September 1, 1950
Loading was complete by August 22, but a blown boiler delayed them further and they finally cleared the States on September 1. Puller still did not know their destination.
The ships were so jammed with equipment that there was limited room for training or exercises, but some officers gathered their companies on deck hatches for lectures in night patrol, guerrilla fighting, and weapons drill. Lieutenant Joe Fisher of I Company, a Massachusetts boy who had been seasoned at Iwo Jima, specialized in map reading and bayonet fighting practice with his men. Fisher was an impressive figure, six feet two inches tall and a muscular 235 pounds
There was an effort at an exercise program and Puller did some stationary running with the men to keep in trim. He one saw half a dozen Marines chipping paint off a deck, assigned to the task by some Navy officer. He dismissed them: “Throw those chippers over the side and go about your business. Let the Navy paint the dammed ship. You’re going to fight this war.”
Almost as soon as they left port Puller and other officers were bending over maps of Korea, speculating as to their landing place. Several fingers jabbed at the port of Inch'ŏn on the west cost as the obvious target for an amphibious strike. “It’ll be there,” Puller said, “providing the Eighth Army can hold on until we get in.”
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264 MARTIN Russ
The all-or-nothing assault [on Lt. Col. Thomas Ridge's Hagaru defenses] continued until first light, and when the Chinese gave up and pulled back they left a new harvest of corpses as evidence that several waves had shattered themselves against a wall of fire. This time most of the bodies were dressed in non-quilted olive drab uniforms. Among them were several men in black, identified later as political commissars and security officers. According to the official history, the Chinese left between 500 and 750 fresh dead on the field of battle that night.
The cost to Fisher's [Item/1] company was two dead and ten wounded.