Who would replace Champeny as commander of the 24th Infantry? Was there anyone willing and able to take what was perceived to be a perilous, thankless, and possibly career ruining chore?
One man stepped forward: John Corley. Bill Kean was pleased. Corley had taken a firm grip on the 3/24. Perhaps he could work his magical leadership on the entire 24th Infantry. Kean gave Corley a battlefield promotion to colonel and named him commander. Having turned thirty-six on August 4, Corley became the youngest regimental commander in Korea.[9-18]
His first task was to assess and reorganize the 24th's subordinate senior white commanders. Gerald Miller was not blamed for the BUGOUT of the 1/24; he retained command. The able Paul Roberts, temporarily commanding the disorganized 2/24, returned to his job as regimental exec. To the regimental staff, Corley added his combat experienced (ETO) West Point classmate (1938) and best man at his wedding, Joseph B. Missal. Both the 2/24 and the 3/24 had several temporary commanders during the next several weeks, until Corley settled on two men with World War II combat experience: George A. Clayton, thirty-three, for the 2/24, and Melvin R. Blair, thirty-four, for the 3/24. Blair seemed a fitting prospect to fill Corley's big shoes in the 3/24. He had won a DSC and a Purple Heart and other awards fighting with Merrill's Marauders in the Burma jungles in World War II.[9-19]
In an attempt to rebuild morale in the 24th Infantry, Corley adopted "Remember Yechon!" as the regimental rallying cry and issued a statement to his men: "In sixty days of continuous combat you have witnessed a roughness of battle which I have not seen in five campaigns in Africa, Sicily, Europe with the 1st Infantry Division. You have held ground against superior odds. You have lived up to the regimental motto, Semper Paratus [9-Always ready]. The first United States victory in Korea was your action at Yechon. It has been noted in Congress. The people back home cover in detail your efforts.... Other units have been unable to accomplish what depleted companies of the fighting 24th have done. I am proud of you."[9-20]
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