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JUMPING IN KOREA !!!!
NEW YORK DAILY MIRROR HEADLINES
FOR OCTOBER 21, 1950
OCTOBER 21, 1950 STARS and STRIPES HEADLINES
Jack Cicolello ,
|The Articles on this page were
furnished By Jack Cicolello
who made the Combat Jump at Sukchon and Dedicated to his sister "Elizabeth
Legnetti, 1931-1996". who cut and saved these
Great Pictures for him.
Editors Note: I noticed two
unusual things about this picture.
One, they were not allowed to
wear our BELOVED Hat patch !!
and Two that's one big As--s
Jacks fixing to pour that beer on !!
|Picture on right is of Troopers loading C-119
at Kimpo Airfield for the Sukchon Jump.
That's Jack pushing one of his buddies
on the plane. The Trooper behind Jack and
facing the us is George Neary, Support Co.
187th ARCT .
Editors Note: you can tell by the way Jack
is pushing he wasn't planning to get on that plane by himself . Just joking
Jack you know I love you. :) LOL
The Following is Jack's account of the Jump
||The 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment was needed in Korea by General
Douglas MacArthur for a possible combat jump in conjunction with the Inchon
Landing that would take place on 15 September, 11 October or 3 November
1950. All of this was coordinated that when the Inchon landing
took place FEAF (Far East Air Force) would transport, cover and drop
187th RCT if General MacArthur so ordered.
||The 187th RCT did not arrive in Japan and
subsequently to Korea in time for the Inchon Landing.
Upon arriving at Moje, Japan my unit, Support Company was sent to Ashiya
Air Force Base and flown to Kimpo Airfield.
We arrived at Kimpo on the 24th of September attached to the 3rd
Battalion of the Regiment and moved up the Kimpo Peninsula to support the
1st Marine Division and the 7th Army Division in the battle for Seoul.
Support Company of the 187th had 4.2 Mortars
and 90 MM Anti-tank Guns. The 90s were used for indirect fire in supporting
|After the Kimpo Campaign, the Regiment went into reserve and shortly
thereafter was alerted for a combat jump. . The
Drop Zones were to be near the towns of Sukchon and Sunchon both about
30 miles from Pyongyang in the arms of the "V" formed by the
main road and rail routes
which converge on the capital city. Initially the jump was
to be made on the 21st of October, but the Eighth Army was moving so fast
that the jump was moved up to the 20th of October.
We studied sand tables and maps and on the 20th we were rousted
out of our "fart sacks" early, about 0300, ate breakfast, were issued ammo,
and other stuff and moved out to Kimpo Airfield. It
was dark, and then the rain came down in sheets. We were formed around
the aircraft, many of us staying under the wings to keep dry. A
major concern was keeping our chutes dry.
The regimental Roman Catholic priest, Father
Sampson went from plane to plane administering the Eucharist to
the Roman Catholic troops.
Eventually daylight broke and I saw the plane I was going to ride
and jump from. It was a C-119 with a big
shamrock on the fuselage. We finally
got the word after the rain stopped and put on our chutes
|All of us were heavy, Loaded down with all
kinds of stuff we all needed assistance to get into the aircraft.
At about 1300 we rolled out on the runway to take off for the town
of Sunchon. While we were preparing , the Air Force was working over the
DZ, softening them up in the event there was a reception on the ground
waiting for us.
||It was a quiet sober flight. Not very much talking. The
monorail system held bundles to be dropped as we jumped. The C-119 was
a noisy plane, and we flew out over the Yellow Sea and then suddenly
turned inland headed for the Drop Zones.
Promptly at 1400 hours the parachutes of the
first wave of paratroopers blossomed out of the flying boxcars over
Sukchon and a few minutes later we jumped at Sunchon.
||Within the hour 71 C-119, and 40 C-47s delivered
2,860 paratroopers and 301.2 tons of equipment on the Drop Zones.
Incidentally, Support Company was like a Heavy Weapons
company. We had eight 4.2 Mortars in two platoons and six 90 MM Antitank
guns. The Antitank Platoon was the platoon I was in and there were two guns
per section, one section allotted to each battalion. It was the same with
the mortars. It had six 3.5 in bazookas, three 50's, and a Fire Direction
Center. It was a very heavily armed unit.
|As we approached the DZ, we stood up, and our bodies were touching
the curtains on our left, we hooked up, checked equipment, sounded off,
gave the "Lets get the Hell out of here" routine
and shuffled up like professionals in order to exit the plane.
We were flying at about 700-750 feet.
We were maintaining a tight stick and crowding one another as we
exited. We did not want to miss the DZ.
As I got to the door, I looked down and saw an explosion on the ground.
My first thought was it must be mortar fire or a bundle exploded from a
container that streamed. The whole scene was in gray. No greenery
anywhere. We were over rice paddies, and everything was moving
fast like in a dream.
I had good body position exiting the plane and the opening shock
was welcome. As I checked the canopy, and looked around, I felt pretty
much alone, and yet there were chutes and men all over the place.
As I came down, I saw hills to my right and ground coming up fast. I
landed easy; like a sack of cement.
I think it took all of 30 seconds to land from the time I left the
plane. Once on the ground and getting out of the chute we needed to assemble
quickly . It is when we got on the ground, there seemed to be so much confusion.
Getting organized can be difficult, because men are spread out everywhere.
We were less successful on one other score, that of rescuing
American prisoners who were being moved northward from Pyongyang.
21 October, a patrol located a prisoner of war train hidden in a tunnel
near Myonjucham. but the Korean guards had murdered 75 of the Americans.
||It was a funny feeling, not knowing exactly where you are, surrounded
by a bunch of people shouting and shooting and at the same
time trying to gather your squad. We immediately headed for the high
ground. Opposition was moderate. Later on,
we heard about one trooper landing on a railroad trestle and a North Korean
shooting him as he hung from the trestle. The North Koreans were killed.
As a matter of fact many of the troopers landed
on or near high tension power lines which had not been spotted in reconnaissance photographs.
One of our 90 MM sections got into a terrific fire fight along with
units of the 3rd battalion at Sukchon against a regiment
of North Koreans.
Australians helped on this one and it is now
known as the"Battle of the Orchard."
I remember us landing and North Koreans farmers attempting to steal
chutes but we were to busy to stop them. For
me and my company it was a jump that was a piece of cake. We
were not a rifle company, and so we secured the DZ and the rifle companies
did much in capturing Sunchon. We only had one days rations, and
when that was gone, we went sort of hungry.
Supplies were dropped, but we found out soon enough we were going
to have to live off the land. For three days, we were in the Sunchon
area. We patrolled, and were grateful we did not have the problems
the folks had at Sukchon. We had heard that K and
L companies received some heavy stuff.
|At about 1000 on 21 October 40 C-119
delivered 1,093 additional troopers and
106.8 tons of supplies. In the next two
days, the Air Force dropped another
184 tons of supplies.
Late on 20th of October the ROK 6th
Division bypassed Pyongyang and linked
up with us. On the 22nd of October troops
of the 1st Calvary Division broke through
In three days of operations, the
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team
engaged about 6,000 North Koreans, killed
and estimated 2,764 of them and took some
3,000 prisoners. Large quantities
clothing and ammunition was captured in
the towns of Sukchon and Sunchon.
Fifteen wounded American POWs were saved. I remember
being told they would be coming through our area.
After our operations were complete, the 187th went to Pyongyang
and were assigned the task of securing the city. I can remember
one particular event. We found a North Korean strongbox with
a lot of North Korean money. We didn't think
the money would be any good so we burned it.
Little did we know the money was still being used in.
Pyongyang. We left the Sunchon area and moved on to Sukchon.
When we got there, we went from building to building looking for
stray North Koreans. When we got ready to leave, there was
an American vehicle, a sedan, something like a 1937 LASalle in good shape.
Someone said that it belonged to the
Regimental Commander. Some young trooper
said "Bull" and took a BAR to it and needless to say that car did not leave
This jump was executed under difficult staging
conditions and on very short notice. The Air Force did a good mission
and so did the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team.
(Some of the above material was taken from
the book: "The United State Air Forces in Korea 1950-1953" by Robert
F. Futrel, Office of Air Force History, USAF, dtd 1981. GPO,
Washington, D.C. 20402)