©Copyright CJ Magro, Paratroopers of the 50's


187 headlines

Cic then
Jack Cicolello , 
Yokohama, Japan 
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 Trooper (Zorsch) 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 the
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 the Marines.

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.

Para's in Plane 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.

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
from Pyongyang. 

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 of winter
clothing and ammunition was captured  in
the towns of Sukchon and Sunchon. 

We were less successful  on one other score, that of rescuing  American prisoners  who were being moved northward from Pyongyang. On 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. 
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 Sukchon. 
NK Bond

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) 

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