In early March, 1951, I was a young Marine, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, in Korea. We advanced north from Hoengsong, Korea for about two miles and then entered into an area that I will never forget. There, scattered along that road for about a mile was the destroyed convoy of American military vehicles and men, such as we had never seen before or since. Hundreds of Americans lay dead among the vehicles, all along that stretch of road. I took part in rescuing several wounded Americans who had been left behind , after the Chinese marched several hundred prisoners north. This spot became known as “Massacre Valley” by the Marines. At that time, reporters and photographers were forbidden from taking pictures or reporting what they saw at that time. Very little was ever written about what happened or how many Americans and their equipment were destroyed. There was, in fact, a great cover-up of this disaster and it has been kept out of the official history books.
Now, after all of these years, I am trying to assist Mrs. Merry Helms, an accomplished author, in searching out the facts of what really happened back then and at that place. The American people aught to know. And, the men who either lost their lives, or became prisoners of war through that disaster should be honored and remembered for their sacrifices in behalf of their country.
I am therefore respectfully requesting your kindness and assistance in locating any survivors of the “Hoengsong Massacre” with whom we may be able to communicate and have them help us, in turn, to prepare and publish an accurate account of what took place and how it affected their individual lives. Those of us who served at that time are fast passing from this life and it is of urgent need that we record this story while some of the survivors are still with us. I trust that you can understand what I am saying and asking of you. Please help us in any way possible to find and contact living survivors of the “Hoengsong Massacre.”
We would like to contact any survivors who were there in February 1951.
Please accept our humble appreciation for any assistance you may be able to provide.
Jack M. Witter
e-mail address: JMDL54@charter.net