By Jennifer Martin - email
Bobby Gasaway was 21 years-old when Uncle Sam came calling.
"I got a letter from the president of the United States telling me they needed me in the army."
After training, he set sail for Korea.
"When the Chinese, they had in their minds they were going to drive the UN forces out of Korea. And they hit the 2nd Infantry Division real hard and they received a lot of casualties. So when our ship docked at Pusan, they changed just about everybody's orders on that ship and sent us all, assigned us to the 2nd Infantry Division.
We jumped off a counter attack and we pushed for 60 miles for three days and night. Of course, we just hit light resistance. We'd just have a little firefight and they'd bug out and we'd be after them. Got up the Ingee and the 1st Marines relieved us because we were mostly all new men and we set up roadblocks there at the airfield at Ingee. Stayed there about two weeks and the peace talks started just about the time we got up there. And we went back in reserved to train."
Those peace talks failed.
"On the 28th day of July, the orders came down that night to Kason. Take KLS, it was a mountain but they call them hills. We would take it, we would go get resupplied. Have an airdrop. We would set up our positions. We started up on that morning. Up on that mountain, the air was so thick, I couldn't see you in that fog on that mountain.
And when the sun come out, the other unit had pulled through us and they made contact with the enemy and they had, right where we were coming down this mountain, they had zeroed in the machine guns. And I'd say within 10 minutes, there wasn't but about 11 men in my platoon that wasn't killed or wounded.
Charlie company got napalmed by friendly forces. You didn't have radio communication like they have now. They put out the wrong air panels. Anyway, they got napalmed. It just about wiped all of them out. And we didn't take the hill. We had to pull back. And it took us about 3 days before we finally took that hill.
The Chinese and the Koreans, they was good. They would build bunkers on these mountaintops. They'd get over the back slope where 20 or 30 men could get in and put sandbags and things on top of it. And when artillery and airstrikes hit, they couldn't hit 'em. It didn't do anything. So when we starting making advances to take the hill, they'd come out of these bunkers and get in the trenches. Finally, it got to where I helped take four mountains. Each time we lost men. Men were killed and wounded. And in the infantry, if you don't get killed or wounded, it just makes you that much more afraid, when you see people killed and wounded that it's going to be me next time."
After four months of heavy combat, he was offered the chance to become a truck driver. He took it.
"It was a lot better than being in a foxhole."
He had many close calls during his nearly two years in Korea, but credits god for keeping him safe. And he says his near death experiences gave him a new perspective.
"It changed my life and I was never the same person after I went through this. I became a Christian when I was in the army and I went through this. I saw the Lord take care of me."
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