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A Morning in June

Defending Outpost Harry

Written by James W. Evans and foreword by John S. D. Eisenhower

Publication Year: 2010

By June 1953 the Korean War, marked at the outset by extremely fluid advances and retreats up and down the peninsula, had settled into position warfare very near the original pre-war demarcation line between North and South Korea. At this point both sides were fighting to win a peace, to achieve incremental advantages that could be translated into gains at the peace negotiations in Panmunjom. These last days of the war saw savage battles for control of important local terrain features, and in the trench warfare of the Chorwon Valley a young U.S. Army lieutenant was assigned to lead an infantry company charged with holding Outpost Harry against a determined Chinese assault.
The battle devolved into hand-to-hand combat during a period of constant, intense fighting that lasted two days. The author, although seriously wounded that night, refused evacuation and remained on the hill to successfully lead his company in defense of the outpost. It wasn’t romantic; it wasn’t chivalrous; and many died or were badly wounded. Some of the survivors never fully overcame the mental and physical damage they suffered during the nightmare.
With this book, one of those scarred by that experience recounts the events of the battle and his lifelong efforts to deal with the residual horrors. The Korean Conflict may be called “the forgotten war” by some, but not by those who were on the front lines.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

Through a long career in the Regular Army, the Army Reserve, and as a writer on military subjects, I have always carried the memory of a military action fought in the last days of the Korean War that to me epitomizes the valor and dedication of the Amercan soldier. ...

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pp. xiii-xvii

After North Korea invaded South Korea in July 1950, the fighting to free South Korea was on a fluid battlefield for nearly a year. Both the North Korea People’s Army (NKPA) and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (CPVA) fought the United Nations (UN) forced up and down the Korean peninsula. ...


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pp. xix-xx

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xxi-xxii

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1. 5th Regimental Combat Team: Korea with Incoming Artillery

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pp. 1-10

On the crisp, cool morning of 10 October 1952, I, 2LT James William Evans, along with other U.S. Army replacement personnel, was finally getting off a Korean train after a two-day ride from Pusan, Korea. From the window, I noted that the train stopped at a small railroad station. ...

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2. Lieutenant Evans: Preparations for Infantry Combat

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pp. 11-25

Born in 1929 in Fulton, Kentucky, to Sebra and Roberta Evans, I enjoyed a happy childhood. I had one brother (Jack) and three sisters (Julia Rose, Martha Ann, and Nancy). The Illinois Central Railroad employed my father, and my mother was a schoolteacher. Fulton was located in the southwestern corner of Kentucky on the Tennessee border. ...

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3. Punch Bowl Rim: North Korea People’s Army

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pp. 26-43

The next thing I knew, someone was yelling at me to get up. My driver was ready to go to the rim. Still tired from the night before, I packed my gear, went to the mess hall, ate breakfast, and got into a jeep for my trip to the top of the Punch Bowl. I wondered if the mess hall meals were free now, since I was in a combat zone. ...

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4. Shower Relief: MASH for Treatment

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pp. 44-49

By 1 November 1952, only four weeks had passed since I had joined Able Company on the line, and I was surprised at how much I had learned. Moreover, I had earned one badge. An infantryman could earn the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) in three ways. The soldier had to have an infantryman’s Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) number to qualify. ...

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5. Christmas 1952: Winter Combat on the Mountain

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pp. 50-68

On 16 December 1952 we returned to defensive positions on the rim of the Punch Bowl, relieving the 40th Division Reconnaissance Company, the same unit that had relieved Able Company on 2 November.1 Winter war in an inhospitable environment, such as we were in at 3,500-plus feet, involved several unusual factors. ...

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6. R & R: Seven Days Rest, Then Return to Korea

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pp. 69-74

By mid-January 1953, I was eligible for R & R in Japan. My date to leave for R & R was the third week in January. Later I would learn that I had missed the combat that took place on 24 January between Able Company and three enemy squad. ...

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7. Relocating to the Chorwon Valley: Finding the Doors of Hell

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pp. 75-86

On 24 March 1953 the 1st Battalion, 5th RCT, having enjoyed showers and rest, returned to the rim of the Punch Bowl. We relieved the 19th Combat Team (Philippines) and assumed responsibility for the eastern portion of the rim.1 The weather was becoming warmer, which we all welcomed. ...

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8. Morning of 12 June: The Siege Starts

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pp. 87-99

Somewhere in Korea’s Chorwon Valley on 11 June 1953 a radio operator as-signed to the S- 2/S-3 Section, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, monitored the traffic (incidents, messages, and orders) between Outpost Harry and the supporting units—artillery, supplies, medical, and others. ...

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9. Outpost Harry: Destruction beyond Comprehension

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pp. 100-121

After Able Company, 5th RCT, survived the exciting trip from the reserve position and finally arrived at the backing position, we dismounted, assembled, checked equipment, and unloaded guns. The time was now nearly 0350 on 12 June, and the men were tired and ready to settle down for a rest. ...

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10. Occupying the Hill: With Only Twelve Hours to Rebuild and Defend

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pp. 122-139

About 0630 on the morning of 12 June 1953, the soldiers of the 1st and 2nd platoons of Able Company, 5th RCT, assembled. The platoon leaders took a head count and ordered the soldiers to lock and load their weapons. Then the soldiers went to war. ...

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11. Chinese Attack: Hand-to-Hand Combat Is the Essence of an Infantryman

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pp. 140-166

The best place to monitor the action around Outpost Harry was from the 555th observation post. From the OP, I watched as the first group of Chinese soldiers started the action for the night. I tracked the CCF as they were moving to our right flank and toward the rear of Harry. The FO and I could see a split group moving toward our left flank. ...

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12. Relief from Hell: Three Days before Operation Ranger

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pp. 167-180

The sun was shining brightly and the heat index was rising. In the early morning of 13 June 1953, an advance team from Charley Company, 5th RCT, came into the command post on Outpost Harry and told me they were starting the relief. I was happy to see them and knew their company commander would soon be on site to relieve me. ...

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13. Coming Home: The Trauma of Returning to Civilian Life

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pp. 181-189

In the preface to this book, I wrote that I would explain how I survived after living through the hell of Outpost Harry. So how did I survive? By using the wrong approach. ...

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pp. 190-191

On 27 July 1953, the fighting stopped in Korea because of a cease-fire agreement between the north and the south. By that time some three million lives had been lost. Each side agreed to move their troops at least two thousand meters from the agreed-upon military demarcation line. ...

Appendix A: Reports on the Defense of Outpost Harry

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pp. 193-195

Appendix B: Awards and Decorations Earned for the Defense of Outpost Harry

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pp. 197-204


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pp. 205-211


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pp. 213-214


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pp. 215-220

E-ISBN-13: 9780817381813
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817356071

Page Count: 220
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States. Army. Infantry Division, 3rd -- Biography.
  • Outpost Harry (Korea : Military Base).
  • Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Campaigns -- Korea (South) -- Chʻŏrwŏn-gun.
  • Soldiers -- United States -- Biography.
  • Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Personal narratives, American.
  • Evans, James W. (James William), 1929-.
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