...I came home in August of 1952...I had a very good time - peculiar use of words; things had gone well for me in the Army, and I was uncertain about leaving..."
George Turman lives today in Missoula County, Montana.
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