Don McMillan Photo Memoir

 
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I was commissioned an army second lieutenant in the spring of 1951 through the ROTC program at the University of Arkansas. I entered the army in August, 1951 and completed the Infantry Company Officers’ Course at Ft. Benning, Georgia, before being sent to Japan to complete 90 days of training with an infantry unit—in my case the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division. When I joined the unit, the division had just arrived in Japan from combat duty in Korea.

After the infantry training, I was shipped to Korea to the 17th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division. During my tour, the 7th Division sector was always located in the mid-section of Korea, about 20 miles north of Seoul near the towns of Chorwon and Kumhwa. While the division sector remained static, regiments and battalions were shifted around quite often. For instance, the 17th regiment was assigned to Koje Island, just off the southern tip of Korea, to guard North Korean prisoners for two months during my tenure. I should further point out that I was in H Company, 2nd Battalion, of the 17th Regiment.

I arrived in Korea in early August, 1952, and rotated out in mid-April, 1953. For those unfamiliar with army units, a battalion consisted of three rifle companies, a heavy weapons company and a headquarters company. Our rifle companies were E, F, and G. H Company was comprised of a platoon each of machine guns, 75mm recoilless rifles, and 81mm mortars. The mortars were always assigned together to cover the entire battalion front. The machine guns and recoilless rifles were assigned to the rifle companies equally, a section to each company. The rifle companies had a specified sector of the line to protect while H Company had no specified sector to cover but supported the rifle companies in their sectors. The company commander of H Company was a battalion staff member and was domiciled in the battalion headquarters compound.

The kitchen and motor pool of H Company were located at battalion rear headquarters, a couple of miles behind the line. During my assignment to the company I served as machine gun platoon leader, recon officer (exec to the company commander) and company commander. Hopefully this gives some needed background which may serve to explain some of the pictures and text that follow.

Don McMillan

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