Oscar Cortez: We almost came home.

November 24, 2014

It was this time of the year when we were preparing to come home. Our 2nd Infantry Division was at Kunuri in North Korea and the South Korean soldiers already had been sent to their South Korean Army. We hadn’t had a firing mission in some time and we were thinking what Gen McArthur had said, “that by the end of this year we’ll be going back home”. And it almost came true, it was on November 26th when that thought was erased by the communist Chinese when they joined the fight against us. All hell broke loose when we started receiving in-coming fire in our area. Luckily I had dug a fox hole and there is where I went into. One of the cooks hadn’t dug his fox hole that he was using his steel pot to dig one. As I was inside my fox hole I was sticking my head out when an enemy round hit a wire above me and it whipped down over my head. The battery CO came running out into the open asking if we were alright.

There was a tank on the other side of our battery which was behind a mud hooch and that is where the Chinks were aiming their mortars. We hooked up our 105 howitzers and we moved out. We stopped into an open field close to the MRS ( main service road) and we started firing. After a short while we had a “march order” to move out. The aiming site etc. were removed and we started driving South. Thankfully we didn’t received any incoming fire. We drove all that night and it was almost dawn when we saw our Battalion Commander waving and saluting us. Some outfit had set up a kitchen to feed us. They were serving “leather eggs”, that is hat I called the flap jacks, I went through the line three times.

In a few months our luck changed, our unit and most of the 15th Field Arty. unit was annihilated on February 13th 1951. I and many more were repatriated at the end of hostilities, I on August 26 1953. We left South Korea around September 2nd and came home to the “Big PX”.
Oscar Cortez

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