Michaelis, John Hersey (Iron Mike)
[Col. CO 27thIR]



Michaelis (left) and General Barth


CO of the 27th IR, 25th ID,
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Kean received formal orders to embark the 25th Division for Korea on July 5. By then it was widely scattered: Elements of the 35th Regiment had moved to Kyushu to replace the 24th Division; the 24th and 27th regiments were at various posts on Honshu.[6-6]

Kean chose his 27th "Wolfhound" Regiment to lead the division to Korea - but not its fifty-year-old commander, John W. Childs (Georgia Tech, 1921). Kean named Childs division chief of staff and gave command of the 27th to an "outsider," the Eighth Army assistant G3, West Pointer (1936) Mike Michaelis, a paratrooper hero of World War II. At thirty-seven Michaelis was ten years 'er more - younger than most of the American regimental commanders in the early weeks of the Korean War.[6-7]


A cool, handsome, blue-eyed Californian, Michaelis had enlisted in the Army as a private in 1932 and later won an appointment to West Point. In World War II he was a paratrooper with the 502d Regiment of Maxwell D. Taylor's 101st Airborne Division. In the 101st's baptism of fire in Normandy, when the 502d's commander broke a leg and became mentally unstable, Taylor named Michaelis (then only thirty-two years old) to command the regiment and later promoted him to full colonel. Michaelis remained in command of the 502 until severely wounded in Holland. When he returned from the hospital during the Battle of the Bulge, Taylor promoted him to be chief of staff of the division. From 1945 to 1948 Michaelis served in the Pentagon, the last two years as senior aide to Army Chief of Staff Dwight Eisenhower, who singled out Michaelis as one of four lieutenant colonels in the Army "of Extraordinary Ability."[6-8]

July 5, 1950
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Michaelis recalled: "After World War Two they reduced a lot of us former regimental commanders to lieutenant colonel, saying we were too young to be colonels. They gave command of the regiments to old fogeys who had never been in combat or, if they had, not as troop leaders. When the Korean War started, they hauled out some of us regimental commanders who had had combat experience. . . . Walker's chief of staff, Gene Landrum, called me into his office and said: `Congratulations! You're in command of the Twenty-seventh Wolfhounds. Your plane leaves in forty-five minutes.' We'd just had our first child - a daughter. The only thing I had time to do was rush to the American Consulate with my wife and get our daughter certified so she wouldn't be a Japanese citizen. I put twenty-five dollars, a razor, and toothbrush in my pocket and took off."[6-9]

August 6, 1950

For the time being, the 3rd Battalion itself was under operational control of  Colonel John H. Michaelis, USA, commander of the 27th Infantry “Wolfhounds.” Verbal instructions from  Major General Kean on 6 August had given the Army officer control of all troops in the Chindong-ni area. When a second Marine battalion arrived in the locale, command would then pass to General Craig.[9]

August 7,1950
The visitors closely scrutinized Eighth Army's senior field commanders. Ridgway had nothing to say about the division commanders, but he judged that "some" regimental commanders were "very poor." They were too old and lacked "combat experience and aggressiveness." He named no names, but undoubtedly he was referring to the three regimental commanders in the 1st Cav (Rohsenberger, Nist, and Palmer) and the 24th Infantry's Horton White. Although both Dick Stephens (21st Infantry) and Hank Fisher (35th Infantry) were considerably overage for regimental command, they were doing well, as were the "youngsters," Michaelis (27th Infantry), Beauchamp (34th Infantry), and Moore (19th Infantry). Replacements being sent by the Pentagon didn't help. "Three out of five were over fifty," Ridgway wrote.*

August 8, 1950

As a division commander Keiser was not universally loved.  Mike Michaelis put it bluntly: "Frankly, Dutch Keiser was a lousy commander.





From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


John H. Michaelis as a lieutenant general
Nickname Iron Mike
Colonel Mike

Born August 20, 1912
Presidio of San Francisco, California[1]
Died October 31, 1985(1985-10-31) (aged 73)
Clayton, Georgia[2]

Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1936-1972

Rank General
Commands held United States Forces Korea

US Eighth Army
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War


Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star

Purple Heart

John Hersey Michaelis (August 20, 1912 – October 31, 1985) was a United States Army four star general who served as Commander in Chief, United Nations Command/Commander, United States Forces Korea/Commanding General, Eighth United States Army (CINCUNC/COMUSFK/CG EUSA) from 1969 to 1972.

Michaelis was a 1936 graduate of the United States Military Academy. In World War II, he was executive officer of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, but took command of the unit after the commanding officer, George Van Horn Moseley, Jr., broke his leg on the drop into Normandy. Later, Michaelis was severely wounded in the Netherlands. Other assignments include having served as aide-de-camp to Dwight Eisenhower from 1947 to 1948), and commanding the 27th Infantry Regiment known as the " Wolfhounds " at the Pusan perimeter during the Korean War, for which he received a Distinguished Service Cross. As he commanded the "Wolfhounds" early in the war, most American units were not doing well because they were prone to break down and retreat. However his unit fared much better, General Matt Ridgeway believed, because of the fact that ( then Colonel ) Michaelis was an Airborne Commander and therefore did not panic whenever his unit was in danger of being surrounded. For as long as his unit had preserved 'unit integrity' with interlocking fields of fire then it could handle being surrounded and cut off as they could be resupplied from the air. It was to become an important template used by General Matt Ridgeway in his conduct of the Korean war once he assumed command from General MacArthur.

General Matt Ridgeway's policy was to become one of " No more retreat " and he sought to acquire many more commanders like John Michaelis as the war continued. In fact, shortly after Ridgeway took command, he began to improve the Army's morale by sending the units north starting with Michaelis's unit under an offensive named Operation Wolfhound in their honor. Michaelis's unit began a new phase of the war that started a complete turnaround for U.N. troops.

Michaelis described the Turkish Brigade's combat readiness in unflattering terms, according to American historian Clay Blair. Blair wrote that war correspondents were misled into thinking that the Turks were "tough" fighters by their "flowing mustaches, swarthy complexions, and fierce demeanors", while in fact Blair declared them "ill trained, ill led, and green to combat." Blair gave a quote from Michaelis:

''The Turks were commanded by an aged brigadier who had been a division commander at Gallipoli in 1916 fighting the British! He was highly respected, high up in the Turkish military establishment, and took a bust to brigadier to command the brigade. The average Turk soldier in the brigade came from the steppe country of Turkey, near Russia, had probably had only three or four years of school, was uprooted, moved to western Turkey, given a uniform,
[a] rifle, and a little smattering of training, stuck on a ship, sailed ten thousand miles, then dumped off on a peninsula – ‘Korea, where’s that?’ – and told the enemy was up there someplace, go get him! The Turk soldier scratches his head and says, ‘What’s he done to me?