McDoniel and Caldwell started off the hill together, their plan being to make their way to the river and follow it downstream. At the road they encountered so much enemy activity that they had to wait about an hour for the supply-carrying parties, tanks, and artillery to clear so that they could cross. Once across the road the two men found themselves in the middle of a North Korean artillery battery. They escaped unobserved and hid in a field near the river at daybreak. That night the two men became separated when they ran into an enemy outpost.
The next morning two enemy soldiers captured Caldwell, removed his boots and identification, smashed him on the head with a rock, and threw him over a cliff into the Naktong River. Caldwell, not critically injured, feigned death and escaped that night.
Four days later, on 10 September, he entered the lines of the 72d Tank Battalion.