Korean War veterans honored at battle ceremony
June 14, 2013
YANGJU -- Korean War veterans attended the inaugural ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the Nevada Outposts Battle here May 28. U.S. and South Korean veterans participated in the ceremony at the Republic of Korea Army's 25th Infantry Division Headquarters. Maj. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux, the prospective Eighth Army commanding general, thanked the veterans for laying the foundation for South Korea's future success.
Named after the Nevada cities of Vegas, Reno, Carson and Elko, the United Nations Command outposts were located along the primary invasion route into Seoul. The outpost battles occurred during armistice negotiations when United Nations Command and communist negotiators were attempting to establish a demilitarized zone two kilometers north and south of the current line of contact.
"The fighting focused on seizing and maintaining the string of outposts to ensure that friendly forces held key defensible terrain when the armistice came into effect," said Champoux. Communist Chinese forces attempted to use their overwhelming numeric advantage in human wave attacks to seize new terrain before the armistice was signed. During the brutal battles on the unforgiving terrain with its unpredictable weather, the combatants rained artillery on each other. The United Nations ground forces fired more than 117,000 artillery rounds and called in air support 67 times. The Communist Chinese fired 67,000 rounds of artillery.
"As the men that are with us today know, they engaged in small scale, often company-sized battles that engulfed these outposts along the main line resistance," said Champoux. "They were every bit as intense and demanding as any in the history of warfare." American Soldiers and Marines and their Turkish allies held the outposts until given a withdraw order from the United Nations Command. Today, the outposts are just north of the Military Demarcation Line that divides the two Koreas.
One of the more storied participants in the outpost battles was a Mongolian mare purchased by a U.S. Marine lieutenant from a South Korean boy for $250 and used by the 5th Marines during the battle. Named Reckless after the platoon's recoilless rifles, the little warhorse became a legend of the battle. The horse carried more than 9,000 pounds of ammunition over 35 miles of dangerous mountain terrain. Reckless also carried wounded Marines down the mountain.
Reckless was wounded twice during the battle. According to U.S. Marines in the battle, the little mare provided a great boost to morale every time she made it back up the mountain. After retiring in 1960, Reckless spent her remaining days on Camp Pendleton, Calif., where she is buried in a place of honor today. Champoux thanked the ROK Army's 25th Infantry Division for hosting the ceremony during its 60th anniversary. Champoux said he has a special connection to the outpost battle because he commanded the Hawaii-based 25th Infantry Division.