Hill, John G. [Col CO 9thIR]
John G. Hill Col 9th RCT O15797
Task Force Hill
Retired Army Brig. Gen. John G. Hill, 80, a combat veteran of both World Wars and the Korean conflict and a former resident of Arlington, died Saturday at a hospital in Savannah, Ga. He had a heart ailment.
Gen. Hill was stationed at the Pentagon when he retired from the Army in 1954. He then became an operations analyst with the Research Analysis Corporation here, doing research for the Defense Department. He retired a second time in 1965. He moved to Hilton Head Island, S.C., a year ago.
He was born in Kansas. During World War I, he enlisted in the Army and participated in four campaigns in France with the 35th Infantry Division. He was discharged at the end of the war and a year later entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1924. His assignments prior to World War II included duty in the Panama Canal Zone.
During World War II, he served in Europe, helping to plan the Normandy landings and then taking part in the major campaigns in France and Germany. After the war, he was with the European Command of the Army, returning to this country in 1950.
He was sent to Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division that year and saw action in the heavy fighting along the Naktong River. He returned to Korea in 1953 as commander of the 40th Infantry Division and remained there until several months before his retirement here.
Gen. Hill's decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, three Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal and a number of foreign awards.
His first wife, Selma Lawes Hill, died in 1969.
He is survived by his wife, Sarah, of Hilton Head Island; a son, retired Army Maj. Gen. John G. Jr. of Austin, Tex.; a daughter, Jocelyn Dickson of Potomac; five stepchildren; four brothers; three sisters; seven grandchildren and 12 stepgrandchildren.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria, or to a charity of one's choice.
July 31, 1950
[The 2nd Battalion of the regiment sailed from Tacoma, Washington, 17 July, the first Army infantry troops to depart continental United States for Korea.] The 9th Infantry, commanded by Col. John G. Hill, proceeded immediately to Kyŏngsan, ten miles southeast of Taegu, and was placed in army reserve. The 15th Field Artillery Battalion accompanied the regiment as its artillery support unit.
August 2, 1950 0130
At 0130, 2 August, Eighth Army ordered Colonel Hill to be ready to move his regiment on 1-hour notice after 1600 that day.
August 7, 1950 0600
On the morning of 7 August, while the North Koreans were seizing Cloverleaf Hill and Obong-ni Ridge, Col. John G. Hill received a summons to come to the 2nd Division headquarters. There he learned from the division commander [Laurence B. Keiser] that General Walker had ordered the 9th Regiment (-) to report to General Church.
August 8, 1950
Colonel Hill had received reports as early as 8 August that the North Koreans were working at night on an underwater bridge across the Naktong at the Ki hang, or Paekchin,, ferry site in the middle of the bulge.
Unknown to Keiser at the time he recalled Sloane, the Pentagon had sent him a batch of new senior commanders. Among them was a colonel, John G. Hill, fifty, who was directed to take command of the 9th Infantry. Hill had fought ably as an enlisted man in the AEF and afterward attended West Point (1924). But like Keiser, Hill had not commanded troops in combat in World War II. In the postwar years he had served four years in Europe as a senior staff officer. His son, John Hill Jr. (West Point, 1946), was then serving in the 7th Cav.
August 10 1800
That evening General Church placed Colonel Hill in command of all troops in the
Naktong Bulge. The troops comprised the 9th Regimental Combat Team (less the 3d
Battalion), 2d Division; and the 34th and
19th Infantry Regiments, and the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, 24th Division, together with supporting artillery and other attached units. [17-36]
This command was now designated Task Force Hill.
General Church ordered Colonel Hill to attack the next morning and restore the Naktong River line. Hill and the other commanders involved worked out the attack plan during the night. It called for the 9th and 19th Regiments to drive southwest through the heart of the bulge. The 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, was to move during the night from the northern part of the division zone to a point near the southern end of Obong-ni Ridge, and from there attack southwest on the left of the 9th Regimental Combat Team. Meanwhile, the 34th Infantry would protect the left flank of the combat team at Obong-ni. [17-37]
AUGUST 13, 1950
Determined finally to eject the NKPA from the 24th Division front, Church that night (August 13) ordered Hill, John G. [Col CO 9thIR] to take command of all the available infantry and launch yet another counterattack on the following day. Reeling with fatigue and lack of sleep, Hill summoned the no less exhausted Beauchamp, Charles Edward [Col. CO 34thIR], Moore, Ned Dalton [Col. CO 19thIR], and Smith, Charles Brad [Lt. Col. CO 1bn21stIR] to his CP.
They drew plans which would employ all seven depleted infantry battalions (about 4,000 men), backed by all available artillery (five batteries, mounting thirty howitzers) and (they hoped) supported by FEAF close air. Hill also attempted to draw Hutchin, Claire E.[Officer CO 1Bn23rdIR] 's newly arrived and powerful 1/23 (900 men) into this combined force.
Barberis, Cesidio V. "Butch"[Maj. 1Bn9thIR] remembered:
"I stopped off at John Hill's Ninth Regiment CP and told him the MSR was clear and we would be happy to help evacuate his wounded, et cetera, et cetera. Hill was in quite a dither. In fact, in my estimation he was not in control of his faculties. He was quite irrational. He ordered me to position the battalion in the line. I explained we were not under his command but under Church's direct command. He was quite forceful in telling me that he was giving me a direct order and that I would comply with that direct order. I telephoned Church, and in short order he countermanded Hill and told me to maintain my vigil on the MSR and await further orders."
The attack went off, per schedule, at dawn on August 14. It was raining hard. Because of that, no FEAF aircraft appeared, but the artillery laid down a ten-minute barrage.
Again carrying the burden of the attack, John Hill's 9th Infantry occupied the center. Beauchamp's 34th and Brad Smith's 1/21 were on the left; Ned Moore's 19th was on the right. Joe Walker's 2/9 smartly took its first objective; but thereafter everything went wrong, and the attack fizzled out all across the front.
The shattered 19th and 34th regiments were simply physically and mentally incapable of further offensive action. After an average gain of 500 yards against fierce NKPA resistance, Task Force Hill ground to a halt.
September 1, 1950
On the morning of 1 September, with only the shattered remnants of E Company at hand, the 9th Infantry had virtually no troops to defend Yŏngsan. General Keiser in this emergency attached the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion to the regiment. The 72nd Tank Battalion and the 2nd Division Reconnaissance Company also were assigned positions close to Yŏngsan. John G. Hill planned to place the engineers on the chain of low hills that arched around Yŏngsan on the northwest.
Capt. Frank M. Reed, commanding officer of A Company, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, led his company westward on the south side of the Yŏngsan-Naktong River road; Lt. Lee E. Beahler with D Company of the 2nd Engineer Battalion was on the north side of the road. Approximately two miles west of Yŏngsan an estimated 300 enemy troops engaged A Company in a fire fight. Two quad-50's and one twin-40 gun carrier of the 82nd AAA Battalion supported Reed's men in this action, which lasted several hours.