By The Associated Press

October 21, 1999 – Yahoo Daily News


In a now-declassified narrative sent to an Army historian on Aug. 24, 1953, Maj. Gen. Hobart R. Gay described how, as 1st Cavalry Division commander in 1950, he ordered the destruction of a bridge over South Korea’s Naktong River at the cost of many refugee lives.  The manuscript, in which Gay refers to himself as "the Division Commander," was located at the U.S. National Archives, College Park, MD. 


"By nightfall of the 2d of August all troops were across the Naktong except the rear guard of the 1st Battalion of the 8th Cavalry.  Orders were to blow both the railroad and the footbridge at Waegwan.  The Division Commander gave orders that no one could order the bridge blown but he himself.  At dusk thousands upon thousands of refugees were on the west side of the Naktong and as the rear guard of the 8th Cavalry would start across the bridge, they would follow them.  The Division Commander ordered the rear guard to go back to the west side and hold back the refugees and when all was set they would run across the bridge to the east side so it could be blown.  This scene was repeated several times, but each time the refugees were on the heels of the rear guard.  Finally it was nearly dark.  There was nothing else to be done.  The Division Commander gave the order to blow the bridge.  It was a tough decision because up in the air with the bridge went hundreds of refugees."