A morning in June: Defending Outpost Harry, by James W. Evans
Review by Dr. Sam Kier, Historian for the 5th Infantry Regiment Association.
On January 8, 1952, the 5th Regimental Combat Team was released from the 24th Infantry Division and became an independent unit under IX Corps control. By that time, the Korean War had evolved into a trench war similar to World War I.
From February through April, the combat team provided security at the prisoner-of-war compound on Koje-do Island. Then the Fifth spent May and half of June in reserve near Inje, in eastern Korea, and on 14 June took over a portion of Line Minnesota on the northern lip of the Punch Bowl, an ancient volcanic crater.
In October, 2LT James Evans, reported to Able Company and was assigned to lead 1st Platoon. Six months later he was promoted to commander of Company A. On 19 April, 1953, the 5th RCT was relieved on Line Minnesota and shifted west to Line Missouri in the Chorwon Valley.
At 0400 on 12 June, Lieutenant Evans was summoned by the S-3 of 1st Battalion and ordered to move his company to Outpost Harry, relieve the current defenders, restore the trenches and bunkers and prepare to “hold at all costs” against a suspected regimental-sized assault the following evening.
OP Harry was situated on a hill about 400 meters in height and approximately a quarter of a mile north of Line Missouri. Two hills on the opposite side of the valley were populated by two regiments from the 74th Division, 24th Chinese Peoples’ Army.
In a humble and straight-forward fashion, James Evans tells of his subsequent recon of the hill, restoration of the position, and the horrific fighting, often hand-to-hand, between 2145 on June 12 and 0455 on the 13th. The battle was one of the most remarkable feats of arms in U.S. history. The reader is impressed with the tremendous responsibility that older men can place upon a 22-year-old leader during times of combat.
In 1995, encouraged by fellow survivors of the battle for Outpost Harry, James Evans, finally checked into a VA clinic and began to deal with symptoms caused by the horror that he experienced on the night of 12-13 June, 1953. He became a strong advocate for victims of PTSD.
James Evans died at Williamsburg, Virginia on May 1, 2010. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He did live to see the publication of his book, A Morning in June. Well-known army veteran and historian, John S. D. Eisenhower, wrote the foreword.
This review was provided by Dr. Sam Kier, Historian for the 5th Infantry Regiment Association. Kier is the author of “Two Centuries of Valor: The Story of the 5th Infantry Regiment.”
- Title: A morning in June: defending Outpost Harry
- Author: Evans, James W. (James William), 1929-
- Description: Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, c2010. xxii, 220 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
- ISBN: 9780817316693 (cloth : alk. paper) 9780817356071 (paper : alk. paper) 9780817381813 (electronic)
- 5th Regimental Combat Team : Korea with incoming artillery
- Lieutenant Evans : preparations for infantry combat
- Punch Bowl rim : North Korea People's Army
- Shower relief : MASH for treatment
- Christmas 1952 : winter combat on the mountain
- R & R : seven days rest, then return to Korea
- Relocating to the Chorwon Valley : finding the doors of hell
- Morning of 12 June : the siege starts
- Outpost Harry : destruction beyond comprehension
- Occupying the hill : with only twelve hours to rebuild and defend
- Chinese attack : hand-to-hand combat is the essence of an infantryman
- Relief from hell : three days before Operation Ranger
- Coming home : the trauma of returning to civilian life•Epilogue
- Appendix A: Reports on the defense of Outpost Harry
- Appendix B: Awards and decorations earned for the defense of Outpost Harry.
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