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Bunker Hill - Chris Sarno Memoir

There was plenty of enemy, hard work, and combat action up ahead for the Marine tankers. In June, they started to travel about two miles to the east on the MLR to a hill top called Red Hill. "It was a little gumdrop of terrain sticking up in the rice paddies," Sarno recalled. "The whole topography east of Panmunjom corridor was laden with low hilltops. They were just little pieces of shit that Marines were dying for every day and night. At the time, I didn’t know that it was called Bunker Hill. I just knew it as Red Hill, Number 122-124—two gumdrops connected with a little saddle between."

Sarno said that the two gumdrops were the scene of intensive combat during the month of June 1952. "In the daylight," he said, "we would clobber this little hill after the gooks beat off small Marine defensive forces. We would just empty our whole load into it. Through our telescopes we could see that the sand was like powdered silt from the impact of our rounds and the horrific counter battery firings by both sides. This hill was the first of the new phase of warfare—the fight for these combat outposts. We won Red one night, then the gooks kicked us off. The next day we kicked the gooks off." Bunker Hill was a treasured piece of ground for both sides because whoever controlled that hill also controlled the highest observation point in that sector. "It was a meat grinder with no winners," Sarno said. "We obeyed and shot the hell out of it. War by committee is immoral," he said. "All the combat in Korea from 1951 until the end of the war in 1953 was to fight and die, but not to win. MacArthur was one hundred percent correct in taking issue with Truman for forsaking an all-out military victory in Korea. Harry-Ass-Truman was one hundred percent incorrect." Sarno said that Bunker Hill was a great arena to "train" new career officers in daily tactics. "The king-of-the-mountain daily battles that took place on Bunker Hill were sheer madness," he said. "Marines died and were wounded unnecessarily so that generals could play war. Few colonels, generals, or majors died at Bunker Hill. Heroic grunts were the casualties as Truman parlayed the war. He should have won first—parlayed later." Harry-Ass-Truman was never a friend to the United States Marine Corps.


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