©Copyright CJ Magro, Paratroopers of the 50's
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Korean War Series:

Paratroopers of the 50's is fortunate and proud to be able to provide its "Viewers" another great article on the Korean Combat Jumps .

This one by Gerald W. Krueger  who would  like to dedicate his account to the good men lost in that jump and the days following. Men like Sgt Donald Deneau from our company that put his life at risk in a very heroic way and was awarded the Silver Star. 

Krueger 19 yr old in Korea
19 year old Gerald, taken in Korea
 This account of the Sukchon combat jump and the subsequent battle was furnished by: Gerald W. Krueger.

Gerald, enlisted in the regular Army at the age of 17 in August ,1948. Took basic training at Fort       Lawton Wa. and was stationed there as part of the transportation core 5th Army. Transferred to jump school  in Aug 1949, Graduated jump School in Sept 1949 and transferred to 11th ABN Fort Campbell Ky. 127th  Engineering Battalion.

He was sent to Korea in Sept. 1950 as part of the 187th ARCT. Served 11 months 14 days in      Korea and made both combat jumps, Oct 1950 at Suckchon and March 1951 at Musan-ni. Was rotated back to the states in July 1951 and discharged August 1951. 


I was just 19 years old and really didnít understand the politics of why I was in Korea. I was sitting at Fort Campbell in June of 1950 looking forward to getting discharged in August when the Korean War broke out. President Truman added a year to my time in service and next thing I know we are taking some refresher training and getting ready to go to Korea. We went by train (3 days and 3 nights) to Camp Stoneman, California, from there we loaded on the A.E. Anderson and sailed to Moji Japan (2 weeks) in transit.

We flew from Moji Japan to Kimpo, Air Field, and were inserted into the line of defense around the airfield. That was our introduction into a combat situation. Now we were getting ready to make a jump in behind enemy lines. I remember we had to go study a sand model of the terrain in the Sukchon area and get our assignments.
 

I was really starting to get worried about how I would do in making this jump. We had all kinds of stuff we had to jump in with, weapons, ammo, rations, etc. I knew I was going to be loaded down real heavy. We had to get up real early in the morning and the weather was real bad so there was a lot of waiting to see when it would get better. It was about mid morning when the weather cleared and we were transported to the airfield to put on our equipment and load up in the planes.
Munsi-ni jump
Getting chuted up and adding the additional equipment took some time and we had to help each other. Loading on the plane also required some help in most cases even if it was just a push from the rear. The planes took off and flew out east to the coast line and then turned north and flew up the coast line and then turned inland flying west until they were over the drop zone. The planes were never very high over the ground and by flying along the coast line the air currents caused the plane to be moving constantly up and down. Many of the guys were getting air sick and a few of them even threw up in some of the paper sacks that were being passed around, these sacks were then passed to the doors and tossed out. I was sick but not to the point of loosing my breakfast, but I was ready to get out of that plane as soon as we got the go sign. Jack loading
Paratroopers in Korea We finally reached the drop zone and got our jump commands, Get Ready, Stand Up, Hook Up, Check Equipment, Etc. Our stick went out the door real fast and smooth. We were not very high above the ground somewhere around 700 hundred feet I think, my opening shock was real hard but no dings in my helmet. I did see some miscellaneous items falling that had come loose from some of the guys it looked mostly like helmets, grenades, canteens and stuff like that.
I landed oscillating backwards and right on the hip where my canteen hung from my pistol belt, but must have done something right because I was able to get up and out of my chute right away. I started looking for the rest of the guys in my platoon and heard some rifle fire off in the distance but nothing in my immediate area.
I took a few minutes to look around and thatís when I saw several chutes hanging from some high tension lines that ran across the drop zone.  I never did find out if they got down okay. We assembled and picked up  additional equipment that was dropped, and started off on our mission.  To cut off a North Korean train that was supposed to have some high ranking officials on it as well as a lot of Allied powís. 
My Company was A co. 127th Abn. Engineering Battalion, our   assignment  was to support the 187th third Battalion.
Chute in Pwr lines

Resistance was light on the drop zone, but early the next morning about 3 or 4 AM all hell broke loose for our company. We were in a secondary position behind the 3rd battalion, which was holding some high ground south of Sukchon. We were along the side of a road sort of curving in a slight arc Perpendicular to the road, so that we could defend it from any one passing. I was right down on the edge of the road in a shallow fox hole with my bazooka partner; we were set up with a 3.5 bazooka to watch the road. Over to my left and up a little higher that the road was our 30 Cal. Machine gun team.

It was my time to be awake; it was about 3 or 4 AM when I heard voices coming down the road towards our position. I thought they must be South Korean Troops (ROKíS) because they were not trying to be quite at all. 

Then I heard our Platoon leader Captain Pendagrass shout a challenge in the direction of the talking, thatís when the first shots were fired. 

These were North Korean troops that had broken through our first line of defense and they were just coming down the road like they owned it. The next 4 or 5 hours was like an eternity to me. 

The North Koreans had dispersed into rice patties that were across the road and in front of us, to our immediate right was an orchard of some kind with lots of trees. As the fighting intensified that morning, the NKís started to move up into the Orchard area so they could flank us.

It was at this time, that Sgt. Donald Deneau exposed himself by running across the road and taking up a defensive position behind a dead cow that was laying in the orchard ( I donít know what killed the cow small arms fire I guess). He began to lay down some steady rifle fire and kept the NKís from advancing into the Orchard area. He was later awarded the Silver Star for his Gallantry in this action. Sgt Deneau is still living and active in the Rakkasans

I had fired so many rounds through my MI rifle that I had oil oozing out of the wood stock around the barrel of my rifle and was down to my last clip of ammo. 

About this time Captain Pendagrass shouted for Cruze and me to get the Bazooka loaded and ready to fire because there were tanks coming down the road toward us.
Was I ever relieved when someone shouted ďTheir our TanksĒ The tanks came on down the road and sprayed the rice patties with there 50cal guns and that was the end of the fight, what remained of the enemy with drew back through the rice patties. Our platoon was later awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for this action in stopping the enemies advance. We had lost 3men KIA and 4 wounded they counted approx. 150 enemy dead.
 Tank

After this we were moved into Pyongyang  until they were able to set up a military government. It was during this time that we got to see Bob Hope, Less Brown and the Taylor maids put on a show for the troops. This was on October the 30th 1950, In November the Chinese entered the war and it was not long until we were retreating out of Pyongyang. Thatís another story, this is what I remember from the jump at Sukchon. It has been a long time (50yrs.) and some of my facts may not be absolutely correct, for this I apologize, I have done the best I could to be accurate.

Editor's note: Paratroopers of the 50's and Gerald W. Krueger  would  like to give a special thanks to Jack Cicolello  for frunishing some old Life Magazine pictures of the Jump.  Save for him by his sister  Elizabeth Legnetti, 1931-1996.  Some of the picture shown were taken from Life Magazine, Vol. 30, No. 15  April 9, 1951 .  Photographed for Life by John Dominis and Joe Scherschel.

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