Battalion Aid Stations
During this two-month (January and February 1953) phase of our rotation scheme, we were assigned to several battalion aid stations. Once we moved to positions behind the MLR, our daily life became far less threatening. The number of casualties remained low, because of such factors as the winter weather, the on-and-off truce talks, and the early negotiations for exchange of prisoners of war. In addition, Lt. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, who succeeded General Van Fleet as Eighth Army commander in February, issued directives that helped reduce casualties. He stressed the need to plan and rehearse patrols, to provide complete eight-week training programs for reserve divisions before they reentered the line, and for troops to use better concealment measures when on skylines.
The Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, returned to the MLR on 23 January 1953, to defend the right-battalion sector of the rightmost regiment of the First Marine Division; we remained in the battalion aid stations. Most of the casualties we now received and treated were wounds from mortar and artillery fire (which had been considerably reduced during the winter lull), small-arms fire (rifles, machine guns, and grenades) during patrol action, and stepping on mines. There was always sharp fighting, day and night, somewhere along the hne. All the squads and platoons took turns moving out to capture, kill, and dislodge the enemy, and they always invited a corpsman