9th Cavalry Regiment
Korean War
"We Can, We Will"

Korea, The Location Of A New War
It happened before dawn on 25 June 1950. Less than 5 years after the terrible devastations of World War II, a new war broke out from a distant land whose name means "Morning Calm". The decision of the United States to send immediate aid to South Korea came two days after the fast moving North Korean broke through the ROK defenses and sent tanks into the capital city of Seoul. In addition to the Air Force, Navy an Marines, a 1,000 man battalion from the 24th Infantry Division, including many specialists and noncommissioned officers transferred from the 1st Cavalry Division, arrived 30 June with a promise that more help was on the way.

On 18 July the 1st Cavalry Division was ordered to Korea. Initially scheduled to make an amphibious landing at Inchon, it was redirected to the southeastern coast of Korea at Pohang-dong a port 80 miles north of Pusan. The North Koreans were 25 miles away when elements of the 1st Cavalry Division swept ashore to successfully carry out the first amphibious landing of the Korean War. The 8th Cavalry Regiment, reinforced by division artillery and other units, moved by rail, truck and jeep to relieve the 21st Regiment, 24th Division near Yongdong. By 22 July, all regiments were deployed in battle positions; in itself a remarkable logistical achievement in the face of Typhoon Helene that pounded the Korean coastline.

The 1st Battalion, 8th Regiment was deployed north of Taegu, now the temporary capital of South Korea and astride the direct line of enemy advance. In the meantime the 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment held positions on the road from Maju to the southwest. Their baptism of fire came on 23 July. The 8th Regiment was hit by heavy artillery fire and mortar barrage, and North Korean infantrymen swarmed toward their entrenched positions. The next day the troopers suffered their first severe combat losses. For more than 50 days between mid July and mid September, the First team troopers and the UN Forces performed the difficult, bloody task of holding on to the vital Pusan Perimeter.

On 01 August 1950, the 16th Reconnaissance Company (a unit eventually consolidated with the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry in 1957), and the lead reconnaissance unit of the 1st Cavalry Division, conducting a patrol toward and beyond Chirye was stopped by enemy fire. With their return route blocked by the North Koreans, the troopers moved ahead until their vehicles were knocked out, then moved on foot to friendly lines. Elements of the 16th Reconnaissance Company barely escaped destruction by these enemy tanks, and did suffer casualties. Out of the original roster of 57 men, 44 made it safely back by crossing 35 miles of difficult mountain terrain.

The turning point in this bloody battle came on 15 September 1950, when MacArthur unleashed his plan to go around the advancing North Korean Army, Operation Chromite - an amphibious landing at Inchon, far behind the North Korean lines. In spite of the many negative operational reasons given by critics of the plan, the Inchon landing was an immediate success allowing the 1st Cavalry Division to break out of the perimeter and start fighting north. The routes North was heavily mined. Rather than have the engineering battalion methodically screen and dig up the mines, 17 tanks of "A" Company, 70th Tank Battalion were sacrificed to rapidly clear the mines along the routes. It was during this massive offensive that the 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, "C" Company and the "I" & "R" Platoon of the 70th Tank Battalion made the historical mission of "Task Force Lynch", the Pusan Perimeter Breakout through 106.4 miles of enemy held territory to link up with the 7th Infantry Division at Osan.

70th Tank Battalion
From 28 September to 03 October, major efforts concentrated on mopping up operations of the large sector assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. In its rapid advance to Osan, the 1st Cavalry Division cut off elements of the 105th Armored Division in the Ansong and Pyongtaek area along with miscellaneous NKA units in the Taejon area. On the 28th, elements of "C" Company, 70th Tank Battalion, and "K" Company, 7th Cavalry, with the strong assistance of fighter-bombers, destroyed at least seven of ten T34's in the Pyongtaek area.

By 04 October, the division had re-instated the Northern offensive movements. On 05 October, the 1st Cavalry Division advanced north of Seoul for the purpose of securing the US I Corps assembly area near the 38th Parallel. Led by "I" Company, the 5th Cavalry Regiment crossed to the north side of the Imjin River at Munsan-ni. On 07 October, the 16th Reconnaissance Company, (the former 302nd Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop - redesignated on 25 March 1949), entered Kaesong, and that evening elements of the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, arrived there. By evening of 08 October the 7th and 8th Cavalry Regiments had secured the I Corps assembly area in the vicinity of Kaesong. Some of the troops were within small arms range of the 38th Parallel. On 09 October, the 1st Cavalry Division crossed the 38th Parallel. On 19 October, troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division crashed into Pyongyang, capturing the capital city of North Korea. This event marked the third "First" for the Division:

"First in Pyongyang".

38th Parallel Marker - 1950
38th Parallel Marker - 1956

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On 20 October 1950, in a related event that happened back in the states, the 9th Cavalry Regiment was converted, redesignated as the 509th Tank Battalion, relieved from assignment to the 2nd Cavalry Division and activated on 01 November 1950, in accordance with the provisions of General Order Number 7, issued by the Headquarters of Camp Polk, Louisiana. The cadre of twenty enlisted men arrived from Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Lewis, Washington. Lieutenant Colonel John T. Davis assumed command and basic training for Companies "A", "B" & "C" began on 20 November. On 11 December, the battalion was attached to the 15th Armored Cavalry Group.

At the beginning of the year 1951, the 509th Tank Battalion was engaged in basic training. During the month of March, the majority of the personnel completed their basic training and commenced on the Advanced Individual Training. Platoon training was begun in May. This effort was characterized by repeated running of platoon problem involving attacks, withdrawals and sustained defense. In mid May, range firing was begun using 76mm guns.

In May, Major Charles M. Truax, former Battalion Executive Officer, assumed temporary command of the battalion, replacing Lieutenant Colonel John. T. Davis. On 10 June, Lieutenant Colonel Ian F. Turner arrived to assume full command of the battalion. In support of the local training, a large number of the enlisted men were sent to Fort Knox to attend courses in motors or tank commanding. On 15 August, the battalion was ordered to add ten weeks of training to their schedule to build a stronger foundation in tactics and gunnery. On 22 October, all platoons had completed their tests with ratings of satisfactory. On 11 December 1951, the 509th Tank Battalion completed the field tests, including moving into an assembly area, perimeter defense, plans, movement into attack position, attack, defense and withdrawal.

The year 1953 began with the battalion remaining in a "caretaker" status with the mission of maintaining stored equipment and readying itself for tactical reconstitution. During the month of April, the battalion was integrated. As of 30 April, the personnel roster consisted of twenty percent African-American and eighty percent Caucasian

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DMZ - Freedom's Frontier
The Korean War wound down to a negotiated halt when the long awaited armistice was signed at 10:00 on 27 July 1953. A DeMilitarized Zone (DMZ), a corridor - 4 kilometers wide and 249 kilometers long, was established dividing North and South Korea. The nominal line of the buffer zone is along the 38th parallel; however, the final negotiations of the adjacent geographical areas, gave the North Korean Government some 850 square miles south of the 38th parallel and the South Korean Government some 2,350 square miles north of it.

On 20 August 1957, the First Cavalry Division, guarding the northern sections of Honshu, Japan was reduced to zero strength and transferred to Korea (minus equipment). On 23 September 1957, General Order 89 announced the redesignation of the 24th Infantry Division as the 1st Cavalry Division and ordered a reorganization of the Division under the "pentomic" concept, In ceremonies held on 15 October, the colors of the 24th Division were retired and the colors of the 1st Cavalry Division were passed to the Commanding General of the old 24th Division, Major General Ralph W. Zwicker. "The First Team" had returned, standing ready to defend Korea against Communist aggression. The redesignated and reorganized First Cavalry was assigned the mission of patrolling the "Freedom's Frontier" (DMZ).

On 15 October 1957, as a part of the pentomic reorganization, Company "A", 509th Tank Battalion, 9th Cavalry, previously inactivated at Fort Knox, Kentucky was redesignated Troop "A", 9th Cavalry. Subsequently, on 01 November 1957, Troop "A", 9th Cavalry was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, 9th Cavalry; consolidated with the 16th Reconnaissance Company and assigned to 1st Cavalry Division and activated in Korea. The squadron served as the "eyes and ears" of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Orientation Before Entering DMZ
One of the most unique, and certainly most outstanding unit of the 1st Cavalry Division, was the Demilitarized Zone Police Company (Provisional). The 150 officers and troopers of the company had the important mission of maintaining law and order in the United Nations Command section of the demilitarized zone forward of the Division sector. In addition, the unit had responsibility for civil control of Tae Song Dong, a small village located in the DMZ, which was under control of the United Nations.

An all-volunteer outfit, the company, composed of a headquarters platoon and three line platoons, performed its mission 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by manning observation posts and patrolling in and along the demilitarized zone. One platoon would cover the zone in the daytime and two were assigned to night operations. A patrol consisted of three men, carrying the equipment that they needed for their specific mission. They always reported in every thirty minutes. Diligent performance was achieved by screening applicants for ability, experience and intelligence. Duty was rugged, but high spirits were maintained by the keen sense of mission importance shared by members of the unit.

Unlike most of the other subordinate units of the Division, The DMZ Police Company had never been in combat nor did it have a long history. However, in its short life span, it constantly performed one of the most important and toughest duties of the Free World defense. On 01 April 1960. the DMZ Police Company was inactivated and its security mission, along with assigned personnel, was transferred to the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, 9th Cavalry.

On 01 September 1963 the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron was reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry. The unit remained on duty at the DMZ until 01 July 1965 when it were transferred (less personnel and equipment) from Korea to Fort Benning, Georgia and reorganized.

DMZ Treaty Village, Today (NK Side)
NOTE - Although fighting was stopped, in July 1953, by the armed truce, North and South Korea have remained officially in a state of war for forty-five years, signified by the fact that over 1,000 UN personnel have been killed in duty at the DMZ. As of today, because of communist obstructionist tactics, years have gone by and no peace treaty has ever been agreed to and signed. An ever present "alert" status is in effect, as evidenced by the presence of a North Korean military force of 1.1 million troops stationed within miles of the Demilitarized Zone facing the South Korean force of 660,000 troops supported by 37,000 American soldiers stationed in the area.

On 15 June 2000 the first major breakthrough leading to more stable, peaceful conditions in the Korean Peninsula came about by the signing of a landmark agreement committing the Koreans to work toward reunification, to allow the reunions of families separated during the Korean War, and to improve economic cooperation between the two nations. While the joint communication was short of specifics, it signaled that the leaders, South Korean President, Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il hoped to put relations on the Korean Peninsula on an even footing and raised hopes for the eventual reunification of the nations. Later, South Korean officials outlined plans for implementing the historic agreement -- including the creation of a military hotline and building a railway crossing at the nations' heavily patrolled border.

Pedaling For Peace (SK Side)
0n 01 November 2009, South Korean Officials opened a new bike trail along the Civilian Control Line (CCL), east and west of the Unification Bridge, on a limited basis with an eye toward promoting exercise, tourism and the idea of an eventual reunification of the peninsula. The trail is in an off limits area for most civilians since Korean War hostilities ended in 1953. One of the objectives is to promoting a wish for peace and hoping for unification and appreciating the great nature preserved so well at the DMZ. It is the chance of a lifetime, to ride on a new bicycle trail through an area that has been shut off from most of mankind for decades.

Riders have to pass through a military checkpoint to get onto the trail, but the CCL is a good five miles south of the actual DMZ and within the sight of the sometimes unpredictable soldiers of North Korea. The ride is filled with memorable sights. The rivers of the area are unmarred by boat or fisherman. The terrain is relatively flat, absent of any houses, and, in the distance in every direction, there are postcard-worthy views of the mountains. This truly would be a nature-lover's paradise, were it not for the armed soldiers, the guard towers and all the barbed wire.

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Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.

Revised 25 Oct '09 SpellChecked