|Maj||Francis F. Parry|
3rd Battalion, 11th Marines CO Maj Francis F. Parry ExO Maj Norman A. Miller S-3 Maj James M. Callender Communications
Capt Herbert Williamson 1stLt James K. Dent Headquarters CO
1stLt John J. Brackett Service CO
Capt Ernest R. Payne (to 3ONov)
Capt Samuel A. Hannah
George Battery, 11th
CO Capt Samuel A. Hannah (to 3ONov)
Capt Ernest R. Payne
ExO 1stLt Willis L. Gore
BtryO 1stLt David D. Metcalfe, Jr. 1stLt William R. Phillips 1stLt Michael B. Weir 1stLt George E. Wilkerson
How Battery, 11th
CO Capt Benjamin S. Read (WIA,7Dec)
1stLt Wilber N. Herndon
ExO 1stLt Wilber N. Herndon
BtryO 1stLt Donald H. Campbell 1stLt Edward V. Easter 1stLt Lawrence T. Kane 1stLt Robert B. Metcalfe
Item Battery, 11th
CO Capt John M. McLaurin, Jr. (to 3ONov)
Capt Robert T. Patterson
BtryO 1stLt Robert C. Cameron 1stLt Marshall Campbell 1stLt Robert T. Jorvic 1stLt William A. Mather 2ndLt James R. Gallman, Jr. CWO Alphonso E. Buck
The hostile gun was immediately taken under fire by George Battery's number 6 gunat about 1,500 yards. It was destroyed by a direct hit on the fourth round.
Although 3/11 was spread over seven ships, I directed that each battery commander and key staff officer do his best to conduct whatever training was feasible. On the USS Bayfield (APA-33) the FDC and communications section, among others,were able to get in urgently needed drills. In fact, the FDC had to be organized and trained almost from scratchsince we had brought only four trained men from Camp Lejeune, or about one third of the needed complement.That the FDC was rendered functional at all in the less than three weeks available and under the crowded conditionsaboard ship was commendable. That it was managed with such success was in equal measure due to MajorCallender's knowledge and dedication and the quality of the Reserves we received at the last minute at CampPendleton. About 170 men, or about 25 percent of our strength, joined the night before we embarked. The Reserveswere mostly from the state of Oregon and Houston, Texas. Many were college students or recent graduates of theUniversity of Oregon or Oregon State. Their intellectual capacity was such that they needed to be told the details oftheir jobs only once. Jimmy's FDC was filled with men who had scored over 140 on the General Classification Test(GCT), high scores even for officers.
The FDC, the three firing-battery executives, the eighteen gun section chiefs and their gunners, and the communicators that tie them all together make up the gunnery team. The gunnery team is the heart of the fieldartillery battalion. It is a heart that must beat powerfully and with precision, promptly converting observer calls forfire into battery fire commands. The fire commands are then quickly translated into range and deflection settings foreach howitzer. The speed and accuracy of this operation is the real measure of an artillery battalion. Of course, thebattalion must be positioned and repositioned tactically so that it can do its gunnery job most effectively. Thebattalion must also be protected from interfering forces and supplied with ammunition. The FOs, thecommunicators, and the service elements are also a vital part of the battalion, but it is the gunnery team that mustdeliver the battalion's fire-power in appropriate quantity where and when needed. This takes knowledge, training,teamwork, and dedication to the fire points of gunnery at every level. That proficiency in this critical area wasattained despite the handicaps (not the least of which was the cold fact that the FDC had not controlled a singleround of the battalion's fire in training) speaks volumes about the caliber of 3/11 personnel.
The 155s and my own Item Batterywere left in position to support the advance, their fire controlled by Item Battery's battery fire chart beefedup by battalion FDC personnel and communicators. Several tanks, however, were immobilized by mines, thusforming effective roadblocks. Anxious to deploy George and How batteries in a forward position from which wecould reach beyond Uijongbu, we were frustrated not only by the tanks but also the tracked AAA. It was necessaryto order the AAA to take position on the edge of the road so that we could maneuver the firing batteries throughthem and on up the road into position. We learned, in fact, that attaching an AAA battery to a field artillerybattalion is not a good idea. It is well nigh impossible to site the tracked vehicles so that they do not interfere withartillery displacements, communications, and ammunition resupply; their desire to reposition themselves isfrequently disruptive; control of their often indiscriminate fire is difficult; and they attract attention. In short, a fieldartillery battalion is better off without whatever contribution AAA makes to local security. My recommendations toColonel Litzenberg on the subject were forthright, and the 7th RCT had no AAA attached thereafter.
That night we fired down from both forward and rear positions. As long as we had enemy targets under fire fromthe rear, it was inadvisable to move Item Batteryforward. This was our first experience with a split FDC, a practicethat was to become commonplace up north. During this period Captain Ben Read and I visited the front lines atop ahill a few miles north of Sŏul. While Ben checked in with his liaison officer and the infantry battalion commander,I went on to see the FO in that sector. Second Lieutenant Donald H. Campbell was a Reserve from Aptos,California, who had never conducted a fire mission. I instructed him in the simplest terms I knew for fifteenminutes. That night, he called in a fire mission and was able, with a little patience and assistance from the FDC, tobring fire to bear on an enemy target.
Don was not unique. Eight of my nine FOs were Reservists, and I suspect that most were at least rusty in firingtechnique if indeed they had ever fired a live mission at all. These largely untried observers, important keys to 3/1success, were our major weakness-our only serious one. The light action around Sŏul and to Uijongbuwas anopportunity to give these officers some urgently needed training. It was not much, but they learned their trade. Bythe time they were called upon to produce in the Korean northland, they were ready.