Montesclaros, Melicio
[Capt. AsstS-3 2Bn19thIR]


July 22, 1950


Yŏngdong-Kŭmsan area  westward?]


Most of the 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry, reached Kŭmsan and there turned eastward to come through friendly lines at Yŏngdong. Included in these parties were Colonels McGrail and Ayres and Captains Montesclaros and Slack. They arrived at Yŏngdong on 21 and 22 July.


[58] Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; Notes, Montesclaros (Asst S-3,
2d Bn, 19th Inf)
for author, n.d.; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 31
Jul 51.

About 1100 Captain Montesclaros of the S-3 Section volunteered to try to get into Taejŏn and reach the regimental headquarters for instruction. Colonel McGrail gave him his jeep and driver for the trip.

Montesclaros reached the road junction without incident, saw the burning enemy tanks, met Lieutenant Herbert's platoon at the roadblock, and, much to his surprise, found the road into the city entirely open. At the edge of the city, Montesclaros encountered General Dean. Montesclaros reported to him, gave the position of the 2d Battalion, 19th Infantry, and asked for instructions. General Dean patted Montesclaros on the back and replied,

 "My boy, I am not running this show, Beauchamp is."

Dean took Montesclaros to the 34th Infantry command post. Beauchamp was not present, but from a member of his staff Montesclaros obtained a written order. Before placing it in his shirt pocket, Montesclaros glanced at the order. It directed McGrail to bring his battalion back to the west edge of Taejŏn.

Montesclaros drove back down the road to the 2d Battalion command post. He found it deserted. Not a living person was in sight; a dead Korean lay in the courtyard. Puzzled, Montesclaros turned back toward Taejŏn. After driving a short distance, he turned back to the command post to make sure no one was there; he found it the same as before. No one, neither friend nor foe, was in sight. A strange stillness hung over the spot. Again he turned back toward Taejŏn. He overtook E Company on the road and instructed it to go into position there. At the edge of Taejŏn, Montesclaros met 1st Lt. Tom Weigle, S-2 of the battalion, who told him that McGrail had established a new command post on a high hill south of the road, and pointed out the place. Montesclaros set out for it and after walking and climbing for forty-five minutes reached the place. Colonel McGrail and his command post were not there, but a few men were; they knew nothing of Colonel McGrail's location.

Montesclaros started down the mountain with the intention of returning to Taejŏn. On his way he met Lieutenant Lindsay and E Company climbing the slope. They said the enemy had overrun them on the road. Looking in that direction, Montesclaros saw an estimated battalion of North Korean soldiers marching toward the city in a column of platoons. A T34 tank was traveling west on the road out of Taejŏn. As it approached the enemy column, the soldiers scurried for the roadside and ducked under bushes, apparently uncertain whether it was one of their own. Montesclaros decided not to try to get into Taejŏn but to join E Company instead


From the 19th Infantry on their [34th's] right, Capt. Melicio Montesclaros had visited the I Company position and told the men there was a 2-mile gap between that flank and his outpost position eastward on the regimental boundary.

West of the highway, the 1st Platoon of B Company joined A Company behind the dike, while the rest of the company was on high ground which came down close to the river. West of B Company for a distance of five air miles to the regimental boundary there was little protection. One platoon of G Company manned an outpost two miles away. The I&R Platoon of about seventy men, together with a platoon of engineers and a battery of artillery, all under the command of Capt. Melicio Montesclaros, covered the last three miles of the regimental sector in the direction of Kongju.