1st Lt. Stanley E. Tabor, “E” Co., 2nd Bn., 19th Inf., 20 July, 1950
My uncle, Stanley E. Tabor, 1st Lt., was the XO of Co. "E", 2nd Bn., 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division on 20 July 1950. He and General Dean spent a few days together E&Eing after the battle of Taejon. Stan was captured shortly thereafter; he died in captivity on 8 October, 1950.
I am trying to find ways that I might be able to locate and communicate with anyone who served with Stan, and who might be willing and able to give me information about him.
Additional information about Lt. Tabor from General Dean’s book, "General Dean’s Story"
From book by General Dean: “I was still lying there in the morning when I heard a noise, something scrambling down the same path I had used. I got around behind the rock and pulled my pistol, just in case it might be a North Korean. But the man who lurched into view was a young American. He had not seen me yet he was too busy making his way down that brutal path when I called to him. "Who are you? I said. "What outfit are you from?"
He jumped when he heard me but sighed with relief when he got a look and saw that I too was an American. He said, "I'm Lieutenant Tabor, Stanley Tabor from the Nineteenth Infantry. Who are you?" I tried to get up from behind my rock but had trouble. Then I said, "Well, I'm the S.O.B. who's the cause of all this trouble."
Tabor said he had been with Easy Company of the 2nd Battalion, which I had thrown into the river perimeter to bolster up the 34th's strength. In the retreat he'd been cut off and had started walking south by himself.
We started walking again that morning, Tabor carrying his carbine and I with Clarke's pistol banging against my leg.
I've enjoyed walking all my life and usually can out-walk many young people. But not on this day. I had to keep stopping to rest because of the pain under my ribs and in my abdomen. I just wanted to sit down. After each rest Tabor would pull me to my feet, and we'd make a few more yards. I said, "You go on ahead. One person can get through a lot quicker. I'm stove up, and there's no use pooping around here." But he always would say, "No, two have a better chance," and would refuse to leave me.
About one o'clock that afternoon we found the highway again. But it was bordered by open fields, and every time we'd try to cross we would see vehicles or soldiers of the Inmun Gun (North Korean term for "People's Army"). So we kept heading south through the brush, toward Kumsan, waiting for an opportunity to turn toward the east, in the direction of Yongdong, where I had left division headquarters.
That afternoon we stumbled into a family of refugees from Taejon, a mother and two teen-aged sons who had strung a rude tent, just a piece of canvas really, beside a stream. None of them could speak English, but they gave us some of their rice and made us understand that we should stay out of sight under the canvas until dark. We got the idea that there were many North Koreans in the area, but none of them bothered us.
Both of us got some sleep. When we awakened we asked the family if they would guide us toward Yongdong that evening. They made us understand that this town more than twenty miles east of Taejon had also been captured by the Communists. The military situation, then, was in even worse shape than I had feared. We had to assume this news was true; and if it was, Tabor and I were in a bad spot. I knew it would be terribly hard to get all the way east to Kumchon, which would be the next logical place for division headquarters to move if Yongdong was lost. We would have to pass through a defile; and the hill country around Yongdong always had been full of Communists. Even in the occupation days hunters passed up this fine deer country because of the many guerrillas. So I said, " We'll have to head south toward Kumsan, then try to get to Chinan, and east toward Taegu." In other words, I thought we'd make a big swing south, then cut to the east well below the main invasion route. This was to be my general plan for a long time.
That evening we started south again. There were no stars or other guideposts for holding our direction, and we didn't make much time. This was on the evening of July 22, and I guess my various injuries affected my mind, because the next days are more or less a blank. I know we had no food and that we did keep going, but the rest is just a haze of weariness, trying to get to my feet and failing without help, and everlastingly stumbling along one trail after another. Tabor must have kept us both going by will power, because I don't remember having any.
This may have gone on for one day or three. At last we reached a small town. I think we had turned around somehow and were heading west rather than south. This village may have been near Chinsan. At any rate we stumbled into it, and within a few minutes the whole population was around us. We asked for food, and someone brought us water with some kind of uncooked grain ground up in it. I've never seen or heard of it elsewhere. They also gave each of us two raw eggs. Two men in the crowd spoke some English, one of them well and one just a few words. The people seemed friendly, so we asked about where the Inmun Gun was, and whether they would guide us to Taegu. I offered them a million Won (approximately $100 the exchange then was about 860 to 1) if they would take us through. Even when Koreans speak English well, they often confuse figures, so I drew the figure in the dirt.
We should have noticed that the man who spoke better English had disappeared, but we didn't. The one who spoke less well said, "Okay, okay, come with me." He indicated that we should come to his house to get some rest, and that he would take us to Taegu in the morning. Fie led us to a house at the far edge of the village, where we took off our boots and entered an unfurnished room. The Korean sat on the floor with us and in his very broken English asked whom the village people should support. He diagrammed it: the Americans pushing one way, the North Koreans the other. It was all very confusing, he indicated, and I'm afraid we didn't help his confusion much. Instead we went to sleep on the floor.
Several hours later, it must have been early in the morning, we heard a rifle shot just outside the house. At the sound that little Korean never hesitated. He went out a door like a rabbit out of a box. He was gone, without any preliminaries.
Outside a voice called, "Come out, Americans! Come out! We will not kill you. We are members of the People's Army.
“Corne out, Americans!" The English was the best that I'd heard a Korean speak.
Tabor said, "This is it," and reached for his carbine.
We didn't "come out." I said to Tabor, "Come on, get your boots on, in a hurry," and we both did. We left by another door away from both the rifle shot and the door the Korean had used, and jumped into some high weeds right beside the house. "I'll lead," I said as we started crawling up a little hill in the dark. "With the carbine, you can cover me better than I can cover you with a pistol. I'll be the point." I remember I also said, "I'm not going to surrender, Tabor. There won't be any surrender for me."
"That's the way I feel too," he said.
There were more shots. They heard us in the weeds and fired in that direction. We reversed our course and went right back through the village, which was In pandemonium, everybody in the street and everybody yelling. We went right through town, past those Korean civilians, but none of them did anything. Crossing back-lots and skirting around houses, we finally came out in a rice paddy at the other edge of town. These paddies are divided into small cells, perhaps thirty feet across, with high dikes between. The water was about four inches deep and the rice stuck up another four or five inches.
We dived into the rice and the water, crawling on our bellies, using our elbows to inch us forward in the old infantry fashion. Two soldiers were across the paddy on a dike; they did not see us at first. I led out in the crawling, crossing one cell, then scooting over a dike and into the next, while the soldiers wearing Inmun Gun uniforms, I think continued to search from their vantage point on a parallel dike.
We crossed three of these cells, with the intervening dikes. Tabor was still with me. Then I went over another dike and crawled some more, but when I looked back, Tabor was not behind me and I was not to see another American for three long years.”