Chosin Reservoir - Ray Vallowe Research

THE PHANTOM FORCE


Author's Background | Prologue | Chapt 1 - Budget War | Chapt 2 - Inchon | Chapt 3 - Capture Seoul
Chapt 4 - Inchon to Pusan | Chapt 5 - Fateful Journey into N Korea | Chapt 6 - Inter-service Rivalry-1
Chapt 7 - Inter-service Rivalry-2 | Chapt 8 - Press Corps | Chapt 9 - Secret/Classified Mission
Chapt 10 - Circumstantial Evidence | Chapt 11 - Mission Change | Chapt 12 - The Tank Withdrawal
MIA/KIA East of Chosin | Postscript | Important Maps | Declassified Documents| Reader Comments


NOW AVAILABLE ON THE KWE IN PDF FORM:

Newly published

What History Failed to Record
Task Force MacLean & Faith  Chosin Reservoir
A Phantom Force - Lost to History
by Ray C. Vallowe

Read it HERE (5 MB PDF File)


Author's Background


Ray Vallowe
(Click picture for a larger view)

Ray Vallowe joined the United States Army on July 20, 1948, for a three-year enlistment.  On November 9, 1948, he began occupation duty in Japan with the 1st Cavalry Division.  When the 7th Division came back to Japan in late 1948 from duty in Korea, some troops from each of the Army divisions in the area were transferred into the 7th, including Vallowe, who was placed in the 31st Field Artillery Battalion, a 155 Howitzer unit.  After two months in the 31st, he was transferred in August of 1949 to the 57th FAB.  This unit was sent to Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, for cold weather training.  They trained wearing snow shoes and cold weather gear,  going on winter marches.

When the Korean War broke out, the 7th Division was depleted when hundreds of the men originally assigned to it went to Korea as fillers for the 24th, 25th, and 1st Cavalry Divisions.  The 57th FAB returned to the mainland of Japan and billeted near Yokohama in late July or early August of 1950.  In the meantime, MacArthur had devised a "buddy system" plan to conscript South Korean civilians fresh out of the rice paddies of Korea, send them to Japan, and train them alongside the remaining troops in the 7th Division.  Soon thereafter, the 57th was alerted that it would be needed for the Inchon Landing as a supporting unit for the 31st Infantry Regiment (then 31st RCT).

The Marines were in the first waves of the invasion, followed by elements of the 7th Division.  After landing in Korea, the 31st moved south to Suwon and linked up with the 1st Cavalry Division.  After the 38th parallel was retaken, the 7th Division was sent back to Pusan.  After a short wait, the Army troops were loaded onto ships to make an amphibious landing in northern Korea.  The Marines went ashore at Wonsan.  The 7th Division landed 100 miles north at the port of Iwon, which put them almost parallel to the Chosin Reservoir.  The 31st then went into reserve, while the 17th Infantry Regiment spearheaded the drive to the Yalu River, arriving there on the 21st of November. It was 40-45 miles north of the Chosin Reservoir.  On November 24, 17th Infantry Regiment was ordered to the Chosin Reservoir, where the 31st was to meet the 5th Marines.  Soldiers under Don Faith's command at the Fusen Reservoir were rerouted to Chosin.

The 57th FAB arrived at the Chosin Reservoir on the afternoon of November 27 and dug in for the night.  That night, the Chinese hit them.  There were 21 American tanks some four miles behind them, but the tanks pulled back to Hagaru on the 29th, leaving the 57th unprotected.  Corporal Ray Vallowe was a member of Headquarters Battery of the 57th and had an MOS of .50 caliber machine gunner.  His commanding officer was Ray Embree.  On the 28th, Vallowe was wounded when a bullet made a clear shot through his arm.  The cold weather helped to stop the bleeding and heal the wound.  It would take four days before his unit could get out of Chinese entrapment.

On December 1 they were ordered to move out.  Everybody had to make it on their own.  The Chinese were strafing the convoy and there were no supplies.  Most of the officers had been killed.  Vallowe and others from the 57th crossed the frozen waters of the Chosin Reservoir, escaping to Hagaru-ri.  There, medics discovered that he had severe frostbite to his fingers.  He was shipped out of Korea via airplane from Hagaru-ri to Kyoto, Japan, and from there to an Air Force hospital on the main island of Japan.  He spent the next several months recovering from severe frostbite.

Courtesy of President Truman, Vallowe's enlistment in the Army was extended one year.  After returning to duty, he was reassigned to an engineering company in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia.  From September to December of 1951, he helped build and test pre-fab houses for the Army on Mt. Washington near Berlin, New Hampshire.  He received an early out on May 1, 1952.

 


Author's Background | Prologue | Chapt 1 - Budget War | Chapt 2 - Inchon | Chapt 3 - Capture Seoul
Chapt 4 - Inchon to Pusan | Chapt 5 - Fateful Journey into N Korea | Chapt 6 - Inter-service Rivalry-1
Chapt 7 - Inter-service Rivalry-2 | Chapt 8 - Press Corps | Chapt 9 - Secret/Classified Mission
Chapt 10 - Circumstantial Evidence | Chapt 11 - Mission Change | Chapt 12 - The Tank Withdrawal
MIA/KIA East of Chosin | Postscript | Important Maps | Declassified Documents| Reader Comments


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