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Lieutenant Fern's 2nd Platoon led the A Company  [2nd Platoon , A Company, 9th Infantry of the 2nd Division] withdrawal immediately after dark, moving eastward along the ridge crest. At the eastern tip the platoon started down. Near the bottom the leading men saw a column of about 400 North Koreans marching on the road some 200 yards below them with a number of machine guns mounted on wheels.

Rodriguez ordered the company to circle back up the ridge and away from the road. Fern was to bring up the rear and carry with him the wounded, two of whom were litter cases. Transporting the wounded over the rough terrain in the darkness was a slow and difficult task and gradually Fern's platoon fell behind the others. By the time he reached the base of the ridge he had lost contact with the rest of the company.

At this juncture a furious fire fight erupted ahead of Fern. Enemy machine gun fire from this fight struck among the 2nd Platoon and pinned it down. For their safety, Fern decided to send the wounded back into the ravine they had just descended, and put them in charge of Platoon Sgt. Herbert H. Freeman and ten men. Several stragglers from the advanced elements of the company joined Fern and reported that Rodriguez and the rest of the company had run into a sizable enemy force and had scattered in the ensuing fight. Lieutenant Rodriguez and most of the company were killed at close range. In this desperate action, Pfc. Luther H. Story, a weapons squad leader, so distinguished himself by a series of brave deeds that he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Badly wounded, Story refused to be a burden to those who might escape, and when last seen was still engaging enemy at close range. Of those with Rodriguez, approximately ten men escaped to friendly lines.