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The loss of Maj. Oren C. Atchley, MSC, Commanding Officer, 7th Medical Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, in late November 1950

Korean War Unit Histories

7TH INFANTRY DIVISION
7TH MEDICAL BATTALION
X CORPS
NORTHEAST KOREA

THE LOSS MAJOR OREN C. ATCHLEY, MEDICAL SERVICE CORPS
COMMANDING OFFICER, 7TH MEDICAL BATTALION, 7TH INFANTRY DIVISION
24 NOVEMBER 1950

The following Command Report, 7th Medical Battalion, for December 1950 provides a unique view into the events surrounding the loss of Maj. Oren C. Atchley, MSC, Commanding Officer, 7th Medical Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, in late November 1950. It is unusual to have such detailed information on the loss of not only Maj. Atchley but also of Sgt. Leonard Jefferson Smith, Jr., and then Pvt. Richard L. Stuck, all of the 7th Medical Battalion, and Cpl. Albert Williams, medic, assigned to the 560th Ambulance Company but then attached to the 7th Medical Battalion. The wounding of Pvt. Harry J. Mayfield, ambulance driver, 560th Ambulance Company, is also described in detail as are the actions of Sgt. Robert L. Kemble, Ambulance Company, 7th Medical Battalion, who also accompanied Maj. Atchley’s patrol. Both Sgt. Kemble and Pvt. Mayfield were reported missing in action (MIA) and were later returned to U.S. military control, Kemble on 29 November and Mayfield on the 30th. Captain Robert S. O’Hern, MSC, battalion adjutant, provides detailed information in the following reports on the missing battalion commander and his detailed debriefing of Sgt. Robert L. Kemble. For his actions during this patrol, Maj. Atchley (promoted to Lt. Col. on 10 December 1950) was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) (see Incl II to Command Report below).

John T. Greenwood, Ph.D.

Senior Contract Historian
Gray & Associates LC

Office of Medical History

Office of The Surgeon General, U.S. Army

Falls Church, Virginia


HEADQUARTERS 7TH MEDICAL BATTALION
APO # 7, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco, California

7

January 1951

SUBJECT:  Command Report for the Month of December 1950

TO           :  Commanding General
                    7th Infantry Division
                    APO 7
                    Attn: G-3 Historian

1. MISSION: Division Medical Service including:

    a. Evacuation of Unit Medical Installations.
    b . Operation of the Division Clearing Station.
    c. Dental Service for an Infantry Division.

2. EVACUATION AND OPERATION OF UNIT MEDICAL INSTALLATIONS:

During the early days of December the evacuation of Unit Medical Installations was difficult, due to the long haul by ambulance. The foremost Clearing Station was located at Kapsan in support of the 17th Regimental Combat Team, some elements of which were located at Hyesanjin. The Route of Evacuation was over the MSR from Hyesanjin to Kapsan, a distance of approximately 40 miles. From Kapsan the Evacuation continued to Pungsan a distance of approximately 42 road miles, where a second Clearing Platoon was located in support of some elements of the 31st and 32nd Infantry Regiments. From there the Evacuation continued over mountainous and rough terrain to Pukchong an approximate distance of 68 miles. The Clearing Platoon located at Pukehong was further evacuated by Rail and Ambulance to the 121st Evacuation Hospital located in the Hamhung and Hungnam area, a distance of approximately 80 miles.

During one phase of this Evacuation one ambulance carrying seven patients was reported lost but later reported safely into the 121st Evacuation Hospital, however, during the interim period a search was conducted which resulted in the loss of the Battalion Commander and four Enlisted men. (See inclosures I and II)


2

Command Report, 7th Med Bn, for the month of Dec 1950, cont’d.

3. FURTHER EVACUATION: For further Evacuation, Operation of Clearing Station, Dental Service, Supply and Operations see inclosures III through IX.

FOR THE COMMANDING OFFICER:


[signed]
JOHN P. RILEY JR.
Major, MSC
S-3 9 Incls: See Index

1st Ind
SUBJECT: Command Report

HEADQUARTERS 7th Medical Battalion, APO 7, 9 January 1951

TO: Commanding General, 7th Infantry Division, APO 7, Attn: G-3

1. The undersigned feels that a closer relationship should be established between the special divisional staff heads and the Medical Battalion CO, especially advance knowledge on movement operations so as to give advance thought and considerations in planning proper medical support and evacuation of war casualties. Advance notice of troop movements and terrain study is most essential in anticipating natural drift lines.

2. Operation of one of the Clearing Platoons has been crippled somewhat because of the lack of major items of equipment such as, autoclave, generator, organic transportation, kitchen, etc.

3. Concur with the reports of the various company commanders and section heads of this battalion and feel the organizations are functioning with maxiral efficiency and in keeping with high standards both tactically and professionally as expected of them.



ROBERT S. BUDGE
Major   MC
Commanding

9 Incls:
n/c


3

Index to Inclosnres of Command Report of 7th Medical Battalion for the month of December 1950

Incl I: MIA Report on Battalion Commander, 7th Medical Battalion
Incl II: Report of Personnel Missing in Action.
Incl III: Organizational Chart.
I ncl IV: Report, Clearing Company, 7th Medical Battalion.
Incl V: Report, Ambulance Company, 7th Medical Battalion.
Incl VI: Report, Headquarters & headquarters Company, 7th Medical Battalion.  [Ed.— following enclosures withdrawn]
Incl VII: Report, Battalion Supply Office, 7th Medical Battalion.
Incl VIII: Report, Medical Supply Office, 7th Medical Battalion.
Incl IX: Report, Dental Service, 7th Medical Battalion.


Incl I

DISPOSITION FORM

SUBJECT  MIA Report on Bn CO, 7th Med Bn

TO   Surgeon, 7th Inf Div  
FROM   CO, 7th Med Bn, APO 7   
DATE: 28 Nov 50

1. The following is a chronological account of the facts and circumstances surrounding the MIA Casualty Report submitted on Major Oren C. Atchley, Oxxxxx, MSC; 3 EM 7th Medical Battalion and 2 EM 560th Amb Co (atched this orgn), as requested for Lt Col Rowan, Deputy Chief of Staff, 7th Infantry Division, by Major Keen, AG. All map references are Korea 1: 250,000.

2. On 23 November 1950, at approximately 1900 hours, Cpl Simmons, an ambulance driver from the 560th Ambulance Co, (atched this Hq) reported to me that he left the 1st Platoon Clearing Station, this battalion, located at Kapsan, DA4148, at approximately 1430 hours and he knew that ambulance #A-24, same organization, had departed from the same station approximately one hour earlier but as yet had not arrive at its destination: 2d Platoon Clearing Station, located at Pukchong, DV 4255. I directed him to report this fact to Lt Arthur Warren, his platoon commander and that if he had any difficulty in doing so to report back to me.

3. Lt Warren in receiving this information conferred with Captain Lindquist, Ambulance Company Commander, this battalion and it was determined that the Ambulance leaving Kapsan had stopped at the 3d Platoon Clearing Station located at Pungsan DA2817 for medical care for the patient load it was carrying. This was a routine practice. The two officers decided to wait for a few hours to see if the ambulance would show up.

4. At approximately 2200 hours that date, I received a call from the battalion Commander, Major Oren C. Atchley, Oxxxxx, MSC, at advance 7th Med Bn CP at Pungsan and I asked him if he knew the whereabouts of the missing ambulance. He did not, but sent a Sgt from his CP over to the Clearing Station to inquire if they knew. I called back within the half hour and Major Atchley informed me the ambulance had departed that station at approximately 1400 hours and should have arrived at Pukchong by 1800 or 1900 hours. He directed me to dispatch an ambulance with extra  litters, blankets, and aid man to proceed towards Pungsan and cover the mountainous route in search of the missing ambulance. He stated he was sending a similar party from Pungsan to cover the route from that direction and also the road leading off into the 31st RCT area which the lost ambulance could possibly have taken. The two searching parties were to meet at the MP Station on top of the mountain and report their results. At 0430 24 November 1950 I received a call from the MP officer at the mountain top, stating the two searching parties were there and had not been able locate the missing ambulance. I directed him to send both to the forward CP at Pungsan and I would inform Major Atchley they were coming. The MP officer also informed me that a search had been made as far as the 121st Evacuation Hospital at Hamhung, CV7518, without favorable results


[2]

5. At approximately 0830 24 November 1950, Major Atchley called me and said he was taking a party consisting of an ambulance, his jeep, and five (5) other persons, extra food, arms and ammunition, blankets, splints and medical equipment in search of the missing ambulance. He stated he would leave Pungsan proceeding on the MSR to South in the direction of Hwangsuwon-ni (Kosuiin-ri) DA2505 and take the right fork in the road south of this town to the west by southwest direction to Untaek (Untan) DV1398 and in the general vicinity of the 31st RCT area. 6. The division surgeon informed our forward CP at 1500 hours 24 November 50, to the effect that the lost ambulance had reported into the 121st Evacuation Hospital at Hamhung, discharged its patient load and was on the way back to Pukchong. All concerned were notified.

7. Repeated check with the forward CP was made during the night and the following day 25 November 1950 but no word was heard of Major Atchley’s search party. Presuming he was following the route of the lost ambulance it was momentarily expected that we would have word from him either at Hamhung or he would arrive at Pukchong.

8. The evening of 25 November 1950 I called the Operations Section, Surgeon’s Office, X Corps, and informed Colonel Gorby, Corps Surgeon, that we had received no word from Major Atchley and would he please had check with the medical units in the vicinity of Hamhung. He called back with the half hour and said none of the units there had seen him. He said he would inform the Provost Marshal X Corps and I should immediately inform the 7th Div Surgeon and Provost Marshal which I did through the forward CP. Col Gorby also suggested they be requested to contact elements of the 7th RCT, 3d Infantry Division, into whose area it was thought the search party may have entered.

9. On the evening of 26 November 1950, Major John P. Riley, S-3, this battalion, informed the Chief of Staff and other members of the General Staff concerning Major Atchley’s absence. Reports were requested from units having patrols in that area and General Barr informed Major Riley that he would cause patrols to be sent into the area in the search. The Division Surgeon requested X Corps Surgeon to have all concerned alered for possible news of Major Atchley and party. Air search was requested.

10. G-1, 7th Div notified this headquarters to submit casualty reports as of 1200 hours 27 November 1950. This has been accomplished.

11. The forward battalion CP informed me on 28 November 1950, that division headquarters was sending out an infantry team with jeeps to search the area.

12. All efforts to date have proved futile.

ROBERT S. O’HERN, Capt, MSC Adjutant


Incl II

HEADQUARTERS 7TH MEDICAL BATTALION
APO 7

                        11 December 1950

SUBJECT:  Report of Personnel MIA (Sgt Kemble)

TO           :  AG Casualty Section, 7th Inf Div, APO 7.

The following is a statement made by Sgt Robert L. Kemble, RAXXXXXXXX, Ambulance Company, 7th Medical Battalion, APO 7, who was recovered after missing in action. The Sergeant was a member of a search party formed by Major Oren C. Atchley,1 OXXXXX, MSC, this organization, in an attempt to find a lost ambulance.

At 0830, 24 November 1950, we departed Pungsan, Korea, south in the direction of Untaek, Korea. The search party consisted of Major Atchley, myself, Cpl. Leonard J. Smith,2 RAXXXXXXXX, Hq & Hq Co, this Battalion, Pfc Richard L. Stuck,3 RAXXXXXXXX, Clr Co, this Battalion, and Pvts [Albert] Williams4 and [Harry J.] Mayfield, 559th [560th] Ambulance Company, 163rd Medical Battalion (sep). On the way, we stopped at the 31t RCT Medical Company CP for approximately one (1) Hour, leaving there at 1100 hours. We continued south on the road and stopped at a fork in the road south and east of Susang-ni, DV 0487. At this time the Major and Smith, who were leading in the jeep, directed me to wait while they went on south to investigate the road. About 30 minutes later he returned with information to the effect that he did not think the ambulance had taken that road. It was about 1415 hours and we stayed long enough to eat. On departing we turned right on the road leading to the west. The Major stated that down this road about 25 miles we should contact a patrol of troops from the 3d Div. During this time we passed one town but there was no evidence of the ambulance or action of any kind. I believe this town was Sangdong, CV 8988. Either before or after passing this town we went by a mine shaft. I checked the speedometer later and noticed we had gone 20 miles, about this time we came to a place where the road divided and the Major decided to take the road to the left. This road led us into a town that I believe is called Tari-ri, CV9786. In the center of the town this road came to a "Y" shape. The town had been bombed and appeared deserted. We took the right fork and crossed a bridge. As we crossed the bridge the Major hollered back it might be the right road as there was a sign on the bridge stating it had been erected by the 13th Engineers (C) Bn. On the other side we came to the dead end. The Major said for us to wait and he would reconnoiter the area. I pulled off to a School House about 50 yards away so I would be out in the open, and away from the buildings in the town. The Major came back shortly and said he couldn't find a road out but for us to wait and he would try a different direction. He was gone about five (5) minutes when I began to notice we were being surrounded on all sides by men approaching with long-barreled rifles, they were not wearing any particular type of uniform. I told the ambulance driver to make a break for it! We headed around the school house and at the far end I noticed the Major coming in our direction. We stopped long enough to tell him we were being surrounded. The Major took off in the lead on a trail leading from the school and out of town to the right into an open field. We were fired on as leaving and it looked like more enemy was trying to cut us off from forward. They were all afoot. Approximately one (1) mile out we stopped in an open field and the Major told us to get out and disperse. We were on a hill and could see the river below us. The Major and I went down a draw to the river to see if we could cross. At the river we found a railroad embankment crossing the draw paralleled to the river. At the same time we noticed the enemy coming up the other side of the river. I asked the Major if we should open fire on them.

_______

1 Maj. Oren C. Atchley, Medical Service Corps (3 November 1912-24 November 1950).  Maj. Atchley (Hunt, Texas) assumed command of the 7th Medical Battalion in Japan on 13 July 1950. He was also acting Division Surgeon from 11 July to 16 August 1950. He was reported missing in action and presumed dead on 24 November 1950. Atchley was promoted to Lt. Col. as of 10 December 1950. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, Combat Medical Badge, and Purple Heart in addition to other campaign and service medals for Korea.

DSC Citation: The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Oren C. Atchley, Medical Service Corps, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving as commanding officer of the 7th Medical Battalion, Seventh Infantry Division, in the vicinity of Pungsan, Korea, on November 24, 1950. While at a forward command post, he organized a search party to attempt to locate an ambulance with wounded men that was missing in enemy territory. The search party was attacked while he was on reconnaissance, and he was separated from the other men. On his return, without hesitation and fully award of the odds against him, he fired on the enemy, distracting them, giving his men time to escape. When last seen he was fearlessly maintaining his stand and urging the others to withdraw.

2 Sgt. Leonard J. Smith, Jr. (1929-3 February 1951).  Sgt. Smith (Tampa, Florida) was captured in North Korea on 24 November, marched to a POW camp, and died there on 3 February 1951. He was awarded a Bronze Star and Combat Medical Badge in addition to other campaign and service medals for Korea.

3 Sgt. Richard L. Stuck (1930-24 November 1950). Sgt. Stuck (Beaver, Pennsylvania) died from wounds received on 24 November 1950. He received the Purple Heart, Combat Medical Badge, and campaign and service medals for Korea.

4 Cpl. Albert Williams (1930-27 November 1950). Cpl. Williams (Hinds, Mississippi) was a medic with the 560th Ambulance Company and was taken prisoner on 27 November and presumed to have died that day. He was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Medical Badge, and campaign and service medals for Korea.


[2]

Hq 7th Med Bn, APO 7, Subject: Report of Personnel MIA (Sgt Kemble) 11 Dec 50

He said not to because maybe if we didn't they wouldn't. He said we'd better abandon our vehicles and take off on foot. We went back and gathered the rest of the men at the vehicles and prepared to abandon them. We each took a can of "C" rations and all the ammunition we could carry. We headed over the hill parallel to the river and railroad. Looking down off the right, we could see them both. After a short ways we headed down to the railroad, turned left in the opposite direction of the town we'd left, with Major in the lead. We kept about 30 yards from one another. About 3/4 of a mile down the railroad we saw a North Korean with a long-barrelled rifle coming head on towards us. When he saw the Major he stopped, whirled around and started running. The Major fired and the North Korean dived off the bank down towards the river. The Major saw him crossing the river but he was too far off out of range to get an effective shot. This took place about dusk. We headed on about 3/4 of a mile further and turned right off the railroad tracks and crossed the river. We headed straight up the side of a mountain following a trail. At the top we turned left and proceeded cautiously. Ahead the trail went around the mountain and down grade. Dogs were heard barking below us and the shapes of houses could be made out. The trail led down through the houses. The first house was passed OK. The Major and Smith got by the second house where the dogs were barking. As I approached, someone came out of the house. They kept repeating something in Korean. Then it sounded as though they said in English "are you there"? I turned and whispered to the 3 men behind me, "hit the dirt". Mayfield hollered "he's got a gun!” The North Korean started towards us and I shot him. He fell to our left, and as he did he opened up on us with a burp gun he had. Other persons came out of the house and opened fire on us. One was firing a burp gun. Williams had 2 hand grenades that he gave to me. I threw one towards the house and it must have been effective because I heard screaming as if they had been hit. Just before this I saw the Major or Smith, it looked more like the Major, standing up ahead in the middle of the road with a carbine on automatic firing into the same house I had thrown the grenade. The second grenade I threw hit the side of the house. Right after that the firing quieted down to sporadic shots. I looked down to the right and thought I saw three tanks in the distance. I was trying to see the Major and at the same time the men behind me were trying to get me back. I told them to go ahead and I would take the rear. They told me to go ahead and I would follow, as I took off and had them cover me and then follow in turn. I ran about 50 yards and fell in the ditch to cover for them while they were catching up. When they came up I saw Williams supporting Stuck. He had been hit and was insisting we take off and get away. He kept saying he couldn't make it and that he was done for. On examining him I saw that he was shot right through the center of the chest. We carried him back about 400 yards further, near a stream, and examined him closer. He was in shock and semi-delirious. I covered him with my parka and told him we were going back for the Major and try to help. I don't think he understood. We three held a conference whether to try to take Stuck or not. In the meantime we heard more firing in the direction the Major had gone. We decided the best to do was to leave Stuck and try to get help for him. We had no means of giving Medical treatment to him of any kind. When we left we tried to get over to the other side of the mountain but ran into heavy gun fire over there. We backtracked along the slope and tried to get over to the Major by the other side but ran into more fire over there. We backtracked again to where we started and I told the other two men I didn't think there was but one other thing to do but to travel south and east until we contacted American troops, if possible.


[3]

We put the North star to our back and traveled south all night, bypassing villages and houses keeping to the mountains honing to hit a road.  

At dawn the next day, 25 November 1950, we were up on a mountain and decided to rest during the day in the shelter of the rocks. It was so cold though, we couldn't stay there we kept walking south and east following the sun. We walked until 2200 that night. Being quite exhausted we stopped and built a fire and made a bed out of pine branches to lay over the snow. We took turns pulling guard, I dried my sacks and insides of my shoe pacs and kept telling the ambulance drivers to keep wriggling their toes and care for their feet. Mayfield had on combat boots and Williams had at Snow Pacs. For food we split one can of Apricots. Mayfield was sick and kept vomiting all night.  

The next day, 26 November 1950, we started out again in the same direction we had the day before, that after noon we heard a fire fight in the distance. There were both American and enemy weapons and from the sounds of it an Infantry company was engaged and air power was used. At 2200 hours that night we stopped and ate a can of pears, the last we had. We took the same care of our feet. I noticed both the Ambulance drivers feet were in bad shape, and Mayfield was still vomiting, they were both depressed and discouraged.  

The following morning, 27 November 1950, we started out again. The two drivers were doubting we were ever going to be rescued and needed encouragement to keep going. That afternoon we saw a lone House and decided to take our chance on it being friendly as we couldn't go much further without help. We went down to the house and they took us in and fed us. The two drivers were hollering and screaming because of the pain in their feet and I didn't think they would make it much further. We stayed there all night and I tried to keep guard but because of the warmth and my state of exhaustion I fell asleep. The occupants gave us no trouble.

The following morning 28 November 1950, the two drivers were in very bad shape. Williams feet were so bad he couldn't get his shoes on. His feet were swollen and the toe nails were dropping off. Mayfield with a lot of struggle got his shoes on. We knew we couldn’t take Williams and told him we were going to have to go for help. He wanted us to go on for help and gave me his parka. About a mile down the mountain we noticed 4 or 5 houses below us. They were standing 200 yards or so apart. We decided to pass each house at a time and one of us would cover the other. As I approached the 3rd or 4th house a young North Korean came out and was trying to tell me something I motioned to Mayfield to come ahead. Some women came out of the house with "C" ration cans and made gestures for us to come in the house. When we got in she showed us some meat she was cooking and pointed towards an oxen in the road to indicated it was beef. I had her eat some and then we all ate. While we were eating the farmer in whose house we had stayed the night before came in and he and the young man did a lot of talking and motioning in our direction. They came over and got us by the arm and led us out of the house and up a trail. They took us about 15 miles over a mountain, carrying Mayfield most of the way. He wanted to give up and I had to keep insisting and encouraging him to go on. About dark we came to a house on the other side of the mountain and they fed us there. The North Koreans and I wanted to go on further but Mayfield couldn't. The 2 North Koreans left then and came back with about 10 more natives. They burst in from all doors and surrounded us. I noticed right away they were not armed and they did not try to take ours. The men all pulled South Korean arm bands from their pockets and put them on their arms.


[4]

Hq 7th Med Bn, APO 7, Subject; Report of personnel MIA(Sgt Kemble) 11 Dec 50 cont'd page 4.

The word "peace" was written on them with south Korean Flag and Korean writing on them. They went out of their way to be nice to us and gave us a gallon can of GI apple sauce. They drew a picture of a cross on a piece of paper and wrote K2 on it and made action like they wanted to take care of our feet. Mayfield wouldn't let them take off his shoes and I told them mine were OK. Then they opened the door and showed me a sled with hay on it and at the same time one of them drew a picture of an ambulance. Mayfield still didn't want to go but I told him I thought we should take a chance on it. They had to force Mayfield on. They tried to pull and force me out but I jerked loose and stood back with my M-1 and had them go out first. They did and I followed. An ox pulled the sled and we followed, we went across country about 3 or 4 miles until we came to a road. This was the first road we'd seen since we were lost. It appeared to have been well travelled by vehicles. We went on about mile until we hit town. At the first house we were stopped by a Korean who let us go by after the Koreans with us gave a password. From the time we left the house I had them covered with my M-1. The next place we stopped was a house that looked like a prison. They took Mayfield in and I followed, Mayfield kept wanting to know if we were PWs. During the night about 20 or 30 more natives came in. They were very secretive and suspicious acting and sat around in a circle.

The next morning, 29 November 1950, Mayfield wanted to make a break for it but I told him there wasn’t any use and if we were PWs just to make the best of it. For about two hours they kept taking papers out of secret places and it was evident they were filling them out on me. They used a lot of official looking stamps and seals on them, they wanted me to write on them but I wouldn't.

At approximately 1000 hours they grabbed me and pulled me out the door. When I looked down the street I saw an American Patrol and hollered at them. They took us to the 31st RCT Aid Station for Medical Care.

It is my opinion that the Major and Smith got away from the village where we had our first fire fight because of the firing we heard on the far side of the mountain later on. I believe that was from he and Smith trying to fight their way out. Because of the apparent critical condition Stuck was in I don't think there was much chance for him.

Williams feet were very black and swollen and the toe nails had come off. I think he would be taken care of as best possible by the North Koreans we left him with. The patrol that rescued us could not go on further towards him because of heavy enemy fire.

Sgt. Kemble was evacuated through Medical channels to the 121st Evacuation Hospital.

ROBERT S. O'HERN
Captain MSC
Adjutant


Incl III

Organizational Chart

Organizational Chart


Incl IV

CLEARING COMPANY Seventh Medical Battalion
APO 7

2 Jan 1950

Subject: Command Report

To:        S-3, Hq. 7th Medical Battalion

On 1 Dec. 1950 the Clearing Company was widely dispersed and operating three platoons, each with a different type of mission. The 1st Platoon was at Yong-po airfield, near Hamhung, assisting in air evacuation of 7th Division and Marine wounded. The 2nd Plt. was at Pukchong, serving as a large holding installation, in conjunction with the 1st MASH. The 3rd. Plt. was at Pungsan, in direct support of the 17th RCT. On 2 Dec. the 3rd Pit. closed down operations and it and the Clearing Company Headquarters went to Hamhung. On 3 Dec. the Clearing Company minus the 2nd Platoon set up a Clearing Station at Unhung-ni, between Hamhung and Hungnam,while the 2nd Plt. was staying in Pukchong to give medical support to the troops which were vacating Northeastern Korea. On 5 Dec. the 2nd Plt. left Pukchong and joined the rest of the company at Unhung-ni. A Clearing Station was in operation at this location until 15 Dec.

During the evacuation the Hamhung from the northeastern part of Korea, the company was forced to abandon two 2 ½ -ton trucks with trailers and one separate trailer in the mountain passes.

On 14 Dec. the Clearing Co., minus a detachment of picked personnel, left Hungnam on the USNS General Freeman and debarked at Pusan on 18 Dec. They proceeded by train to Toksong-dong, where a Clearing Station was put into operation on 20 December.

On 15 Dec. the medical battalion of the 3rd Division assumed the medical support of the remainder of the 7th Division in the Hungnam area, and on 19 Dec. the detachment which had remained behind from the Clearing Company at Hungnam left for Pusan on the USNS General Mitchell. They joined the rest of the company at Toksong-dong. A combined Clearing Station was in operation at that location ant it 31 Dec., when the 1st Plt, was attached to the 17th RCT and moved north to support the regiment in its new location. The remainder of the company remained at Toksong-dong to operate the installation at that location.

During the month of December, 1950, the Clearing Company admitted 750 patients, of which only two were battle casualties. There were 111 non-battle casualty injuries and 637 cases of disease. Although the 7th Division suffered many more battle casualties than these figures reflect, the great majority of them were evacuated through Marine or X Corps installations, due to the tactical situation.

During this period there were 109 cases of cold injury, 104 cases of upper respiratory infections, and 10 cases of neuropsychictric ailments.The remainder of the the diseases were in the normal incidences.

The period was one which was, characterized manly by movement and varied types of operations. It was the Clearing Company's first experience in withdrawal tactics, and, support of this type of operation.

[signed]
RICHARD L. MINER
Capt., MC
Commanding


Incl V

AMBULANCE COMPANY 7TH MEDICAL BATTALION
APO 7

2 January 1951

SUBJECT:       Unit History

TO:                  Commanding Officer
                        7th Medical Battalion
                        APO 7

The Unit was alerted the first day of the month at Pukchong, Korea. On 2 December 1950 the company departed that location in a motor convoy with Hamhung, Korea as its destination. At this time 14 vehicles were not with the Unit due to their supporting the 31st Infantry Regiment near the Chosin reservoir in North Korea.

The convoy encountered no difficulty the 75 miles to Hamhung arriving there 0330 hours on the 3rd. We stopped for the remainder of the night with the 3rd Platoon Clearing Company who then were host to the 7th Medical Battalion for rations and quarters.

On that same day at 1500 hours we traveled 5½ miles to Hungnam, Korea and set up in a school building. This location was used as an assembly area for the 7th Medical Battalion while the company was carrying on normal operations or ambulance service to various units evacuating to the 121st Evacuation Hospital.

The morale of the company was boosted on the 12th day of December. On this date SFC Onis Whitehouse, with other EM of the company, joined the Unit from the Chosin reservoir area. This was the first time they had been with the company since 26 November 1950.

Reports from SFC Whitehouse varified the fact that 7 vehicles had been lost in enemy action near the reservoir. This brought a total loss or 12 vehicles in the Korean war.

On 14 December the Unit, less a Provisional Platoon of 16 vehicles that stayed at Hungnam for evacuating the sick and wounded, motored to Hungnam harbor, got aboard a LCVP then to the USNS General H. B. Freeman. The Unit's destination was Pusan, Korea arriving there on the 17th. The company debarked on the 18th, marched to the Pusan RTO for a troop movement by rail to Toksung-dong, Korea arriving at 2330 hours of the same day.

The Unit was quartered and began to set up in a building formerly used as a school. Two tents were also set up for troop quarters and another for the Orderly and Supply rooms. Company


2

SUBJECT: Unit History, Amb Co, 7th Med. Bn

headquarters personnel stayed in one room of the main building. Normal operations were being carried on in garrison fashion.

On 22 December the vehicles and men that were left at Hungnam as a provisional platoon had joined the company at Toksong-dong. While earoute aboard the USNS General Billy Mitchell, Pfc Craft was admitted to sick bay. When all the troops debarked from the ship, Pfc Craft was transferred to the Swedish Evacuation Hospital at Pusan.

The 26th of December 1950 1st Lt Morton T Cutler assumed command of the company due to Captain Lindquist being transferred to Headquarters and Headquarters Company of this Battalion. Cpl. Mitchell, driver for the Captain, was transferred to Hq & Hq Co at the same time.

Inspections were quite frequent the past week from higher headquarters. Vehicles, supply and orderly rooms and general area have been improved greatly. Cleanliness and first echelon work of the vehicles have been stressed mainly and a recent inspection by Division Ordnance has shown our vehicles are above average within the Division.

Ten promotions to corporal, four to private first class, one to sergeant and two to sergeant first class were effected the past month.

Pay day for the unit was Sunday, 31 December 1950.

[signed]
MORTON T CUTLER
1st Lt., MSC
Commanding


Incl VI

HEADQUARTERS & HEADQUARTERS COMPANY
7th Medical Battalion
APO 7, care of Postmaster
San Francisco California

8 January 1951.

SUBJECT: Command Report for the month of December 1950

TO:        S-3 Officer
              7th Medical Battalion
              APO 7

1. Mission-Command, and organizational maintenance for Medical Battalion: division medical supply and dental service.

2. The following report is the main events or the unit which took place during the month of December 1950.

    1 December 1950, Foward C.P. moved back from Pungsaa Korea to rejoin the main group of the battalion at Pukchong Korea.

    2 December 1950, Unit was ordered to move from Pukchong Korea at 1539 hours, by VOCO of the battalion commander. At 1630 hours all the vehicle of the unit was loaded and ready to move. At l900 hours convoy departed area with instruction to destroy any vehicles that had to be abandoned during convey movement. No vehicles or this unit had to be destroyed during convey movement.

    3 December 1950, Unit arrived at Hamhung Korea at 0230 hours. Unit stayed over night with a Clearing Company Platoon which was located in the town of Hamhung Korea. At 1400 hours unit moved to Hungnam Korea to set up operations in school building.

    4 December 1950, The unit conducted a checking of TO&E equipment that was lost during the convoy movement from Pukchong to Hungnam Korea. The equipment that was lost consisted of one (1) C.P. tent, one(1)squad tent and two (2) small wall tents.

    14 December 1950, Unit departed Hungnam Korea at 1300 hours. Traveled by motor to Hungnam Harbor a distance of approximately 7 miles. From 1330 to 1430 hours unit embarked LCVP. At 1435 hours unit embarked the USNS General H.B. Freeman.

    15 December 1950, At 0900 hours the USNS General H.B. Freeman arrived at the Port of Pusan Korea.

    17 December 1950, Unit aboard General H. B. Freeman awaiting orders to debark.

    18 December 1950, At 1715 hours unit debarked USNS


2

General H. B. Freeman and marched to Pusan Korea RTO, for troop movement by rail, destination Toksung-dong Korea, arrived at 2330 hours. Unit then marched from RTO to a grain warehouse to spend the night.

    19 December 1950, At 1400 hours unit marched to school building a distance of one (1) mile. Unit then set up operations in the school building.

    22 December 1950, Word was received this date, that at 0030 hours, 28 November 1950, Capt James Baido, Cpl Elwyn D. Nordyke, Cpl James L. Scott (while on DS with Med Co 31st Inf) was in a convey with the Med Co 31st Inf moving towards the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea when the convey was ambushed by the enemy. Sgt Walter C. Boncal, Med Co 31st Inf was the last person to see them, since they were report M.I.A.

3. The following is Foot Notes of the events of this unit.

    6 December 1950, lst Lt W.P. Stender (MSC) promoted to Captain, par  17 SO #73 Hq X Corps.

   7 December 1950, Major John E Pleasants (DC) assumes Command of the battalion per. G.O. 30 Hq 7th Med Bn.

    9 December 1950, Major Oren C Atchley (MSC) promoted to LT Col par 21 SO 72 Hq X Corps (while missing in action) Catpain A.M. Lawson (DC) promoted to Major par 3 SO 76 Hq X Corp (while on DS).

    10 December 1950, Major Robert S Budge (MC) assigned and joined to this unit.

    11 December 1950, Major Robert S Budge (MC) assumes Command of the Battalion vice Major John C Pleasents (DC) relieved.

    13 December 1950, Pfc William D Inman evacuated and reasgd to 2nd ESB Hospital.

    26 December 19505 Lt Col Oren C Atchley (MSC) and Corporal Leonard J Smith dropped from morning report as M.I.A. Corporal Charles L Mitchell assigned to unit from Ambulance Company. Captain Marshall C Lindquist (MSC) assigned to unit as Company Commander vice Captain Wilbur P Stender (MSC) relieved. Captain Wilbur P Stender (MSC) and CWO Clarence H Miller from duty to absent sick to 4th Field Hospital. Lst Lt William N Llewellyn (MSC) assigned to the unit as S-4 Officer from Clearing from Clearing Company.

    27 December 1950, Major Ansel M Lawson (DC) was relieved from DS and reasgd to 9956 TSU Fitzsimons General Hospital Denver, Colo.

    28 December 19501 Sgt Kenwerd P Hebert, Kenneth L Gates and Vernon I Rathburn promted to Sgt 1cl par 1 SO 141 Hq 7th Med Bn. Pfc Hubert L Harden and Joseph A Donioan promoted to Corporal par 1 SO 141 Hq 7th Med Bn.


3

    30 December 1950, M/Sgt Joseph J Bakulla, is First Sergeant of Headquarters Company, vice M/Sgt Charles R Wright relieved.

[signed]
MARSHALL C. LINDQUIST
Capt. MSC
Commanding

3 Incls
    1.. Bn Supply Report
    2. Div Med Supply Report
    3. Div Dental Section Report
[Ed.— all enclosures withdrawn]


SOURCE:  National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 407, Records of the US Army Adjutant General, Unit Historical Records, 7th Medical Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, Command Report, December 1950, Box 3185.