Striking Back: Combat in Korea, March-April 1951

By William T. Bowers | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
THE ADVANCE EAST
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team,
24–25 March 1951

Operation Courageous, begun on 22 March, was the continuation in the U.S. I Corps area of the Operation Ripper advance that was taking place farther east. The Courageous plan was to sweep north almost to the 38th parallel, with the objective of destroying major North Korean and Chinese units. However, after two days it appeared that the operation was another failure. The airborne drop and armored linkup at Munsan-ni (Operation Tomahawk) came too late to prevent the North Koreans from withdrawing across the Imjin River. To the east, the 3d Infantry Division advancing north from Seoul hit stiff resistance from Chinese forces near Uijongbu. Commanders believed that the only hope for UN success was a rapid move east by the 187th Airborne RCT to hit the rear of the Chinese in front of the 3d Division. However, the 187th Airborne with its attached Task Force Growdon was in the midst of resupply activities, and would be hard pressed to move fast enough to catch the enemy before they pulled back.

Capt. Charles E. Weddle of the 187th Airborne RCT’s S-3 section describes the receipt of the order.

Word was received from I Corps at 1110 hours ordering the 187th to move immediately to the vicinity of Sinch’on. The S-3 alerted all units and directed them to recall their patrols, move into a tight bivouac, and prepare to move to new positions by foot. The 674th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion was notified to carry all ammunition possible with what transportation was available. At

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