19500904 1700 22sn

Vandygriff led his platoon, now at the head of the company, on up the gully and finally, about 1700, came through a tunnel under a small ridge and the stone wall into the bowl-shaped summit of Hill 755, the southern arm of the Hill 902 crest. The 2d and 3d Platoons soon arrived, in that order. When he was within fifty feet of the top, Colonel Palmer received radio orders from General Gay to come off the mountain; Gay had not known that Palmer had accompanied the attack until he telephoned Holley trying to locate him. [22-57]

Lieutenant Kennedy quickly placed the approximately ninety men of his company in position facing in an arc from west to northeast; the 2d Platoon took the left flank near the stone wall, the 1st Platoon took the center position on a wooded knoll, and the 3d Platoon the right flank at the edge of a woods. Just as he reached the top, 2d Lt. Thomas T. Jones, commanding the 3d Platoon, saw and heard three North Korean mortars fire, approximately 1,000 yards away on a grassy ridge to the right (east). He suggested to Lieutenant Kennedy several times that he request artillery fire on these mortars, but Kennedy did not act on the suggestion. Kennedy established his command post inside the tunnel behind the 2d Platoon position. The D Company position was entirely within the area enclosed by the stone wall, which was nearly intact except on the northeast near the 3d Platoon position where it had crumbled and was covered with brush and trees. Lieutenant Jones pointed out to his platoon sergeant and squad leaders where he wanted them to take position at the edge of the woods facing the enemy mortars he had seen on the grassy ridge beyond. He then remained a few minutes in conversation with Lieutenant Kennedy. [22-58]

A few minutes later Jones joined his 3d Squad men at the edge of the woods. They told him that the platoon sergeant and the rest had continued on toward the narrow grassy ridge. Just then one of the squad called Jones to the edge of the woods and pointed out ten or twelve well-camouflaged North Korean soldiers, one of them carrying a machine gun, coming down the narrow ridge toward them from the mortar position. Apparently this group was a security force for the mortars because they dropped to the ground about one-third of the way down the ridge.

Jones decided he had better bring back his other two squads to form a solid line and, expecting to be gone only a few minutes, he left his SCR-300 radio behind. That, as he said later, was his big mistake. Jones found one squad but the other had gone on farther and was not visible. While he studied the terrain and waited for a messenger he had sent to bring back that last squad, North Koreans attacked the main company position behind him. Judging by the firing and yelling, Jones thought North Koreans were all over the wooded bowl between him and the rest of the company. When the firing ended, all he could hear was North Korean voices. Jones never got back to his 3d Squad. He and the rest of the platoon dropped down off the ridge into a gully on the left, the two squads separated but for a time within sight of each other.