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This idea appealed to Almond. Later he enlarged upon it. He would not only give Walker the 17th Infantry  as a floating reserve but also divert to him (to land in Pusan) the Puerto Rican 65th Regiment, vanguard of the Army's 3d Division, which was en route from the States to Japan and which could be in Pusan by September 20, substituting for the 17th Infantry. Although MacArthur had assured the JCS that the 3d Division would remain in Japan (substituting for the Inch'ŏn bound 7th Division), he approved the plan without further recourse to the JCS and said to Almond: "Tell Walker he will have to give up the Fifth Marine Regiment."[9-45]

   Unit Info

And so it was decided. Walker could employ Eddie Craig's Fifth Marines in the Naktong Bulge in support of the 2nd Division with a twenty-four-hour extension, to midnight, September 5. After that it would out-load at Pusan for Inch'ŏn. As a substitute, Walker would get the 17th Regiment in floating reserve to be relieved on September 20 by the 65th Regiment, which would land in Pusan. Walker could not have been pleased with this decision. The Puerto Rican 65th Regiment, ridiculed in the Army as the "Rum and Coke" Regiment, was perceived as no more reliable than the 24th Infantry. It was a poor substitute for the Fifth Marines. However, knowing that MacArthur had approved the compromise, Walker made no further comments.[9-46]

* * *

The Fifth Marines reentered combat on September 3 in John Hill's 9th Infantry sector around Yŏngsan. It was the second time the Marines had come into the Naktong Bulge to rescue the Army. They knew the enemy and the terrain well. They counterattacked without delay, with Hill's ragtag 9th Infantry covering the right (or north) flank. By then, Sladen Bradley remembered, Hill had "regained his composure and had recuperated physically to a marked degree."[9-47]

The Marines, advancing methodically and well supported by tanks, artillery, and Marine close air, inflicted a terrible slaughter on the green NKPA 9th Division. The Marine historian wrote that the "picture of devastation" was "unequalled even by the earlier defeat of the NKPA 4th Division." There were "hundreds of enemy dead" strewn along the road, hillsides, and ridgelines. Moreover, as they drove toward the Naktong, the Marines provided the Army an unexpected dividend. They recaptured "a great quantity of United States Army equipment" abandoned earlier in the war: tanks, artillery, mortars, vehicles, small arms, ammo.[9-48]