December 13 or 14,
1950-The 1st Marine Division arrived at the Bean Patch on the
northern outskirts of Masan. The Bean Patch had been the
assembly point in September for the 5th Regiment before the
Inchon landing, but not for the others who had come from the
U.S. via Japan and had rendezvoused at sea. [http://www.marzone.com/dog2~7/Hist-1.htm
in telling the history of the 1st Marine Division gives this
date for the arrival of D-2-7 at the Bean Patch. I am assuming
that H-3-5 arrived at the approximately the same time.] "Rats"
told me that "they arrived back at the Bean Patch at the same
spot where they had first arrived in Korea."
During this short period, the troops were hospitalized and
given a short period to recuperate. See the D-2-7 page for some
additional info. They may very well have gotten during this
period their first decent meal since before Inchon. [I must see
what additional information I can find on this topic.] Someplace
I have read that they could not eat the frozen K-rations because
it caused dietary upset–that their diet was limited to the dry
portions of the rations–thus Harold's focus on oatmeal. They
were all dehydrated and constipated–fortunate considering the
difficulty/danger in undressing in the cold.
1 September 2004 I am adding a few paragraphs re "The Bean
Patch" that I have located on the web:
These paragraphs were excerpted from an article by Maj Allan C.
Bevilacqua, USMC (Ret) in
If you visit Masan, Korea, today you will find a
bustling, prosperous, modern port city clustered about its
scenic bay on South Korea's southern coast some 40 miles
west of Pusan. You will have your pick of first-class
restaurants and hotels and do your shopping in stores and
markets stocked with the abundance of a thriving economy.
You may find some of those establishments in a smart,
attractive shopping center in the city's northern section,
which might leave you thinking you were in Ashtabula,
Albuquerque or Atlanta except for the Korean-language signs.
Surrounded by this evidence of a successful free-market
economy, you would have a hard time accepting that you were
standing on the site of the First Marine Division's bivouac
area following the Chosin Reservoir Campaign in late
December 1950. Fifty years ago the neatly landscaped steel,
concrete and glass of today's shopping center was a farmer's
unremarkable bean patch.
The Bean Patch, capitalized. It was always thought of
that way by Marines who were there. The Bean Patch, as
though there had never been any other. The Marines of the
First Provisional Marine Brigade had rested and caught their
breath there in-between the blistering fights along the
Naktong River in the first summer of the war. In December
1950, after 13 days and nights of uninterrupted combat in
the frigid mountains of North Korea, the Bean Patch was
where Major General Oliver P. Smith took his 1stMarDiv. One
of the first orders of business was a huge bonfire.
It wasn't the bonfire of a college pep rally or a
political tub thumping. It was the practical means of
disposing of the scurvy, noisome clothing that thousands of
men hadn't had off their backs in nearly two months. As
units arrived, there were showers, with plenty of soap and
hot water. For most men it was their first shower since
prior to going ashore at Wonsan back in October. As each man
emerged from the shower facility, he was issued entirely new
clothing: everything from skivvies and socks to dungarees
and field jackets. The old clothing was unceremoniously
piled in heaps, soaked with gasoline and set ablaze. There
was no sense in trying to rejuvenate rags.
"Did we ever stink," recalled Corporal Florian Kovaleski,
a machine-gunner with Lieutenant Colonel John Stevens' 1/5.
"I had a shower on the Bayfield before Wonsan. That was
sometime in mid-October. The next time I had my clothes off
was at the Bean Patch in December. I had to have help
getting my long johns off. They stuck to me."
Clean and free from the clinging aroma of eau de night
soil, the next priority was hot chow. Day after day,
meal after meal, Marines who couldn't remember their last
prepared meal devoured everything that was put in front of
them. Bakeries worked around the clock satisfying their
appetite for freshly baked bread. In one sitting they wolfed
down 40,000 rations of turkey. Then they fell in for
seconds. Men who have subsisted for weeks on C-ration
crackers and chocolate bars can do that.
Surprisingly, despite the unrelieved exposure to sub-zero
temperatures, snow and a relentless wind that they had
endured, there were few lasting health effects. The serious
frostbite cases had been evacuated, and while everyone, it
seemed, had a case of the sniffles, there was little in the
line of serious illness. Morale was high, and the fighting
spirit that had characterized the division throughout the
Chosin Reservoir Campaign was undiminished. Men walked with
a heads-up confidence, secure in the knowledge that they had
taken on a ruthless, determined enemy and given him an
old-fashioned country whipping. With a little rest and a
chance to get back into condition, the division would be
ready for its next assignment.