19500819 0000 SATURDAY
Three wars of Stratemeyer



1 950

biography   biography

General Partridge called at 0920 and reported the following: He is consolidating his hqrs at Pusan and the opening of the JOC took place last night at 2000 hours at Pusan. He with a small command group will remain along side General Walker with his small command group at Taegu. He has excellent communications (telephone) with the JOC.

Yesterday morning apparently the Communists spread a rumor in Taegu that any of the civilian population that remained there would be shot, and, as a con- sequence, nearly the complete evacuation of Taegu took place by the civilians. The military did not know why this happened, but finally got the information. As a result, the roads to the rear from Taegu were a mass of humanity. They feel though the civilian population will begin to flow back to Taegu.

General Partridge reported the ground situation far less tense and that he along with General Walker was most optimistic.

I queried him as to whether he was obtaining "flash" reports from the  31st Recon Sq. [207] He said he knew of one, but couldn't answer as to whether they were coming in daily. I asked that he investigate and let me know as I am not satisfied that the information that should get to Partridge is being sent by "flash" report from the 31st Recon airplanes. (Carbon copies of above made - given to Craigie and Weyland.)


Prepared an official letter (T.S.) to CINCFE subject: Evaluation of B-29
Area Bombing Effort 16 August 1950. Enclosed with this letter were copies of evaluation reports from Walker, Partridge, O'Donnell, and FEAF director of intelligence highlights of photo interpretation of post strike photos. Also enclosed was a map. I summarized the above enclosures and made the following recommendation: (a) that the B-29s not be employed on additional areas tentatively selected near the battle line. (b) that the B-29s be employed on the interdiction program and JCS targets in North Korea. (c) that aircraft of the Seventh Fleet normally be available for tactical employment.



The above letter delivered to Colonel Bunker, CINCFE's ADC at 1240 hours, today (19 Aug).

Following quoted in toto:


July 10

The initial build up of P'ohang (K-3) started 10 July when an advanced Air Force party, engineer outfit, and AAA moved into the then vacant air strip which the Japanese had constructed in 1940.

July 11

On 11 July Air Police security teams, OSI and advanced parties of the tactical and support squadrons arrived.

July 14

400 airmen were airlifted on 13 July and 14 July we flew our first missions. Initially it was only planned to operate the 40th squadron from K-3 until the 39th Squadron could be converted from jets to '51s on or about 1 August.

The 40th with 20 aircraft was scheduled to fly between 30 and 40 sorties a day, and this average was maintained from 14 July to 1 August.

Our initial targets were generally on the east coast in support of the 23d ROK Regiment which at that time had been pushed back to Yŏnghae from some 30 miles up the coast.


From the 14th of July on the east coast show became more or less a personal battle between the 40th Fighter Squadron and the 5th North Korean Division, whose drive was stopped at Yŏngdök for the first time about July 23rd. Close liaison was established between K-3 and the following KMAG advisors with the 3d ROK Division and the 23d and 27th ROK Regiments: Colonel Emmerich, Major Britten, Captain Austin, Captain Putnam.[208]

These officers have all stated that it was largely through the efforts of the
Air Force on the east coast that the two ROK regiments were able to
finally hold the 5th Division at Yŏngdök. Up to this time they had been chopped almost in half in numbers and lost very nearly all of their
weapons, other than personal arms. The resultant stiffening of their resistance forced the 5th Division to dig into slopes surrounding Yŏngdök and for better than two weeks their offenses were stalled.

After this stoppage at Yŏngdök the front quieted down, suspiciously so. It became evident through South Korean police reports and KMAG intelligence reports that the North Koreans were infiltrating down through the slopes just west of P'ohang. I requested permission from the Fifth Air Force Hqrs to mount an air strike in these hills, and though very closely controlled by spotter planes the wooded area provided very little in the way of targets.

July 25

The information that 2,000 to 3,000 troops was in that area was passed through normal intelligence channels, and since about the 25th of July has appeared in very nearly all intelligence reports. The South Korean police and the South Korean naval headquarters at P'ohang were so concerned about this force that they evacuated all of the small villages just west of P'ohang.

 POW's brought in from these hills revealed to the OSI that they had left their battalions at Wanson [209] in groups of 25 under a junior officer with about 10-days supplies and had infiltrated through the hills to their present position. Only the officers were in possession of information regarding the mission, and none of these were captured.

July 20

From the 20th of July on we kept constant surveillance on this force with spotter type aircraft.

August 8

It wasn't until the 8th of August that the force began to move toward Kigye. Sporadic fighting that day occurred between South Korean police forces and the naval battalion and the North Koreans.

August 9

On 9 August the North Koreans moved into Kigye. General Farrell [210] of KMAG flew to K-3 that day and advised us that this band was merely a small group of guerrillas operating independently. This information was directly opposed to what our own intelligence people had learned from the South Koreans. That day General Farrell started out toward Kigye in a jeep with Bill Lawrence of the New York Times, Bill Boyle, Associated Press, and two other correspondents. They got no farther than P'ohang where he learned that the force in Kigye, and now some three miles south of Kigye, was larger than he had anticipated. He immediately requested 8th Army for a task force to be in place that night at K-3.

It was this task force, composed of tanks and infantry, which ran into the road block eight miles out of P'ohang and which suffered heavy casualties in trying to push through to the field at one o'clock in the morning. Parts of this force were ambushed in a defile southwest of P'ohang and chopped up pretty badly with small arms and machine gun fire. Through most of that night and the next day the objective of the North Koreans was P'ohang. Very little fighting occurred in their move on the town and they were in complete possession of it by noon.

From noon that day and for 24 hours P'ohang burned.

August 11

All during the day of the 11th, South Korean police kept reporting bands of NK's encircling us over the ridges to the west and south of the field. Sporadic firing onto the field and at the airplanes occurred all during the 10th, 11th, and 12th.

August 9

On the 9th of August I asked for three LSTs to be spotted in the harbor on the east coast, nine miles from our base. This was done and all of our heavy equipment was put on board. A perimeter was established about the town with Air Force troops with Lt Col Louis C. Adams [211] commanding.

August 11

This perimeter, however, was infiltrated on the 11th and the LSTs came under sniper fire and were forced to retire 2,000 yards off shore. BGen J. Sladen Bradley ,[212] in command of the task force assigned to guard the field, felt he could not guard the field adequately and still guarantee the road to the port. Therefore, all vehicles going to and from the port area with equipment were under heavy Air Force guard, and the three wounded that the Air Force sustained during this operation were the result of sniper fire on this road.

August 13

It wasn't until the morning of the 13th when General Partridge found out that (1) encirclement was more or less complete on three sides of the air field; (2) that the enemy had brought down artillery from Kigye; and (3) it looked as though little could be done about the sporadic firing the base was sustaining, that he ordered movement of the aircraft to K-2 and airlift of the remaining personnel to Tsuiki in Japan. This decision was made since it was no longer feasible to operate from K-3 on a reduced efficiency basis. With the airmen dug in and firing and under- going firing all during the hours of darkness, it left them little energy to do their daylight jobs.

In summary, I do not know whether more infantry would have helped the situation, but I do know that K-3 became less and less valuable as the enemy was about to infiltrate and take any part of the air strip under fire.

August 9

Our efficiency fell off rapidly with the first all-out perimeter defense of
300 men I established on August 9th. From there on out it was just a matter of time as to when we would have to move to another field in order to make our efforts worthwhile.

s/ Robert W. Witty, Colonel, USAF, Commanding Officer, K-3.

August 17

(17 Aug 50 date Col. Witty departed for ZI.) [213]

August 18

The above statement was read and initialed by: Craigie, Weyland and
Crabb, 18 Aug 50.


207. A "flash" report gave the first available details pertaining to a given mission, usually the number of aircraft or personnel lost on the mission. A "flash" message (see later entries), on the other hand, was a message of such importance as to have transmission priority over all other messages.

208. Lt Col Rollins S. Emmerich, senior advisor to the 3d ROK Division; Capt Gerald D. Putnam, advisor to the ROK 23rd Regiment; Maj Britten and Capt Austin are unidentified.

209. "Wanson" has not been identified. It is possible that the named area is actually Sŏsan, located about 65 miles west of P'ohang [and on the west coast??? see map].

210. Brig Gen Francis W. Farrell had been scheduled to command the artillery of one of the divisions. Dean's loss caused a change of plans and he assumed command of KMAG on July 25.

211. Lt Col Louis C. Adams, commander of the 6131st Air Base Group.

212. Brig Gen J. Sladen Bradley , 2nd Infantry Division assistant division commander. During World War II he had been a regimental commander and chief of staff of the 32nd Infantry Division.

213. According to the official Army history, there had been no “effective” mortar fire on the airfield and that reports of the small-arms fire were greatly exaggerated. (Appleman, p 329.) The feeling was that the field
was abandoned precipitously.