19500722 2100 12sn

The 27th Infantry's Baptism of Fire

Korean_War Korean_War

Closely related to the Yŏngdong action was the enemy advance southward on the next road eastward, the Poŭn-Hwanggan road. The N.K. 2nd Division, arriving too late on the east of Taejon to help in the attack on that city, turned toward Poŭn. Unless checked it would pass through that town and come out on the main Sŏul-Pusan highway at Hwanggan, about ten miles east of Yŏngdong. This would place it in the rear of the 1st Cavalry Division on the latter's main supply road. The task of defending this road fell to the 27th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. 25th Division. Upon first arriving in Korea that regiment went to the Uisŏng area, thirty-five air miles north of Taegu.

Korean_War Korean_War

On 13 July it moved from there to Andong to support ROK troops, but before it entered action in the heavy battles then taking place in that area it suddenly received orders to move to Sangju. En route to that place it received still other orders to change its destination to Hwanggan, and it closed there in an assembly area the night of 22-23 July.

General Walker had begun the quick and improvised shifting of troops to meet emergencies that was to characterize his defense of the Pusan Perimeter. The 27th Infantry's mission at Hwanggan was to relieve the decimated ROK troops retreating down the Poŭn road. [12-45] In carrying out Eighth Army's orders to block the Poŭn road, Colonel Michaelis assigned the 1st Battalion of the 27th Infantry the task of making contact with the enemy.

On the morning of 23 July, Lt. Col. Gilbert J. Check moved the 1st Battalion northward toward Poŭn from the Hwanggan assembly area. He took up defensive positions in the evening near the village of Sangyong-ni, south of Poŭn. The battalion assumed responsibility for that sector at 1700 after ROK troops fell back through its position. [12-46]

Colonel Check was unable to obtain from the retreating ROK troops any information on the size of the North Korean force following them or how close it was. That night he sent 1st Lt. John A. Buckley of A Company with a 30-man patrol northward to locate the enemy. Near Poŭn Buckley saw an enemy column approaching. He quickly disposed his patrol on hills bordering both sides of the road, and, when the column was nearly abreast, opened fire on it with all weapons. This fire apparently caused the enemy advanced unit to believe it had encountered a major position, for it held back until daylight. When the enemy turned back, Buckley and his patrol returned to the 1st Battalion lines, arriving there at 0400, 24 July. Six men were missing. [12-47]