col. omar t. hitchner 7th cavalry
September 1, 1950
Cecil Nist designated his two battletested battalions to spearhead the attack: the 1/7 under Pete Clainos and the 2/7, which, because of the temporary absence of Gil Huff, recovering from a wound, was commanded by Omar T. Hitchner. But Murphy's Law prevailed; everything that could go wrong did. The FEAF strike was a flop; the massive artillery salvos did little damage; the plan of attack was poor. The well entrenched NKPA troops, supported by 82mm and 120mm mortars, decisively repulsed Clainos and Hitchner. A second ill-advised attack by James Lynch's new and untested 3/7, replacing the 1/7, did no better.[9-62]
September 6, 1950 0300
The 2nd Battalion disengaged from the North Korean and began its withdrawal at 03:00, September 6. The battalion abandoned two of its own tanks, one because of mechanical failure and the other because it was stuck in the mud. The battalion moved to the rear in two main groups: G Company to attack Hill 464 and the rest of the battalion to seize Hill 380, farther south. The North Koreans quickly discovered that the 2nd Battalion was withdrawing and attacked it.
The battalion commander, Major Omar T. Hitchner, and his operations officer, Captain James T. Milam, were killed. In the vicinity of Hills 464 and 380 the battalion discovered at daybreak that it was virtually surrounded by North Koreans.