Fleet Marine Force Training
We were flown to Camp Pendleton for a fast two-month (August and September 1952) field training period that readied us for the Fleet Marine Force. After changing from swabbie whites to marine combat uniforms, we were run through the tactics of fighting troops. We quickly made the transition from ship-based hospitalmen to battleground corpsmen. Now hospitalmen turned corpsmen, we took on the role of medical personnel who treated sick and wounded marines. The letters of this chapter describe our training for that experience.
While the farmers back in Ohio were combining crops, we Chappell twins trained to take care of marines and sailed the sea. Since we did not yet know which units we would soon join, we tried to keep abreast of what was happening in Korea. We heard that in early August, near Panmunjom, the First Marine Division lost an outpost to the Chinese. The position changed hands five times during the next two days, but the enemy eventually gained the upper hand. The marines then shifted their attack to nearby Bunker Hill (which overlooked the first outpost) and caught the enemy by surprise. Thereafter, a reinforced marine company turned back Chinese counterattacks of up to a battalion in strength. Despite the failures of these attempts, the enemy attacked twice again in August and sustained heavy casualties, in vain.
The Chinese renewed the battle of Bunker Hill in September. First they subjected the marine positions to heavy artillery and then assaulted them