As the commander of Task Force Jackson, an ad hoc force of South Korean and U.S. troops, Coulter was credited with a key role in halting North Korea's advance.
August 27, 1950
Coulter flew to Yŏngju at once, arriving there at noon. Walker in the meantime formally appointed Coulter Deputy Commander, Eighth Army, placing him in command of the ROK I Corps, the U.S. 21st Infantry, the 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry, and the 73rd Medium Tank Battalion, less C Company.
General Coulter designated these units Task Force Jackson and established his headquarters in the same building in Kyŏngju in which the ROK I Corps commander and the KMAG officers had their command post. He assumed command of Task Force Jackson at 1200, 27 August. [22-3]
When he arrived at Kyŏngju that Sunday, General Coulter found the ROK I Corps disintegrating rapidly and in low morale. Coulter talked to the ROK commanders and their staffs about the terrible effect of their failure to stop the North Koreans and the danger it posed for the entire Pusan Perimeter. General Walker had instructed him to issue his orders to the ROK I Corps commander or his chief of staff in the form of advice, which Coulter did. Coulter had the mission of eliminating the enemy penetration in the Kigye area and of seizing and organizing the high ground extending from north of Yŏngch'ŏn northeasterly to the coast at Wŏlp'ŏ-ri, about twelve miles north of P'ohang-dong. This line passed ten miles north of Kigye. Coulter was to attack at once with Task Force Jackson, his immediate objective being to gain the first high ground north of Kigye.
On the 28th, Colonel Emmerich, the KMAG adviser to the ROK 3rd Division, at a time he deemed favorable, advised Brig. Gen. Kim Suk Won, the ROK division commander, to counterattack, but General Kim refused to do so. The next day Kim said he was going to move his command post out of P'ohang-dong. Emmerich replied that the KMAG group was going to stay in P'ohang-dong. Upon hearing that, Kim became hysterical but decided to stay for the time being to avoid loss of face. That day, 28 August, General Walker issued a special statement addressed to the ROK Army, and meant also for the South Korean Minister of Defense. He called on the ROK's to hold their lines in the Perimeter, and said:
It is my belief, that the over-extended enemy is making his last gasp, while United Nations forces are daily becoming stronger and stronger. The time has now come for everyone to stand in place and fight, or advance to a position which will give us greater tactical advantage from which the counter-offensive can be launched. If our present positions are pierced, we must counterattack at once, destroy the enemy and restore the positions.
To you officers and soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Korea, I ask that you rise as one and stop the enemy on your front in his tracks. [22-5]
The ROK disorganization was so great in the face of continued enemy pressure that Task Force Jackson could not launch its planned coordinated attack. Colonel Stephens' 21st Infantry was in an assembly area two miles north of An'gang-ni and ready for an attack the morning of the 28th, but during the night the ROK 17th Regiment lost its position on the high ridge northward at the bend of the Kigye valley, and the attack was canceled.
The ROK's regained their position in the afternoon but that night lost it again. At the same time, elements of the enemy 5th Division penetrated the ROK 3rd Division southwest of P'ohang-dong. General Coulter directed Colonel Stephens to repel this penetration.