3/34th into the 2nd Battalion, 21st Infantry.
August 6. 1950
In Beauchamp's southernmost 34th Infantry sector, the 3/34 (at 50 percent strength with 493 men) outposted the river, while Red Ayres's 1/34 (515 men) was in reserve. The 3/34 now had its fifth commander in a month of combat. The new man was one of the replacement battalion commanders flown to Korea, forty-one-year-old Gines Perez. Perez was a reservist who had made the Army a career after he had been called to active duty in 1941. During World War II, as exec of the 12th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division, Perez had fought the Japanese in New Guinea and in the Philippines on Leyte and Luzon. Under his temporary command, the 12th Cav had dramatically liberated Santo Tomas University in Manila, where the Japanese had interned and starved about 3,900 Allied civilians.
When he arrived in Korea and reported to John Church's CP, Perez found administrative chaos. At first he was mistakenly assigned to command an artillery battalion; but after an awkward dinner with Church's artillery commander, Henry Meyer, the mistake was realized, and the next day Perez got himself properly reassigned to the infantry, drawing command of the 3/34. He remembered:
"I didn't see any foxholes. I said [to the acting commander]: Don't you make foxholes here?' He said, `Well, certainly, but the men have lost all their entrenching tools.' . . . I said `... I want to see some foxholes dug and I want to see at least one foxhole per man.' "
During the early morning hours of August 6 the NKPA 4th Division (7,000 men) crossed the Naktong and struck the 24th Division in an all-out attack. The main weight came in Perez's sector on his second night in command. When he realized it was not a probing attack but the real thing, he tried to alert Ayres and Beauchamp by radio. Unable to raise them, he sent messengers, but they went astray. Seeing that he was being overrun and outflanked, Perez made the very hard decision to withdraw his CP. He told his staff that if the CP were not withdrawn, "we'd all be dead before noon."
Perez retreated eastward to Ayres's 1/34 CP. Finding Ayres asleep, Perez woke him and gave him the news. Ayers appeared not to believe him. As Perez recalled, Ayres "got up very leisurely and had breakfast." Perez went on: They thought I was a newcomer [to combat], scared, and just bugging out." Beauchamp, now alerted, later told Perez: "We were watching you like a hawk. If what you said hadn't turned out [to be true] you were relieved."
The 4.2-inch mortars supporting the 3rd Battalion were about a mile and a quarter back of the river in the draw that penetrated the hills from the Ohang ferry site. The 3rd Battalion command post was half a mile farther, southeast in this same draw, at the village of Soesil. Commanding the battalion was Lt. Col. Gines Perez, just arrived from the United States. At Yŏngsan-ni,, six miles east of the river, Colonel Beauchamp had his regimental command post.
Date of death: February 1981
Home of record: Morenci Arizona
A Spanish citizen by birth, Gines Perez became a naturalized American in 1932 when his family settled in Arizona. He received Batchelor's and Master's Degrees from the University of Arizona before entering military service through ROTC. Serving in World War II he earned the Legion of Merit and 3 Bronze Stars, before adding both a DSC and Silver Star in the Korean War.
AWARDS AND CITATIONS
The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Gines Perez, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding Officer of the 2d Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. Lieutenant Colonel Perez distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Kwakson, Korea, on 31 October 1950. On that date, the 2d Battalion was conducting a drive toward Sinuiju when it was held up by heavy artillery, mortar and automatic-weapons fire from seven enemy tanks and an estimated battalion of enemy troops. Colonel Perez, riding in the lead tank, leaped to the ground and, despite the intense enemy fire, deployed his battalion with the utmost calmness. After making a rapid, accurate estimate of the situation, he contacted Company E and led them to a position from which they launched an attack designed to envelop the flank of the enemy. Moving back, he directed the emplacement of artillery pieces; then, with complete indifference to the heavy enemy fire, he moved to the foremost position of his troops and personally adjusted the artillery fire. He remained in this exposed position until the enveloping company had overrun the enemy positions, forcing them to retreat in disorder. The successful enveloping attack, engineered and directed by Colonel Perez, resulted in the capture of sixty-four prisoners, inflicted an estimated two hundred casualties on the enemy, and destroyed five enemy tanks one self-propelled gun.General Orders: Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 244 (April 26, 1951)
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Major General Gines Perez (ASN: 0-30126), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility, during the period from June 1964 through December 1968.General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 7 (January 29, 1969)
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Gines Perez (ASN: 0-30126), United States Army, for gallantry in action as Commanding Officer, 2d Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, in action near Angang-ni, Korea, on 2 September 1950. His battalion was in defensive positions supporting allied units when the enemy brought heavy pressure to bear all along the sector. The friendly forces were being overrun and the town threatened. Company E was ordered to attack in an attempt to regain lost ground and prevent a collapse of the front in that sector. With utter disregard for his own safety Colonel Perez advanced through intense mortar, small arms and tank fire, assured personal command of the company. Remaining exposed to the enemy's heavy fire he directed the assault and his men, inspired by his gallant example, overran the position. Colonel Perez's heroic action and outstanding leadership reflect the greatest credit on himself and the United States Infantry.General Orders: Headquarters, 24th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 224 (November 19, 1950)