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1st Battalion, 11th Marines
at the Hook

Korea, 1953

by MSgt. Robert D. Caulkins, USMC (Ret)

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I was a gunner with Battery A, 1st Battalion, 11th Marines in 1953. In the final battles of the Korean War in May, June and July 1953, the 11th Marine Regiment Artillery (approximately 72 tubes of 105 MM and 155 MM) fired a total of 120,000 rounds in support of U.S. and Commonwealth forces, especially those at the Hook.

I remember one night when we were firing in support of the U. S. 25th Infantry Division, we fired all night long. We did not fire volleys, we fired barrage with an occasional check of quadrant and deflection. Because we were getting incoming, only two men manned each gun; the Gunner and Number One. The rest of the crew remained under cover until time to relieve one or the other man on the gun due to exhaustion. In addition to the enemy incoming, we were being pummeled by air bursts of Army 155 guns which were firing VT fuses somewhere to our rear in low cloud cover. All battery non-gun crew personnel were breaking out ammo in the ammo bunkers.

At one point, on 29 May, the Turkish 105 Battery, a couple of hills over from us, was incinerated by enemy fire which struck in discarded powder charges which had not been disposed of properly. The intense heat wiped out the entire six gun battery including the motor pool, the FDC and all ammo stores.

A couple of days later we gunners were trucked to the battery and given a lecture on what can happen due to sloppy handling of cut powder charges.

MSgt. Robert D. Caulkins, USMC (Ret)
December 2000

After the armistice Robert Caulkins became a member of the 1st Provisional Marine Demilitarized Zone Police Company. The zone of operations was from the Panmunjom Corridor eastward to the Hook and the Samichon River, a distance of about 23 miles. The demarcation line ran right across the Hook. He remembers to this day, that 5 or 6 months after the signing of the armistice, the smell of death was still very heavy.

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