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Thereafter Freeman ignored Haynes and ran the battlefield the way he thought best. Making good use of Peploe's 3/38 and ably assisted by his combat experienced senior officers (Ed Messinger, James Edwards, Butch Barberis, Lloyd Jenson among others), Freeman got the 23d reorganized and dug into strong defensive positions on the "north shoulder" of the NKPA breakthrough. The fighting that ensued was furious and bloody. The 1/23 and 2/23 suffered nearly 50 percent casualties, including the commanders of all six rifle companies. In return, the 23d claimed to have virtually wiped out the NKPA 2nd Division, inflicting, according to Freeman, "more than 5,000 casualties." Later official records confirmed this claim.[9-38]

Meanwhile, to the south the division ADC, Sladen Bradley, and  John Hilll were desperately trying to piece together the badly shattered 9th Infantry. As Bradley remembered it, Hill became physically exhausted and suffered a mental shock at having his regiment so badly decimated. Bradley recommended to Keiser that Hill be temporarily relieved for a rest at the division CP, but Keiser balked at that. He had already decided to sack Hill and reinstate the 9th's former commander, Chin Sloane. Hill, Bradley remembered, made a rapid recovery and demonstrated remarkable leadership by gathering together the companies of his regiment as they were able to escape and organizing them into an effective fighting force, which fell back on Yŏngsan.

* * *

When Johnnie Walker learned that the 2nd Division had been cut in half, he rushed to Keiser's CP. There Walker issued another of his unfortunate "stand or die" edicts. "We shall not surrender another inch," he told Keiser (who dutifully relayed the message to his troops), "and we shall hold regardless of cost.[9-39]


After sizing up the situation, Walker came to a difficult and drastic decision: Once again he would have to call on Eddie Craig's Marines for help. The decision was drastic both because of the humiliation it would again cause the Army and because Craig's Marines were a vital element in the Inch'ŏn invasion plan. MacArthur had limited Walker's control of the Marines to September 4, with the tacit understanding they would not again be committed to combat in the perimeter. Walker had not only to commit them to combat but also to ask for an indefinite extension of his control. As he well knew, this request could cause a postponement, or even a cancellation, of Inch'ŏn.[9-40]