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The corps commander was a very senior two star general, John B. Coulter, fifty-nine, who, like Walker, came to his post from command of the Fifth Army in Chicago. He had been chosen for this important job in Walker's army by MacArthur and Almond, without the usual and customary consultation with Walker. For that reason, and others, Walker received Coulter with less than overwhelming enthusiasm.[9-77]

Coulter's ties to MacArthur and Almond stretched back over many years. Like MacArthur, he was a graduate of the West Texas Military Academy (1911). In World War I he had served with MacArthur in France in the 42nd ("Rainbow") Division. During World War II he commanded the 85th Infantry Division in Italy, fighting alongside Almond's 92nd Division. In the postwar years he had been assistant commanding general of John Hodge's XXIV Corps in the Korean occupation and, until its deactivation in March 1950, commander of Eighth Army's I Corps in Japan.[9-78]

When the NKPA 5th and 12th divisions began the attack on Pohang, the ROK 3d and Capital divisions gave way and then suddenly collapsed. Owing to Coulter's extended occupation experience in Korea, Walker placed him in command of the ROK front and issued the ROKs a stern order to "stand in place and fight." With only his chief of staff, Andrew C. Tychsen, fifty-seven, in tow, Coulter hurriedly established an advanced CP at Kyŏngju, behind the crumbling ROK front at Pohang. Tychsen, who had served Coulter as G3 during the Korean occupation, was named the "hatchet man," authorized by Coulter to use "whatever force" he needed to restore order in the panicky ROK high command. Knowing the ROKs well, Tychsen did not particularly relish the chore. "There we were, only General Coulter and myself, mind you," he remembered.[9-79]