The Bridge To Pork Chop Hill     By James A. Brettell  

                      Authored By Capt. James A. Brettell C.O. Company A 13th
                      Engineer (C) Bn.  Reprinted From The Association Newsletter,
                      April 1998.                     

                      By the end of the 4th of July 1953, it had been raining for 24 hours. Summer
                      rains there are devastating to the roads and create enourmous maintanence
                      problems for the supporting Engineer troops. It doesn't just rain it pours very hard
                      for long periods of time. It was not uncommon to schedule around the clock road
                      maintanence operations because the roads would wash out over night if left
                      unattended. The rains also created serious problems for the infantry units
                      defending positions all along the MLR and especially at such outposts such as
                      Pork Chop hill because the rain masked noises that could alert our troops of the
                      approach of the Chinese. Another aspect of the road maintanence problem is the
                      swelling of streams which normally flow at depths of only a few inches, but
                      which during these rains rapidly rise to depths far too deep to ford with a wheeled
                      or even a tracked vehicle. M-46 tanks and APCs were no match for the swift
                      currents of a swollen stream in the summer Korean rains. 

                      On July 6, the Chinese, launched their last attack of the Korean War at Pork
                      Chop Hill under the cover of darkness and the rains. It was ferocious and
                      unrelenting. The 17th infantry suffered heavy casualties in the initial onslaught.
                      Pre-arranged counter attack plans were implemented immediately. Each of these
                      plans included use of "A" Company supporting engineers. A squad of engineers
                      were assigned to each company of the 17th and regularly practiced counter attack
                      procedures. The engineer troops had pre-arranged basic loads of ammunition,
                      satchel charges, bangalore torpedoes. mines, radios and rations that each
                      individual carried with him for use in the counter attack. 

                      During these counter attacks the continuous rains complicated our routine road
                      maintenance operation so much that we considered the need for a Bailey bridge
                      over one particular stream. Normally small and fordable, this stream flowed
                      diagonally to the northwest crossing the only supply route to Pork Chop and on
                      out into "no man's land" just west of the Chop. 

                      The 17th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division was defending Pork
                      Chop and being supported by A-Company of the 13th Engineer (C) Battalion.
                      Early on the morning of July 7th, M/Sgt. Goudy and I conducted a
                      reconniassance to determine whether a Bailey bridge could be used to span the
                      stream. Our affirmative report to battalion headquarters set the wheels in motion.
                      The remainder of the story is an example of Murphy's Law in action. 

                      Battalion quickly informed us that an engineer bridge unit normally assigned for
                      such a task from I Corps was not available. That meant the job would fall to "A"
                      Company to do in addition to their other duties. This assignment might not have
                      been so difficult had there been time for even a brief refresher training period of
                      the details of a Bailey bridge and the construction sequences so neccessary for the
                      job to proceed smoothly. Every engineer soldier has training in Bailey bridge
                      construction, but no one in Able company had even thought of a Bailey for a very
                      long time. However the job had to be done and the fact that our troops were
                      rusty on the details of the Bailey was only one of the many handicaps that would
                      present itself in the next 36 hours. 

                      We all knew that a bridge panel was 5 feet by 10 feet and weighed 560 pounds,
                      but in a matter of minutes M/Sgt. Goudy came up with a tech manual to provide
                      the rest of us with the bridge details that we needed. The bridge construction had
                      to begin right away because the stream was rising rapidly and soon would cut off
                      the only re-supply capability of the 17th Infantry to move Troops,ammunition
                      and food to the Chop and to evacuate the wounded. 

                      The first order of business was a recon to determine how much bridge was
                      needed and select the exact location. M/Sgt. Goudy and I during day light hours
                      moved by jeep to a location out of sight of the Chinese occupying "Old Baldy"
                      and prepared to move from there on foot to an area exposed to anyone who
                      wanted to watch us. We realized we were in sight of the Chinese on "Old Baldy"
                      but we hoped the rain would disguise our presence long enough for us to get our
                      job completed. 

                      As we approached the general location for the bridge, M/Sgt. Goudy stepped on
                      something that emitted a very loud "CLICK"! We both knew immediately that he
                      had stepped on a pressure release mine, but Goudy had the presence of mind and
                      the courage to stand still with his weight on his left foot so as not to release the
                      pressure on the switch that would detonate the mine. We stood there for what
                      seemed an eternity but after we caught our breath, he asked "What do I do now?"
                      I said "Stand still and let me think a minute." Murphy was alive and well! 

                      It didn't take long to realize we had very few options. By this time it occurred to
                      me that we had been out there for a very long time. The probability of being
                      observed increased each minute and we were well within range of small arms fire
                      of the Chinese on "Old Baldy". 

                      As I looked around I saw no resources except some boulders strewn around the
                      area. I thought must be something we could do with them to solve our dilemma. I
                      told M/Sgt. Goudy to be patient, and soldier that he was he mustered the courage
                      to stand perfectly still while I maneuvered loose boulders to his leg and fashioned
                      a parapet wall right against it. When I finished I told him I couldn't do anything
                      more. I said "I'll get behind that big boulder over there. Whenever you're ready ,
                      fall over that wall and drop to the ground as quickly as you can." In a voice
                      typical of his calm and confident nature, he merely said "OK". Knowing that he
                      was standing on an explosive charge that could take off his leg or even his life
                      didn't seem to faze Sgt. Goudy at all. His voice never wavered a bit! This man
                      was cool! 

                      We both knew this type of mine was designed to be propelled upward with a two
                      or three second delay before exploding, spraying fragments downward in a fan
                      shaped pattern. After assuring that I was in place, he took a deep breath and
                      jumped toward the outside of the boulders. It seemed like an eternity before we
                      realized that the initial explosion had propelled the mine diagonally up and away
                      from M/Sgt. Goudy and me so that when the mine exploded its force was nearly
                      horizontal in one direction and straight down in the other. Neither of us had more
                      then a few scratches! We assumed the mine was an M-2 Bouncing Betty. We
                      knew of no Chinese mine of that sort. This mine must have been planted by our
                      own forces at some earlier time. After recovering our breath, we realized all of
                      Murphy's pronouncements were bad! 

                      In retrospect' it is difficult to understand why the Chinese didn't fire at us or
                      attempt to capture us from their positions on "Old Baldy". Perhaps they didn't fire
                      because they knew the area was mined. Perhaps they were just amusing
                      themselves watching and waiting for us to blow ourselves up. Perhaps they didn't
                      try to capture us because they had only several days earlier captured the
                      Columbian battalion Commander with enough documentation to cause the
                      burning of midnight oil at division headquarters. 

                      What a way to start construction of a Bailey bridge! 

                      In spite of this difficult beginning we remembered our mission. We had come to
                      select a site and determine the lenght required for a Bailey bridge that would
                      provide a life line to the troops defending Pork Chop Hill. As it turned out, it was
                      a good thing we performed that chore when we did because only a few hours
                      later the continuing rains would have made it impossible to do on foot. 

                      Bridge trucks arrived late that afternoon with the bridging materials and we began
                      immediately to move components to a staging area near the bridge site. It was
                      here that the next example of Murphy's law confronted us. The space in the
                      staging area was very limited because the road to the bridge was on a side hill cut
                      and we had to stay behind a nose of the hill to mask our activity from a line of
                      sight to the Chinese. It was difficult and time consuming to maneuver the huge
                      trucks in such a limited space. 

                      By dark we began the construction. We had Korean Army Soldiers, known as
                      KATUSA's integrated into our company. In addition we were fortunate enough to
                      have Korean Service Corps (KSC) personnel to assist in labor tasks. The
                      darkness and rain were serious handicaps for the project but soon the Chinese
                      started firing mortars directly into the bridge site. As if we didn't have enough
                      trouble, it quickly became apparent that due to the language barrier
                      communication with the KATUSAs and the KSC laborers was extremely
                      difficult.Nevertheless the unloading and assembling of the bridge continued.
                      Actual construction of the bridge was under way. 

                      After constructing the first three sections of the bridge, we found that we could
                      no longer push the joined sections of the bridge towards the far shore with the
                      personnel we had available due to the rain, slick footing and intense incoming fire.
                      We moved a Caterpillar D-7 to the site and as sections were added to the bridge
                      they were rapidly pushed toward the far shore. Work halted frequently when it
                      was neccessary to direct the men to take cover from the intense and unrelenting
                      ennemy fire, which continued all night through the entire project. In one instance,
                      M/Sgt. Goudy ran out to the suspended end of the bridge to pick up a wounded
                      KATUSA and carry him back to safety. The men performed heroically time after
                      time, exposing themselves to deadly mortar fire and small arms fire to assemble
                      the bridge that was so essential to the success of the infantry mission. Casualties
                      occured one after the other. Yet the members of Company A as well as the
                      KATUSAs and KSC persisted in assembling section after section until a 60 foot
                      span bridged a rain swollen stream. The vital supply route was reopened by 0600
                      on the 7th of July. 

                      During the night there were many trips to the Infantry Battalion aid station, not
                      far from the bridge site and to the rear, and we made that trip many times. On
                      one trip M/Sgt. Goudy himself wounded drove another soldier with him to the aid
                      station. After the Medics treated Goudy, they told him the other man was very
                      seriously wounded and would have to be moved to division level immediately.
                      The Doctor said that all of the ambulances were gone and ordered Goudy to take
                      the wounded man to Division. By the time Goudy returned, his platoon leader
                      was pretty grumpy about the delay until he realized Goudy was wearing a new
                      Purple Heart. 

                      By the next morning July 8th, the rising stream was threatening the abutments of
                      the bridge, so we decided to extend the lenght of the bridge to 90 feet.
                      Fortunately the bridging materials were on the site and we were able to begin
                      work right away. Although the in coming mortar fire was threatening every
                      minute, we were able to reassemble the launching nose on the far shore and then
                      assemble additional sections on the near shore without delaying traffic for more
                      then two hours. 

                      When we finally finished the additional 30 feet, we heaved a huge sigh of relief
                      and took stock of our assets. We had suffered 38 casualties during the previous
                      36 hours! There were 21 valor awards on this single operation. The job was done
                      in spite of Mr. Murphy and his law! 

                      NOTE: M/Sgt. James Goudy traveled from his home in Wisconsin to Texas to
                      collaborate with Capt. James A. Brettell on the writing of this historical record of
                      the 13th Engineers. In addition Lt. Edward Larkin, also a member of A Company
                      at the time of this event came from Louisville to assist in preparation of this

                        BRONZE STAR FOR VALOR AWARDS

                      The Following 21 Men Of A-and H&S CO. were awarded the
                      Bronze Star For Valor. In addition 38 Purple Hearts were
                      awarded to men of A-Company who worked on this bridge.

                      ***** CAPT. JAMES A. BRETTELL ***** LT. JOSEPH M.
                      McMAHON **** LT. JAMES J. DIETZ (First Oak Leaf
                      Cluster) ****2ND. LT. RICHARD W. WHITE **** M/SGT.
                      JAMES R. GOUDY **** M/SGT. JAMES SILER ****
                      M/SGT. HOUSTON LONG **** M/SGT. RICHARD J.
                      ASTRUP **** SGT. KENNETH KELLY **** SGT.
                      NICHOLAS TOMASINI **** CPL. WILLIAM J. WEST ****
                      CPL. KENNETH B. THOMAS **** PFC. JOHN KIMMEL
                      (First Oak Leaf Cluster) **** PFC. CHARLES A. AUSTIN
                      **** PFC. CHARLES DOUILLETTEE **** PFC. ARTHUR J.
                      LaFRANCE **** PFC. J. JONES **** PFC. JAMES B.
                      YORK ****PFC. MARVIN C. WARD **** PVT. TOM V.
                      HOWARD **** SGT. ROBERT L. HARRIS   (H&S-Co).