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Korean_War Korean_War

The hundreds of men of the 34th Regiment and McGrail's 2/19 who were cut off or trapped in Taejŏn and withdrew or escaped to the hills southward all had hair-raising adventures as well. Many senior officers, including Ayres, McGrail, and Jack Smith, made it out, but others did not.

Ayres's 1/34 exec, Leland Dunham, was shot in the neck and killed on the Kŭmsan road. The 34th's new S3, William McDaniel, was captured and probably murdered in captivity for his defiance to torture and brainwashing.[5-70]

Probably the largest 34th Regiment group was led out by the 1/34 platoon leader William Caldwell and the 1/34 S3, Sidney M. Marks, a tough World War II paratrooper.

Caldwell remembered:

"The first battalion was decimated. I ended up on the high ground south of Taejŏn with Marks and three other officers and about two hundred men, many of them wounded. We had no maps, no communications, no ammo, except that on our backs, no food, no water, no vehicles. We headed south, then west, moving rather ponderously because of the injured and wounded. On the third day without food, men went into the fields and dug up potatoes and vegetables and ate them raw, a distressing sight.

"On the third or fourth night Marks and I, who were in superb condition, were elected to go ahead of the main party and try to find friendly forces and get help - transportation. We finally managed to reach a ROK headquarters, where we were refused help until Marks threatened to create an `international incident.'
The ROKs relinquished three trucks, and we shuttled the men to the ROK headquarters. The ROKs would do nothing more for us, nor would the [5-American] Army command in Pusan, which we raised by landline. We then commandeered a train and went due south to Yŏsu, on the coast, cooking our first edible food - eggs - in the engine boiler and washing them down with sips of sake and beer, the first purified liquid we'd had since Taejŏn. At Yŏsu we commandeered a boat, loaded our troops, and sailed for Pusan, where we were issued new gear and sent back into the line - every soldier in that group now a fighter."[5-71]