Biographical Sketch - Lieutenant Colonel William Gail White

Born in Carmel, California, October 27, 1910, the youngest of three children, his father was a Presbyterian Minister and, his mother was a school teacher. While attending high school in Bakersfield, California, he also participated during the summer in the Citizens Military Training Camp being designated as an honor trainee each year and after graduation in 1929 was designated as a member Ninth Corps Area CMTG Rifle team for competition in the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. He had also been recommended for a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps but being under age for a commission would have to serve two years in the Enlisted Reserve Corps before becoming eligible. He entered San Jose State Teachers College in January, 1930 however he dropped out at the end of his first quarter and a week later found his enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and on his way to Marine Corps Base, San Diego, Calif. for two months of recruit training, more commonly known as 'boot camp'. This was followed by two weeks of ‘sea school’ and the end of June found him reporting for duty as a member of the Marine Detachment of the U.S.S. West Virginia. During his two year tour he was a member of the Marine Whaleboat Crew that won the Battle Float Championship two years in a row, placed third (by half a length) in the All-Navy races in 1931 and won the All-Navy Marine Whaleboat Championship in 1932. In this letter they not only beat the crew of the U.S.S. Lexington by three feet but there was a small matter of some $65.000 in bets between the crews of the two ships.
The summer of 1932 found White transferred to the U.S. Navy Yard at Bremerton where he was assigned to the Guard Company. That winter he was a member of the Bremerton Marines Basketball Team which was coached by 1st Lt David Shoup, later to become Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Reassigned to the Navel Ammunition Depot, Bremerton, Wn., during the summer of 1933 when firing for rifle qualification he fired one of the highest scores fired in het Marine Corps that year. This found him placed on temporary duty with the Bremerton Marines Rifle Team for the rest of the shooting season after which he was returned to the N.A.D. for the winter. The following spring however he was reassigned to the Rifle Team as a firing member and also as a coach in rifle marksmanship and an instructor in Special Infantry Weapons. This included being designated Chief Instructor in the Heavy Browning Machine Gun and in the summer of 1935 while firing a demonstration of record firing on the 1000 inch course shot a score of 396 out of a possible 400 which was a Marine Corps record.
In October 1935 White was reassigned to the Sixth Marines, F.M.F. at Marine Corps Base, San Diego, Calif. He fired with the FMF Rifle Team in 1936 but due to an injury requiring hospitalization in October 1936 that would mean his missing out on practice landings at San Clemente Island he was transferred to Base Troops. He was able to fire the 1937 Marine Corps Western division Matches with the San Diego Base Rifle Team before receiving his discharge 17 April 1937 and reenlisting in the VMCR with a sergeants rating.
In those days a married Marine had twenty four hours to reenlist in or it was all over for him. Through the summer of 1941 White could not see how the United States could keep out of the war much longer and as a result he quit his job with Shell Oil Company and enlisted in the Army as a private enlisting directly for the 32nd Infantry Regiment of the 7th Division which was stationed at Fort Ord, Calif. at the time. This was during the time when due to lack of equipment a great deal of simulating went on. For instance during one night problem being conducted by the Regiment, there was to be a combined river crossing of the Salinas River and a Paratroop drop behind the 'enemy' on the far side of the river. The Paratroop force consisted of one company of infantry loaded into 2 ½ ton trucks which were driven very slowly along the back roads with the men jumping singly off the roar of the truck (this was a stick of Paratroopers), landing in a crouch in the road and holding their position for a minimum of ten seconds to simulate the time of their drop from their ‘transport Aircraft’ and then moving out to perform their assigned mission. It was during this problem that White won himself the title of the 'Sea Serpent of the Salinas River' when he made a solo reconnaissance patrol that included his swimming the river with the aid of an inflatable rubber mattress.
White was promoted to 1st Sergeant of the Company shortly after Christmas, 1941 but in February he found himself on the way to Fort Benning, Georgia and Officers Candidate School. He graduated from OCS and commissioned a 2nd Lt on 21 May, 1942 and immediately on orders to the B.I.R.T.C., Camp Robinson, Arkansas. He was assigned initially to Company C, 51st Training Battalion as a platoon leader but one week later was reassigned to take command of 'A' Co of the same Battalion, though he was the junior officer in the company. In early July, less than a month and a half after being commissioned he was promoted to 1st Lt. This made him eligible for troop duty and he immediately began bombarding Headquarters with requests for overseas assignment to troops. In October of 1942 he received his orders for troop duty but instead of assignment overseas he was assigned to the 103rd Infantry Division, Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, a Division which had not even been activated as yet and consisted only of officers and NCO cadre. In addition, he found himself being assigned as a personnel officer, a job of which he knew exactly nothing. This lasted less than a week and he was reassigned to command a Heavy Weapons Company, Company 'D', 1st Battalion, 409th Infantry. Despite a heavy schedule of assigning subjects to be taught and the instructors, writing lesson plans, supervising instruction rehearsals, etc. while awaiting the arrival of the fillers who would come straight from the induction centers, he found time, after becoming lucky in a poker game, to buy paint for the messhall and day room and materials for curtains for the same. Above the serving counter of the messhall in large letters was painted the following: Company D, 409th Infantry Regiment, the best ??? Company in the U.S. Army's. He believed it and it was not too long after his men arrived before they were believing it too. Everywhere they went the men carried their heavy weapons regardless of what the instruction was going to be. He treated them rough, he treated them tough, but he also treated them fair and any time one his men was in trouble he was always there backing his man. As he said, “I’ll back my men right of wrong. If they were wrong I’ll take care of it myself after I get them back to the company.” He would also add: “There is only one person who can kick my men around and that is me and the Lord help anyone else who tries it.” His attitude towards his men paid off as by the time small unit training was competed ‘D’ Company was tops in practically everything in the 103rd Division after the Division tests were completed.
White had been promoted to Captain in February 1943, and towards the end of April was called for by the Chief of Staff of the Division, Colonel Barkes. He was told that he was wanted to take over Division Headquarters as Headquarters Commandant and Headquarters Company Commander with the mission of getting the supply mess in the company straightened out and to 'make soldiers out of Headquarters Company personnel'. When he asked how far he could go and what backing he would get he was told, "As far as you want and you have the complete backing of the commanding General and myself." He went, he had it, and he did it being promoted to Major on October 19, 1943, 25 months to the day from his enlistment in the Army as a private.
At the end of the 1943 Louisiana maneuvers he was sent to Fort Benning to attend the Advanced Officers Course and upon his return to the 103rd Infantry Division, which had moved to Camp Houze, Texas, was assigned as Battalion Executive of his old Battalion. This did not last long for right in the middle of a 25 mile hike with the battalion, a jeep came for him with orders to Camp Meade, Maryland, as a replacement officer for overseas movement. Nearly two months of doing nothing at Camp Meade followed by a fast convoy to England so that he could bounce around four other replacements depots (including two weeks at the Army School Center at Shrivenham, England, taking a two weeks Field Grade Officers Motor Maintenance Course which he had just taken the summer before at Normoyle Ordnance Depot, San Antonio, Texas) gave him a rather bitter taste towards the Army Replacement System. He expressed his opinion of it to the Adjutant General of the 17th Replacement Depot at Warminster, England, the day after D-Day and the following day had orders to the 83rd Infantry Division where he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 330th Infantry Regiment as Battalion Executive. Two more days and he was on his way for France with the foot elements of a Battalion Headquarters Company and a Rifle Company. When the Division was finally together again they were moved into the line to relieve the 101st Airborne Division at Carentan, Normandy, France, toward the later part of June, 1944.
For the next few days White 'amused' himself  by taking out a series of recon and combat patrols. This is not exactly the thing for a Battalion Executive Officer to do but as White told it, "I had just joined the Battalion as a replacement. I didn’t know the men and the men didn’t know me. As a result we got acquainted in a hurry." He would always ask for volunteers and is asking he would merely say, "Who wants to go on a tea party?"
The period of July 4 to July 7, 1944 were rather eventful days. The 4th of July was to be celebrated by the start of a big ‘push’ against the Germans. Intelligence had reported that there was very little in front of the Division Zone, that the Germans had brought in rear echelon troops, cooks, bakers, company clerks, etc., just to try to establish a line. Intelligence forgot to tell us about the butchers. As White said, "I hope that I never have to get up against front line German troops. The rear echelon troops reported by Intelligence consisted of the 17th SS Panzer Grenadiers and the 5th and 6th Parachute Regiments." During that  four day period White was wounded on six separate occasions, captured by a strong of the 17th SS an not only managed to escape but take with him some twelve or fourteen other Americans that the Germans had as prisoners. There also were several amusing incidents that happened during that period. The first of these was when the preparatory artillery serenade stopped and the infantry attack was to start things were going to slow for White. Without stopping to think that his place as Battalion Executive Officer was back at the Battalion Command Post he let out a yell of "Let’s go, 330th" and took off on the run across the field heading for the next hedgerow. His men immediately were on their feet running after him trying to catch up. He was the first man to the next bank and as he looked over the top he spotted two machine gun positions located with one gun at each corner of the next bank so that they had cross fire of the entire field. The next man to him was a B.A.R. man and rather than waste time pointing the positions to him White grabbed the gun and began firing. With the two guns knocked out and a fresh magazine in het BAR White swung over the top of the bank and was on his way for the next one. The man he had taken the gun had been a BAR-man ever since he had joined the unit when it was activated. He had lugged that BAR through maneuvers in the States, across the Atlantic to England, through maneuvers in the mountains of Wales, across the channel to Normandy and now, the first time that he got to really use it it had been taken away from him. While White was running across the middle of the field firing, the owner of the gun was running down the ditch alongside the field calling out " But, Major, when am I going to get to use it." White called back: "Never mind when you get to us it. Throw me another God damn magazine", and kept on going.
The morning of the 7th of July, 1944, White received his sixth wound that finally put him out of action, at least for a while. A large shell fragment tore a considerable chunk from his right forearm and when White came to he was in an evacuation hospital as he said: "looking up into the face of the most beautiful blonde angel he had ever seen". It was a nurse bending over and washing his face with a soft wash cloth. She asked him if he would like something to eat and not having eaten anything except one tin of 10 in 1 ration cheese and some crackers for the last four days he couldn’t say yes fast enough. She came back with a tin plate full of hot 10 in 1 ration pork and eggs and he practically scraped the bottom out of the plate. The doctors and nurses were working around the clock and practically dropping from exhaustion yet they always had time to stop by a patient having a rough time and give him a smile and a word of encouragement. To show how heavy a schedule they were running, White had a priority for the operating table but had to wait three days for a chance to be put on for they were that far behind with the casualties piling up on them. When his turn did finally arrive the poor nurse who was giving the anesthesia was so tired that she was crying as she was putting the needle for the sodium pentothal into the vain in his arm because she thought that she was hurting him and White went out laughing at her to cheer her up.
From evacuation to beach hospital to hospital ship to beach hospital in England, then to a station hospital for one day and finally he arrived at the 121st General Hospital and his personal battle with the Army Medical Corps was started. The Hospital had just arrived from the States, relieving the 16th General which had been moved on across the Channel. As a result it was like being in a G.I. Hospital in the States. Fortunately the surgeon who worked on White, who happened to also be a Major White, had been through the African campaigns and understood combat casualties. In addition he was a fine surgeon and did a lot to restore the use of White’s arm. A section of bone in the forearm about three inches long had been exposed and the forearm had to be built up and then a large skin graft placed over it. The skin was tale from his thigh and a lot later White would start to rub the skin over the graft and say: "Every time my leg itches I have to scratch my arm."
As soon as the graft had taken White started his own therapy treatment. He had been able to bring back a German P-38 pistol with him and this had been placed in the supply room. He asked for it and then would spend hours holding it in his hand, wrapping his fingers around the butt time after time until finally he was able to hold the pistol up without his arm wavering. Then started the trigger squeeze. More hours squeezing until it felt as though he was putting 30.000 pounds pressure on the trigger and still the hammer would not fall. Then one day he picked the pistol up, cocked it started the usual squeeze with his forefinger and the hammer fell. He was the happiest man in the world right then. He was just about ready to head back to his own outfit. By the time he was able to squeeze the trigger to fire without his forearm wavering he figured he was ready to go. Normally a wound like his and especially as it was accompanied by five others, would have meant immediate evacuation to the Z.I. (Zone of the Interior; in other words Stateside) but White had managed to talk the medics to let his stay in England. White knew that the Medics would keep him in hospital for considerably more time and then would come rehabilitation and finally back to the Replacement system. He decided to jump the gun knowing how the Replacement System worked and less than a month and a half after being hit he jumped hospital and headed for the loth Replacement Depot. He reported in there with a story that he was reporting for duty from hospital and that his orders were being mailed to the Depot. Two days later found him attaching himself to a replacement package that was starting on its way back across the channel by telling the package commander that he had been sent by Depot Headquarters to help him in any way that he could. Three days later he was not only reporting to his Division Commander, General Robert Macon, but he had picked up a war correspondent in England, Hamilton Greene (who was writing for the American Legion magazine and the King Syndicate) and took him along with him with no orders for either and introduced ‘Ham’ to the General. White’s report to the General was “Sir! Major White reporting back to the Division for duty, AWOL from hospital.” Ham stayed with the Division until mid-November.
White was anxious to get back to what he called 'his battalion' and 'his men', meaning the 3rd Battalion, 330th Infantry Regiment which was the unit he had landed and fought with. He did not get back to them for some time however, as he was assigned to the 1st Bn, 331st Inf as Bn Exec. The main mission was to contain some 25 or 30.000 Germans in St. Nazaire while his own Battalion was with a special task force driving down the Peninsula for Brest. Less than a month later found the Division on its way to Luxembourg with the mission of clearing the Germans out of Luxembourg and driving them back across the Moselle river. This was accomplished and in late October White was placed on TDY (Temporary Duty) along with a group of officers of the Division for duty with 'Le Premier regiment de Paris de F.F.I.'. Their mission was to train the Free French unit in various types of tactics. White’s assignment seemed to be a natural as it covered combat patrols. At the end it was back to Luxembourg and near the end of November received the orders that he cherished most of all that he had during his active duty. He was assigned back to his old Battalion, 3rd Bn, 330th Infantry as Battalion Commander. With hardly time to meet the men that remained from those that had landed with him orders were received for a movement to the Hurtgen Forest to relieve the 4th Inf Division. The relief was to be made one Regt at a time and the 330th was the first one from the 83rd to go in. White moved out with the Advance Party to check out and assign assembly areas and to make all arrangements and details for the relief. There was ‘fun and games’ in the line for a week and his Battalion was pulled out into Regimental Reserve. Three days later, at 0300 on the 10th of December found the Battalion moving out of its final assembly area in a snow storm with the mission of passing through the lines, clearing out of the Forest and attacking and seizing the town of Strauss which located about 1,500 yards out of the Forest and was on what practically amounted to the edge of the Cologne Plains. Everything was fine and two rifle companies were in the town without a shot being fired and then all Hell started. White had decided to set up his Forward Command Post and O.P. (Observation Post) on the high ground in the open from the woods because as soon as it got light he would be able to observe any and all German Troop movement to a distance of two or three miles beyond the town. Everything was fine until shooting began behind them. It seemed that with the combination of dark and snow storm the Battalion had passed through not only their own lines but also a German Battalion that was in the edge of the woods and reinforced with M-4 and M-5 tanks and self-propelled guns. Neither side was aware of the pass through until after the snow stopped and it became light enough to see. The it became a question of who was in whose rear. The Germans sealed the gap and it was not until about 1600 that afternoon that some of our own armor broke through, forcing a temporary gap and managing to evacuate some of the wounded before the Germans closed it again. This time the Battalion was out off for four days but held the town against repeated attempts by the Germans to regain in. For this action the Battalion was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. Unfortunately, among those evacuated that afternoon was White who had received a machine gun burst in the stomach at about 0900 as he was going after a German self-propel gun in an attempt to lob a hand grenade into the open top. White was evacuated to the 13th Field Hospital at Stolberg, Germany and as soon as they got him on the operating table the doctor called for the Chaplain. White did not find out until a month and a half later that he had been given the last rites as he lay on the table. Being a Presbyterian ministers son the last rites didn’t take and New Year’s morning found him being unloaded from a hospital train at Diss in England right in the middle of the Eighth Air Force. As he was being wheeled into what was to be his ward for a while, his fight with the Medical Department started all over again. A nurse standing at the door of the ward told him that "On Saturday inspection he was to lie at attention in bed". He was sure that he had not heard her right and asked her to repeat what she had said. When she did, he looked up at her from his litter and told her “Nurse! When you can show me a Field Manual that prescribes the position of a soldier at attentil while lying in bed, then I will assume it, but until then I’ll be damned if I am even going to try. That is the silliest thing I have ever heard.” They did not show him and he never tried.
On the 1st of March, two days after they had closed his colostomy, he wrote two letters of thanks (one for the hospital C.O. and one for the Day Nurse) thanking everyone for what they had done for him and that now it was time for him to get back to doing his job which was fighting Germans. He gave these to another officer patient with instructions to give them to the day nurse when she came on duty. At 0500 he had slipped out of the hospital and made his way to the railway station at Diss waiting for a train for London where he would change trains for one that would take him to Spanhoe where an Air Corps Troop Carrier unit was stationed. Her he bummed a ride across the Channel to Liege, Belgium in a C-47.
From here he hitchhiked first to VIIth Corps Rear where he found where his Division was and then on to Corps Forward from where he was able to phone Divisional Headquarters and talk to the Divisional G-1. He told G-1 where he was and that he would be reporting to the Division the next morning. He was told, "For God’s sake, see me before you report to the General." Sure enough the next morning a liaison plane flew him from Corps Hqs to Div landing him less than 100 yards from Div Hq’s. He checked with G-1 first and then reported to General Macon with, "Sir! Major White reporting back for duty from hospital; AWOL again." The general called out "G-1, start writing letters. Surgeon, give him a physical." The Division captured the town of Neuse, on the Rhine river and remained there for a few days when it was withdrawn to Maastricht, Holland to regroup and for some rest and recuperation. It was not until then that White learned that Ninth Army would not let the Division pick him up as present for duty but insisted that they continue to carry him as AWOL from hospital. Orders finally came for the Division to move out and what later became known as the ‘rat race’ began. White still had not been given an assignment so he attached himself to the traffic section of the M.P. Platoon and took off with the M.P.’s posting men along the way at places where traffic control might be needed until they had succeeded in capturing the town of Grande and had established a bridgehead across the river. A tread way bridge was emplaced across the river and White remained at the head of the bridge to direct motor traffic. At the Grande approach to the bridge the roadway passed through an arch which was just wide enough to get our Sherman tanks under it. It was here that White saw his first M-20 (Patton) tank which mounted a 90mm gun and which was so wide that it nearly filled the street from side to side. It was at least two feet wider than the arch across the street but that didn’t phased it. After it went through the rest of them could go through without touching the sides. They did present one small problem and that was their combined width and weight. White solved that by having one tank cross at a time. He would get the right track against the inside of the right rail of the bridge (this left about a foot or more of the left track sticking out beyond the left rail) and instruct the driver that once he started he was to keep going. Under no circumstances was he to put on his brakes and stop. All drivers carried out their orders and even though the tops of the pontoons were sunk under water with the weight of one tank all of them were crossed without incident.
While he was getting the rest of the main vehicle train across the bridge General Macon came by and stopped to ask him if he had seen either the Chief-of-Staff, of the G-1. When White gave him a negative he was told that Colonel York was asking for him back with the 331st and to tell either of the two that he (General Macon) was sending White back to the Regiment. As the General left, White turned to an M.P. standing beside him and asked if he had heard what the General had said. When the M.P. said that he had, White told him, "When either the Chief-of-Staff, of G-1 come along tell them what the general said and that I am already on my way to join the 331st." With that he took off by himself cross country with about twenty miles to travel to join the 331st column which was coming up to the Weser River at Polle. He reported to Colonel York who had no special assignment for him at that time. When a bridgehead was established White took it on himself to control traffic across the bridge and then rejoined Regimental Hq’s. He remained with Colonel York riding with him in a scout car most of the time standing in the circular mount for the .50 caliber machine gun. Not having an assignment but being allowed to act more or less as a free agent White had a lot of fun occasionally taking off by himself through 'unexplored' country and always coming back with something to show for his efforts ranging from fur lined flying suits to ceremonial swords and daggers that were going to be issued for the great German parade down '5th avenue'.
The Elbe River was reached and again a bridgehead was established. Word had just been received about the death of President Roosevelt and that Vice President Truman had accepted the presidency. As a result the bridge was named the 'Truman Bridge'. All though technically U.S. units were supposed to hold up at the Elbe until the British, under Montgomery had come up on our left lank and crossed the river, once the bridgehead had been established I had to continually be expended. There was one very heavy combined tank-infantry counterattack that came close to pushing us back but I didn’t. While things were tough and go for a short while the lines held all around the perimeter and then the expansion began. This meant more fun and games for White who now sort of attached himself to the I&R platoon of the Regiment and sortied out with them. German resistance had completely broken and on occasion White would again take off by himself more or less maintaining a heading towards Berlin. Imagine his surprise to suddenly meet up with some Russians. To celebrate, he took a Russian Major and a Captain back to Regimental Hq’s to properly celebrate the occasion. Sometime later the Captain and Major were poured into a vehicle and White took them back where he met them.
On V.E. Day all American units were pulled back across the Elbe River and the Russians moved in to take over the area that we had fought so hard for. Regt Hq’s was established at Seesen, and the 1st Bn was moved to Gandersheim, about fifteen or twenty miles away. The other two Bn’s were also established in towns in the near vicinity.
On 10 June, 1945 White received what he claimed to be the best set of orders he ever had. The orders relieved him from assignment to the 83rd Div and assigned him to Assembly Area Command at Rheims, France, "on the 10th of June or as soon thereafter as practicable." As gov’t transportation was authorized he was loaned a jeep and driver from Hq’s Company and appropriated a German trailer that had been captured by one of the companies and not turned in yet. This was loaded with cases of Cognac, Benedictine, Cointreau, Schnapps, and some German Gin. The back of the jeep contained duffle bags, bedding rolls, and souvenirs including a number of German Scheutzen sporting rifles along with some other types. They headed first for Liege where they spent a few days with the 16th General Hospital where White was acquainted with most of the staff. They then left Liege for Brussels and after three days there headed for Rheims where White reported to Hqs, AAC with the remark, "Sir! Major White reporting for duty. This is as early as it was practicable for me to get here." He was then assigned to the Suippes Sub-area, AAC as Asst. S-3. The object of the unit was to redeploy troops and units from the European Theater to the States or to the C.B.I. As the Commanding General of the AAC had given orders that no time was to be spent in training but maximum time spent on rest and recreation for the troops prior to redeployment there was nothing for White to do. This situation lasted for about two weeks when White saw in the Stars and Stripes that the 87th Inf. Div. had arrived in the AAC to be redeployed to the C.B.I. and the Commanding General was Major General Frank L. Culin, Jr. General Culin, as a Colonel, had commanded the 32nd Inf at Fort Ord and had sent White to Officers Candidate School in Feb, 1942. As a result White drove out to pay his respects to the General and the next day was reporting in for duty and assigned to the 347th Inf. Arriving back in the States on Friday the 13th, the men scattered. Some were being separated due to points, etc. while the rest were given 30 days leave with orders to report to Fort Benning where the Division would be reorganized, equipped and then be on its way again. White spent the thirty days with friends in Washington and qualified for five battle stars during this time. The first occurred a couple of days after his return when he went to Baltimore early in the afternoon to attend to some business. He said that he would be back in Washington at 2000 that evening. He didn’t make it. At about 2300 a cab pulled up in front of the house, White fell out of it and managed to make it up the steps and ring the doorbell. When the door was opened and he managed to waver inside he was a sad looking sight. His collar insignia of infantry crossed rifles and Major’s leaf was missing as well as his combat infantry badge and all of his ribbons. In addition his knuckles were split and bleeding. His friends looked at him and then one of them simply said, "Well, what did he say?" It seems that about the middle of the afternoon White had stopped into a friendly sort of bar (he thought). While the bar proper was fairly long there were only two people standing at it drinking and they were both G.I.’s. The tables were filled with civilians. The two G.I.’s sighted in on him, saw his Combat Infantry Badge and ribbons and invited him to have a drink with them. Seeing the same Badge on them White accepted and treated in turn. During their conversation he found that both of them were on pass form Walter Reed Hospital. One of them had been in hospital for over a year with a leg wound. He was just getting to the point where he could put his weight on it and this was his first pass. While they were talking the door to the bar flew open and a civilian cam in practically on the run and headed for the bar, primarily for the small group. He barged through them hitting the man with the bum leg with his shoulder and almost knocking him to the floor. He would have if White hadn’t caught him and eased his back to the bar. White then turned to the civilian and said, "There’s plenty of sea room around here, chum. It isn’t necessary to go barging into people." The civilian turned around looked all three up and down and then said, "I’m getting damned tired of seeing you people around here." White never did know why but he reached up to his collar and removed his collar insignia and laid them on the bar. He then removed his Combat Infantry Badge and ribbons and placed them on the bar alongside the insignia. He then reached out with his left hand catching the civilian by the shoulder and turning him as he clipped him with his right. The whole thing would have been over then but when White returned from Europe he was weighing only about 140 pounds, and didn’t have the weight to put behind it. The civilian got back off of the floor and outweighing White by some forty of fifty pounds started in on him. White kept the bar behind his back, fully expecting to be pulling other civilians off of his shoulders. He said that he first started using the book and then threw the book out of the window and went for broke. It ended with the civilian stretched out on the floor for inspection and then White looked around. Not a civilian had stirred from their tables and the two G.I.’s were standing against the bar with a bottle in each hand daring anyone to get into it. "That’s the Major’s fight and no one interferes." The three of them then took off together and proceeded to really put one on leaving the insignia and ribbons on the bar. That happened five times during the thirty days ‘Rest and Recreation’ White spent in Washington.
White reported in to Camp Meade at the end of his thirty days for transportation to Fort Benning only to find that orders had been changed and he was granted a few more days of leave. It seems that a bomb of some kind had been dropped on Japan followed a few days later by another and terms for the surrender of Japan were being drawn up. White was sitting in the living room of the house in Georgetown playing cribbage when suddenly whistles started blowing, horns honking and people were running out into the streets hollering "The war is over, The war is over." Instead of following them White turned to his friend and said, "Is there a church nearby?" He was taken to Georgetown University where he entered the University Chapel and dropping to his knees at the rail in front of the pulpit gave thanks to God that he would not have to once more lead a battalion into combat for a landing on the shore of the Japanese homeland.
Due to the change in events, plans were changed, the 87th Division was inactivated and White was reassigned to the 5th Division at Camp Campbell, Kentucky where he was assigned to the 2nd Inf. Regt. He remained with the Regt until June of 1946 when he received orders overseas to Japan and ended up at Gifu, as Bn. C.O. of the 2nd Bn., 27th (Wolfhound) Regt, 25th Division. That sounds mighty big but though he had a full battalions zone of responsibility, and a full battalions equipment including vehicles, his battalion consisted of one other officer and sixteen men. Shortly after, his heavy weapons company was designated to be a heavy weapons company for a 1st Corps combat team and was increased to four officers and 96 men. To show you the status of training of the men, there wasn’t an officer or man who knew anything about heavy machine guns or 81 mortars and his mortar platoon leader had some small experience with 60 mm mortars. White gave most of the machine gun instruction himself and the night before the company was due to go in the field for field firing, White was in the supply room with the quad leaders and gunners teaching them how to pack the machine gun barrels. He packed most of them himself.
A clash of personalities between White and the Regt’l Ex 0 led to White receiving orders to appear before a Board of Officers to determine whether he should be returned to the States for separation from the service. The President of the Board was Brig. General Everett E. Brown, the Assistant Division Commander. The results of the Board were: White was transferred to the 35th Inf. Under Col. William Means, the Regimental Commander was relieved of his command, and the Executive Officer was removed as Exec and placed in command of a battalion. White served with the 35th (Cactus) Regt. As Engineer Officer, B&U Officer, and as Bn Exec Officer with the 2nd Bn. In November, 1947 he was placed on ninety days TDY as Control Officer of a Foreign Trade Hotel in Osaka as Japan was being opened to foreign trade. At the end of that time he was assigned to command the 25th Div. Specialist School at Shinodayama. In the summer of 1948 White had a chance to return to shooting again and was a member of the 25th Div. Rifle Team to shoot in the Far Eastern Command Rifle Matches. He placed 4th overall in the Individual Championship and the odd part was that the three who were ahead of him were Marines that he had shot with when he was in the Corps. All three were Distinguished so that White ended as high non-distinguished shooter in the Matches and received his Excellence in Competition Badge from the Army.
While at Shindoyama he trained and coached a small bore team that won both the 25th Division and I Corps Rifle Matches. In addition he won nine individual gold medals making a grand sweep of the individual phases.
July was an unhappy month. His oldest son, who was with him in Japan, became severely injured by electrical burns and was evacuated to Letterman Hospital, San Francisco. White followed shortly after with a thirty day emergency leave and permanent change of station. White’s son ended with his right hand being amputated above the wrist and White was ordered to Fort Ord, California so that he could be near the hospital. He was first assigned as S-3 to the 4th Div. Artillery. This wasn’t quite what it sounds like as the 4th Div. was merely a basic infantry training unit and the Div. Arty Consisted of the specialist schools: Clerks, Motor mechanics, Leadership School, and Cooks and Bakers. Except for a week or so when he was in command of over 1,500 men fighting three major forest fires at the same time things were rather much routine. In June he was assigned TDY to the Marine Corps Troop Training Unit at the Naval Amphibious Base at Coronado, California. There were a number of other officers from the Div. with them and they were first given a special training course and then inducted as augmentation instructors to the TTU to go to Fort Lewis, Wa and train the 2nd Div. (Army) for an amphibious landing on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. After the training they reverted to Umpire Group for Operation MIKI and proceeded to Hawaii where they were billeted at Schofield Barracks while for three weeks they did nothing but continuously travel over the area to be used for the maneuvers.
Everything was fine until the morning of the landing. Until then there had not been more than a two foot surf on any of the proposed landing beaches. White was Beach Control Officer for Yellow Beach which was to be the main beach for the landing. When the UDT swimmers came in the surf had increased to three of four feet and by the time the first wave of LCVP’s came in it had increased to eight or nine. After the fourth wave landed (if you could call it that) White proceeded to stop the landing on his beach and wave off all succeeding waves. He had nearly twenty LCVP’s broached on the beach and a number of men on their way to Tripler Hospital. He said that he couldn’t see any sense in getting anyone killed just so that the Navy could play games and he refused to allow any more landing craft come in to his beach.
Back to the States and the general uncertainty of the time. The Secretary of Defense Johnson was releasing officers from active duty without nay rhyme or reason. There was no system to it and the only way an officer could tell was if he received what was unpopular called a Dear John letter telling him that he was through. You can well imagine the morale among the officers. To show the foolishness of the system, one officer had his category approved for another three year tour, was promoted from Captain to Major and bounced out of the service all within a period of thirty days. Another stupid happening was during the Christmas period. Word got out that some thirty letter had been received by Division but that they didn’t want to spoil anyone’s Christmas so that the letters would not be delivered until after Christmas. As a result every officers Christmas was spoiled by thinking, ‘Is one of those letters for me?’ This is the way it has been for the military after every war thanks generally to the stupidity and cubity of our supposed leaders, members of Congress.
January, 1948 found White on a new type venture. He was placed on TDY (temporary duty) with an augmentation instruction team for Army Reserve officers throughout the 6th Army area. The team traveled in Army vans and traveled through Central Nevada, California, Arizona, the southern part of Nevada and back into California to the Presidio at San Francisco where their trip ended. The team would put on their instruction at various cities and towns which were more or less the hub of centralized areas. After the team was disbanded White returned to Ford Ord and was assigned to the Eight Infantry as a Bn. Exec.
After hostilities began in Korea various junior officers in het Division began receiving orders overseas to Japan for further assignment to combat units. For several days a number of them came by to say goodby to White and to tell him how sorry they felt about the poor ‘old has-beens’ who had to stay back. White took it for about a week until one officer who shot on the rifle team with him came by and that was the last straw. White's answer was "To Hell with it. I’ll beat you over there." The officers who were leaving were being given delay en route. White submitted a request for immediate transfer without delay, the orders were approved and shortly after White was on his way by air to Haneda Airport, Japan. He then reported to the 8th Replacement Depot at Zama for further orders. White found that a friend of his, Colonel Horace Townsend was in GHQ, Tokyo and contacted him by phone. The following morning he was on his way to GHQ where he met Horace who turned out to be officer Assignment Officer for GHQ. Horace took White to meet Colonel Louis Ely and Lt. Col. Volksman for an interview. He was told that they were restricted as to what they could tell him as the orders for their unit were 'Top Secret', but that they were or the organization of a unit that would be for what might be considered as 'interesting'. White was offered the job as S-3 (Operations Officer) for the unit and accepted. He was then shown a copy of General Order no. 10, United Nations Command, which called for the activation of a unit which was to be called ‘Special Activities Group’ and which was to work directly under United Nations Command orders to conduct amphibious raiding type operations against the North Koreans. The unit was to be comprised of an American Hqs and Hqs Company, American First Raider Company (comprised of volunteers from GHQ and already conducting training and operations), the British 41 Royal Marines Commando, and the Korean Special Attack Battalion comprised of a very small Hqs and three companies of 100 men each. These men had been selected from over 1500 volunteers and were practically all experienced NCO’s and even some officers who had taken a bust to enlisted status in order to join. Camp McGill, Japan was designated as home base for the unit and the ROK troops were to be trained in raiding operations there while the Raider Company and the Commando were conducting actual operations.
White first went to McGill to check the facilities and met the commander of the Commando, Lt. Col. Drysdale. He then was sent back to the 8th Replacement Depot to screen replacement officers arriving and select volunteers for the other vacancies in Hqs and for Hqs Company. He was doing this when some very astonished junior officers arrived from the States and reported to him for interview. Whit a grin, White’s opening remarks were "I told you that I would beat you over."
McGill continued as home base for the unit until November when with the run of the 7th Division to the Yalu there was no more coast line on the east coast to raid. The group was ordered to join X Corps and was placed under general Almond, Tent Corps Commander. The Commando was taken away from them and assigned for duty with the US Marine Division and the balance of the Group were supposed to conduct anti-guerilla operations. Instead they found themselves manning the Outpost Line for the 32nd Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division and conducting patrol activities. Whit the Intervention of the Chinese and the ‘advance to the sea’ of the Marine Division from the Chosin Reservoir the decision to evacuate the Hugnam perimeter. SAG was flow out to Pusan to conduct anti-guerilla activities and clear the area that Xth Corps would to be moving into. The biggest operation here was the attack on guerilla positions located on top of a mountain named Sin-Bul-San. White took two companies of the ROK’s and the mortar section of the raider company weapons platoon for the job. It involved a motor move to the base of the mountain; then a climb of over 1599meters to the top of the mountain where the mortars were placed in position while White took the companies along a ridge line that was in the shape of a horseshoe with the mortar section at one end of the shoe and the guerilla positions were across a very deep draw on the other end across from the mortars. It took until 1000 the following morning to complete the movement of the companies to their line of departure which was at the base of the opposite side of the horseshoe. Just as they were moving into position a 20mm gun started firing and some rifle fire also was directed at the ROK’s. While trying to form a skirmish line and move down along the ridge one of the company commanders was killed and there was some confusion as he was one of the few who could speak English. There was a well-defined path along the top of the ridge and until moved off to the right of the path and started towards the guerilla position. One of the America Lt's who was acting as an advisor to the ROK's asked him where he was going. He answered that "someone was going to have to get that 20mm knocked out and it looked as though it might as well me." His action was all that was needed to get the ROK’s moving forward astraddle of the ridge. Utilizing fire and movement they steadily moved towards their objective and after an advance of some 300 yards captured the first of the enemy positions consisting of a series of shallow trench lines and firing positions. White then signaled a group of ROK’s to go with him and he led them around the left flank of the strongpoint. With his men throwing grenades to him and he in turn throwing them into the enemy positions they were able to gradually move up the steep side to the crest and overrun that point. It was about 1700 then and White received word to recall his men so that they would be able to get down the mountain top before dark. This was a laugh as it was after midnight before with White still leading them they stumbled out onto the road from which they had departed at 2100 the night before. During this action White had the aerial of a 300 radio which he was carrying shot off, his cap was shot off of his head, he found six bullet holes in his parka, and still didn't have a scratch.
The day following their return to base camp White, who now had been assigned as Military Advisor to the Special Attack Battalion (ROK) received orders to move with one company and report to Hqs of the 2nd Inf Div. This was located at a town called Wonju and after reporting in he was then to move across a mountain range to the town of Yeoju on the opposition side of the Han river. He was then to recross the river and establish a bas position after which he had the following instructions: maintain contact between the 2nd Division Headquarters and whatever unit was at Yeoju; patrol all roads and trails leading north of the road connecting the two for a distance of five miles; establish an air strip that could be used by General Almond, Xth Corps Commander; and in his spare time round up all ROK stragglers that they might find. Moving by motor the unit arrived finally at 2nd Div. Hqs. At about 2300 that night. Reporting there he found that Division did not know what unit might be at Yeoju but he was to move out right away to establish contact. Although it was only about thirty miles, due to road conditions it was  nearly 0600 before he arrived at Yeoju and found Colonel Barney and the tank Battalion of the 2nd Division located there. He then moved back across the river and after unloading the trucks an d dismissing them began to establish his own base. Late in the afternoon the Ass’t S-2 (Intelligence Officer) of SAG arrived with instructions to “Get the Hell out of there the fast way that you can. You have three Chinese Divisions coming in on you.” With no vehicles other than three jeeps, White made arrangements to move his men out with the 2nd Division Thanks which were already to move. He himself remained behind with two American officers and three ROK’s to destroy what supplies could not be taken out with them and then he re-crossed the Han river to Yeoju being the last man across before the bridge was blown by the Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG) Engineers. Colonel Barney’s tanks were long gone and the 2nd Korean Division was clogging the one roadway that led south. It was slow going and took until 040 before White arrived back at SAG Hqs. and reported in. He found that his men had made it back alright and then ‘hit the sack only to be awakened an hour later and told move to the Special Attack Battalion out by foot as there were no trucks for a motor movement. Late the second night the Battalion moved into the designated assembly area for the Group.
Incidentally, after their fly out from Hungnam a Second Raider Company had been formed with part Korean and part American volunteers.
There was apparently no rest for the wicked as before hardly having time to settle in White was given orders to move the Special Attack Battalion to a place called Changto and there set up a blocking position to block any enemy movement that might come down that valley. According to Intelligence it would not be able take vehicles all the way as there was no road connecting with Changto. As a result he would be move by motor to another town, where he would establish an entrucking point which would have a platoon of the 1st Raider Company for security, and he would then move by foot over the range of hills along a bullock track to his objective which would mean a hike of about fifteen miles.
It was dark by the time they arrived at the point where they were to leave the vehicles so the unit was moved into a perimeter defense in a school yard. The following morning found White ‘riding shotgun’ for a bullock cart loaded with supplies. His ROK’s had rounded up several bullocks and carts and this enabled him to take all of their supplies with them. Consequently he dismissed the Raider platoon and started the hike for Changto walking along beside a cart with a Winchester 12 gauge shotgun tucked under his arm. He had managed to obtain 25 of these pump type shotguns for the unit before leaving Japan. When he was getting them someone asked him if he was figuring on doing some pheasant hunting in Korea. His replay was, “Pheasant or peasant, I don’t give a damn which, but I’m using double ought shot.”
They reached the crest of the ridge line after about four hours of hiking and could see the town about five miles up the valley to their right. Also, they saw what looked like a perfectly good road running down the valley from the town. Sure enough. Another mile and a half found them with a good roadway leading directly to Changto. After hiking nearly a mile along the road White heard a motor vehicle coming up from behind them. Looking back he saw a jeep passing the colum and as it came abreast of him he saw it contained the Ass’t S-2 (Intelligence) who had told him that there was no roadnet into Changto and that they would have to hike after detrucking. The air was kind of blue for a while and it had suddenly grown nearly warm enough to melt the snow in his immediate vicinity.
As he hiked into the town he found that the town was divided into two sections by a dry stream bed. On the near side was a large school yard which was big enough to move the entire unit into and besides had two sides protected by stone walls while the other two sides were protected by dirt banks about four feet high. As it was dusk he moved the unit into the yard and gave instructions to set up a perimeter and that they would spend the night there and he would start initial reconnaissance of the area for final positions. As they had approached the town White had noticed a structure on high ground on the far side of the town that looked exactly like an old castle fortress from the medieval ages with crenelated walls and a round turret type tower on each corner. The valley road that they had walked in on had come into the town from the south. As he started his recon he found the road passing through the town, crossing the dry stream bed on a very capable bridge and then deadending into another road that ran roughly east and west. This road ran alongside an almost vertical bank of some thirty feet in height there standing at the top was the castle strong point. Furthermore, looking to his left from the road junction he saw another located at the base of the vertical bank and covering all approaches from the southeast to the northwest and setting on the road beside the second castle was an old American World War II 37mm antitank gun. White found out that these structures were South Korean police block houses and both were manned by about thirty police. Through Lt Moriarity, who had attended the Army Language School at the Presidio of Monterey and spoke fluent Korean, White explained his situation to the local police chief who immediately made him very welcome and took him on a tour of the two block houses. The walls of both houses were made of stone and concrete and were minimum of eight feet thick for a height of about fifteen feet. The crenelated portion of the wall ran on up another five feet and was about four feet thick allowing a four foot passage all around the inside of the wall. Each of the corner towers had a machine gun emplaced so that it could cover an arc of approximately 270 degrees. One tower had a World War I Russian heavy machine gun which was still mounted on small wheels. Another had an American heavy Browning machine gun while another had an American Light Browning. There were no two guns alike and yet there seemed to be a good supply of ammunition for each one. In addition there was a quantity of 37mm antitank ammo and though they had no mortars they had nearly 300 rounds of Japanese 80 mm mortar ammo.
The following morning White took each company commander and American advisor around the area showing each the entire perimeter that would be established, each companies area of responsibility, positions for each Browning Automatic Rifle so that the entire perimeter was covered by overlapping sectors of fire from the automatic weapons.
As the battalion was moving out of the schoolyard to its new positions a motor column was seen coming up the road from the south and it turned out to be the 1ste Raider Company which had been sent in as additional support for the block. It was moved into the schoolyard and a separate perimeter was established for it.
After seeing the Raider Company settling White then returned to the upper perimeter and began to check it. The work of digging in was entirely unsatisfactory to him and he informed Major PEI, the Battalion Commander, that no man would get any rations until his position passed his own personal inspection. That was one thing he had on the ROK’s. He had control of all of the rations.
By the time things were to his satisfaction it was getting dark and he realized  that the mortars of the Raider Company Weapons Platoon had not been sighted in yet. White got Master Sgt Charlie Straughn, who was the weapons platoon leader, and told him to bring a radio from his platoon and to have a telephone line run from their position to the upper perimeter where White was going to be on the wall of the upper blockhouse. This was the key location to their entire position. From it fire would be brought to bear to cover any point of the compass and if it fell to the enemy the entire position would be lost. With the two perimeters separated by the dry stream bed each one was in close support of the other. From the school yard the Raider Company could cover the entire front of both perimeters by mortar fire and from the upper perimeter the ROK's could cover equally with rifle and automatic weapons fire from their BAR's.
White and Straughn went up onto the wall of the upper blockhouse. Directly to the North was a long ridge line about three hundred yards from the ROK positions. In the center of the ridge was that dear old Fort Benning reference point 'one lone three'. With an azimuth bearing from mortar position to tree and an estimated range with an extra hundred yards thrown on for good measure, White had a mortar fire one round of White Phosphorus. With the round exploding beyond the tree it was silhouetted against the burst of the shell. White dropped the range fifty yards and called for one more round. Again he had an over. One more drop in elevation and the explosion of the shell was practically on the tree. White then gave orders to put out base stakes with base point being the tree. He then instructed the gunners to set out stakes so that they would be able to fire 360 degrees.
White kept the radio and telephone on the wall with him and told Straughn to set up a radio watch for the night and to have the men get as much rest as possible. He wanted to radio check every thirty minutes and to have the guns ready to throw out two rounds of illuminating shell immediately if any shooting started and then for all hands to stand by for a fire mission. He, himself, remained on the wall for the entire night receiving his radio check every thirty minutes. He was also checking with his ROK company commanders to be sure that they were ready for eventuality. At 0500 he saw a green rocket soar into the sky to the north of their position. The man on radio watch was on the radio immediately and asking if he should get the men up yet. White said no but as soon as any shooting started he wanted that illuminating shell on the way and all hands ready standing by. At 0530 a second green flare was seen, the shooting started, the two rounds of illuminating shell was bursting in the air and White gave the shortest and fastest fire mission he had ever given. It was simply "Base point, H.E., Fire for effect." Every mortar was firing and in the illumination you could see the North Koreans charging over the ridge line and into a veritable storm of mortar fire.
When the first attack failed, probing attacks were made around the perimeters seeking some soft spot where they could drive a wedge but there weren’t any. At about 0900 with things easing up a bit White remembered that Capt. Lou Donahue, commander of the Raider Company, had brought a kitchen truck with his unit and the night before had extended an invitation for a hot breakfast of hot cakes. White loaded some medics and radio operators into a jeep and they made a run across the bridge and into Raider Company perimeter. When he walked into the schoolhouse that Lou was using for a C.P. Lou looked at him astonished and said "What are you doing down here?". White looked at him and said "God damn it, Lou. You invited me down for a hot breakfast last night and I’m here for those hot cakes." He got them. After eating while talking the situation over with Lou the operator of their jeep mounted radio was carried in with a rifle bullet through his thigh. The boy was definitely in shock and while he was being treated White told the men he had with him to take the jeep back to the upper perimeter and send some more men down for breakfast. He also told them to have whoever was coming to look in his, White’s, duffle and bring down the bottle of whiskey that was in there. Shortly after the jeep returned and the whiskey was given to him. Going over to the litter where the radio operator lay still in shock, and holding his hand with the bottle behind his back, White asked the boy if he would like a drink of Class Six Supply. That is the name that was given to all liquor. The boy looked at him though he thought the old man had cracked up for sure asking him if he would like a drink right in the middle of a fire fight. White then brought out his hand with the bottle in it. You should have seen that man come out of shock in a hurry as he nodded his head 'yes'. White supported the boy by the shoulders to raise him up and put the bottle to his lips. After a swallow, when asked if he would care for one more he said yes and White gave that to him. He then walked over to an open window that looked out into the back of the school yard where the mortar positions were and call to Sgt. Straughn. When he came over White gave him the bottle and told him to pass it around among the gun crews. Every man took one drink and no more and the bottle came back still with some whiskey in it. White then passed it around to the personnel in the C.P. When the bottle came back to him empty, White said, "Do you know? That has been the best bottle of whiskey I have ever had and I never even got a drink out of it." As some other wounded were brought by Lou began to get a bit worried about the situation and suggested that they make a run for it down the valley. White looked at him and quietly said, "Lou! When I was given my orders I was told to come to Changto and set up a block to block any movement down the valley. There was nothing in my orders telling me to pull out if the situation got sticky and I intend to stay here until they have had enough." He then wrote a message to be sent to SAG Hq’s requesting aerial resupply to include an ammunition drop, air support, and aerial evacuation of his wounded. Unfortunately a message was coming in that had to be decoded before the operator could begin to encode his message and it took nearly an hour. White nearly blew his top when he got the message that had this so important message that had delayed the encoding and sending of his request was from the stupid intelligence officer at Hq’s giving him detailed instructions as to how to use the South Korean Agents that White had with him as though he had never had anything to do with that sort of affair before and was having to start out with his first kindergarten lessons. On top of everything else, due to the delay caused by the stupid message the radio went out before a roger had been received and no one knew whether the message had been received or not.
White returned to the upper perimeter and looking over his defensive positions decided that something was lacking. There was no flag flying. They did not have an American flag as they were an United Nations unit but in White’s duffle bag was the U.N. flag that had first been raised in the ceremony at Camp McGill and that had been given to him by Colonel Ely when he left for Korea. Going to the lower blockhouse where his gear was he dug into his duffle bag and brought out the flag. He then returned to the upper block house, got a pole, tied the flag to one end and then climbed up on top of the wall and lashed the pole in place to one of the crenalations. For the first and only time the United Nations flag was flying over United Nations troops while they were actively engaged in combat against the Communists. It is too bad that a picture could not have been taken of that flag flying and presented to the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations in front of all the members. He didn’t know it but that flag was to play a very important part later in the day and probably saved a lot of lives of his men. Late in the afternoon, with the North Koreans still trying to make a break into one or other of the two perimeters and being thrown back at every attempt, White was standing on the wall of the upper perimeter when he saw a flight of Navy, or Marine Corsairs coming over and beginning to circle their position. While watching he saw one of the planes break out of the circle and come down apparently in a recognition pass. There were only two air-ground identification with them and White had one of them spread out in each perimeter. There weren’t enough panels to identify by the code of the day bit wouldn’t have made any difference because no one knew what the code of the day was anyway. White watched the plane come down and sweep over their positions and then climb back up and rejoin the circle. Suddenly a plane broke out of the circle and started down again. This time White realized that this was not a friendly recognition pass but that it was starting a firing run. He jumped on top of the wall, tore the flag pole from its lashings and began waving it frantically from side to side. At the last minute, just as he was coming into firing range the pilot apparently made a fast identification, waggled his wings and zoomed over the top of the block house and opened up on the North Koreans who were on the other side of the North ridge.
Not long after this a helicopter came over and landed in the Raider perimeter. White was called and notified that it was an evacuation helicopter and was to evacuate some wounded. With the plastic ball type choppers that were in use then only two casualties could be evacuated at a time with one lying on a stretcher on either side of the chopper. (See M.A.S.H.) White told them to go ahead and load the two worst cases aboard and get them out. He was also informed that there was a medical officer with the pilot. It was later confirmed that he had merely come along for the ride not knowing what he was getting into. Two patients were placed in the litters and fifteen minutes later the chopper was still in the school yard. White called down to find out what the reason was that they hadn’t left and was told that the pilot couldn’t get the motor started due to a weak battery or some other stupid excuse. White then told them to get the two patients off the chopper and back under cover as the chopper and back under cover as the chopper was beginning to draw additional rifle and mortar fire. When asked what should be done with the pilot and the doctor, White nearly blew his head off and said to give each of them an M-1 rifle and stick them out in fox holes where they might be able to do some good, although he doubted it very much. This did not happen however and the two spent the night in the Raider C.P. keeping themselves warm by an old fashioned pot bellied stove.
The probing attacks continued throughout the night and a few succeeded in breaking through the outer perimeter and their bodies were seen lying in the snow the next morning. That was far as they got.
With the coming of morning heavy firing was heard coming from the south end of the valley. The jeep mounted radio for the Group net was still out of commission when for some reason White turned on an SCR 300 and listened on the receiver. Suddenly he started and turned to 'Mo' and told him, "It’s the Second Raider Company coming up the valley. The 300 was on the same channel being used by the Company and White could hear the company commander talking to one of his platoon leaders and giving him orders for him to clear a ridge with his platoon. By 0900 the firing was getting much closer and Rok's were manning the walls of both blockhouses and cheering like mad. Out in the distance on both sides North Koreans could be seen pulling out on the run. White established his reputation with his ROK’s when he saw three North Koreans running in column at a distance at approximately nine hundred yards. Taking an M-1 from one of the men he set his sights for slightly over 900 yards, adjusted the sling on his arm, aimed, and fired. The second one in the group dropped. That was enough. White took off the sling and handed the rifle to someone else and told him to get one.
From the radio conservations that were going on White knew that it would not be long before the elements of the 2nd Raiders would come in sight and soon arrived in the Raider perimeter. He turned to Moriarity and said that he was going to walk down the lower perimeter to meet them as they arrived and asked Mo if he wanted to come along. It looked as though it was all over as the North Koreans were running away in plain sight of the men in the perimeter. Tucking his shotgun under his arm White started down the road toward the Raider perimeter. 'Mo' went along but stayed over on the side of the road. Just before reaching the bridge, as White later described it, “It felt as though someone had hit me in the chest with a sledge hammer. I can remember hearing myself sort of grunt and my left hand slapping up against my chest. The next thing I knew my nose was in the dirt and I was lying in the road face down. There was no pain but right arm felt as though it had been broken. I remained as still as possible because I was afraid that the joker who had shot me might put a couple of more slugs in me as I lay there and I wanted him to think that his first shot had done the job. I heard 'Mo' say that he was going out after me and I tried to call to him to stay where he was because I was sure that if he tried to get to me I would have had it. I don’t know how long after it was, it couldn’t have been more than a very few minutes though in those kind of situations time goes by awfully slowly, ‘Mo’ made a run to me and dropped down beside me. He took hold of my right arm and attempted to drag me of the road. That is when things really began to hurt and I remember telling him that my arm was broken. I didn’t tell him but I was fully aware that he was staying on my right side and that I was between him and the direction the shot had come from.”
One of the ROK's jumped over the wall along the ROK side of the stream bed and ran out into the road and helped 'Mo' carry White back into the ROK perimeter where they laid him on the floor of a nearby house. The ROK stayed with him while 'Mo' went to get a medic and some other help. As White lay there on the floor a rifle bullet came through one side of the house, passed directly over him, missing him by only a few inches, and went out the other side of the house.
When ‘Mo’ returned he had several ROK's and a litter. They placed White on it and six of them then picked it up, three on each side, carried him to the wall beside the stream be where they lifted him over and then made it on the run across the open area to the wall along the Raider side. Here they lifted the litter up and over the wall where it was taken by several of the Raiders who ran with it across the open school yard to the C.P. White remained conscious all the time until they had him inside the building and then passed out. When he came to, Lt Col Hanes, who was commanding the SAG then, was standing beside the litter. Looking up at him the usual big grin came on White’s face and he said “It is good to see you, sir. We've been ‘racking and stacking’ for a really good tea party.” Wally (Lt Col Wally Hanes) told him that they certainly had been. He also said that the message that had been sent by White the day before was received but was badly garbled but that they had made out the part requesting air evac and placed a request to the nearest chopper evac unit. The damned fools didn’t have enough sense to realize when the one chopper didn’t come back and they received no word from the pilot that something was wrong. Word of the fight did get to him from the Corsair flight and he decided to come on up with the 2nd Raider Company and managed to ‘acquire’ a couple of 'quad fifties' to bring along with him. He said that it was a good thing for they wouldn’t have been able to make it up the valley with just the company fire power.
The SAG doctor, who had come in with the relief unit was puzzled when he checked White. There was one small hole in his chest between the 2nd and 3rd rib and another small hole in the back of upper portion of his right arm. The holes didn’t match up and it looked as though he had been hit twice but they knew that there had only been the one shot. The 'doc' put what amounted to a band aid over each hole and he was ready for evacuation. Col Hanes had used his radio and called for helicopter evac and several choppers were dispatched for the job. White was evacuated to what probably was the equivalent to a M.A.S.H. (He didn't find out for a long time that Lt Col Hanes, when filling out an efficiency report for White’s tour of duty had included in the remarks "a soldiers soldier. He leads by example.")
At the hospital the doctors were able to reconstruct what had happened to him. The final diagnosis was that the bullet had entered his chest between the 2nd and 3rd ribs angling down through the lung so that it hit and broke the 5th rib in back. Instead of going on through or being deflected downward further it changed direction and turned up hitting his shoulder, ricocheting off of that to his the bone in the upper arm and being deflected again to emerge out of the back of his arm. It had taken a sort of Cook's tour.
White was kept in the hospital there for a few days until they had a hospital train load to go out. He was then loaded into an ambulance and taken down to be putt on the train. Because of the lung having been pierced it was impossible for him to be able to lie flat and he had to have support raising him up from the waist. When the nurse in charge of the hospital car in which he was being loaded saw his condition she refused to allow them to put him in because she was afraid that with the lung situation it might be necessary to administer oxygen and they have any on the train. As a result he was taken back to the hospital where he remained for several more days before he was finally flown out by helicopter to the nearest air base for air evac to Osaka, Japan, where he admitted to the Osaka Army Hospital. The main happening here, as far as White was concerned, was that when he was being brought in (he had been given a morphine shot just before the plane landed and he was pretty groggy as he was being wheeled into the hospital) to the hospital he was asked if he had any valuables he wanted to turn in for safe keeping. He had over $450 in his bill fold but for some reason told the person asking to deposit about $200. His billfold was lying on his chest as he had counting his money shortly before landing. The man took his billfold and shortly after put I back on his chest with a receipt for $200. He was then taken on in to the hospital and placed in a bed in a single room. His billfold was put in the drawer of the hospital type stand beside his bed and his parka, armor force type pants and jacket, which had been used to roll up and placed under his shoulders to keep his chest and head raised on the litter, were taken away supposedly to be placed in the supply room for him. Several days later he wanted some money to buy a newspaper and when he got his billfold from the stand instead of some $250 still in it there was only about $5 and a receipt for $200. He had been clipped but good.
Shortly after he was transferred to the Tokyo Army Hospital and found out that his parka and other items of overclothing were not in the store room for him but White didn’t even have his dog tags as they had been left hanging on the head of his bed. To make matters even worse, sometime after arriving at the Tokyo Hospital he was told that all of his records had arrived except his pay card. The only thing that he had beside his billfold was a Special Order from the Osaka Army Hospital awarding him his Ninth Oak Leaf Cluster to his Purple Heart. He didn’t have this for long. Col Townsend came to see him shortly after his arrival and when White showed him the copy of the Order he asked to borrow it. Horace had been trying to get GHQ to stop sending men back into combat who had been wounded at least three of four time. The General he was trying to convince had laughed at him and maintained that no one had that many. Horace wanted to show him my Order because it contained several paragraphs covering awards of the Purple Heart and of Oak Leaf Clusters to a number of men. The 1st para was for the award of the Purple Heart; 2nd para was for the award of the 1st Cluster to the Heart; 3rd para awarded the 2nd cluster; 4th para was for the 3rd cluster; 5th para jumped to 5th cluster and then the 6th para jumped to 'Award of Ninth Oak Leaf Cluster to the Purple Heart' and under that heading was 'Major William G. White, 0-1284255. He took it and that was the last White saw of that. For the first time in his military service he had been given only one copy of an order pertaining to him. He didn’t know it at the time but much later it would have saved him a lot of trouble if he had additional copies.
A few days after his arrival a cart was wheeled into the room and a couple of doctors came in and he was told that it would be necessary check his chest for fluid. White sat up on the side of his bed, took off his pajama jacket, and his side was painted with mercurochrome. A small needle was pushed in between the ribs into his chest cavity and then pulled out. A larger needle attached to a syringe was then pushed in through the same hole and probed around. They hit oil immediately and over 1,500 ec’s of fluid was drawn out of his chest. The next day when the cart was pushed into the room again White automatically sat on the side of his bed bared to the waist and after the mercurochrome had been applied he even held the drain pan for them while they pumped more fluid out. This continued for over two weeks and he had fluid drawn off about fifteen or sixteen times. It was sometime in March before he was finally considered ready for further evac to the States. He had a three day layover in Tripler Army Hospital in Hawaii where his chest was tapped again and finally arrived at Travis Air Force Base in Calif. He was supposed to be sent on from there to Fitzsimmons Army where all chest patients were treated but a phone call changed the orders and he was taken by ambulance to Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco. He remained here until June when he was given orders for thirty days sick leave and reassignment to Ranger Training Command, Ford Benning. Once more all of his records had arrived except his pay data but he was told at Letterman that it would be at Benning when he got there. When he arrived there and went to see about at least a partial pay, he hadn’t been paid since the end of November while in the Hangnam, he found out that not only his pay data card had been lost but also his master card at Army Records had also been lost.
There is a bit of humor in White’s assignment as when he graduated form Officer Candidate School he applied for Airborne. They looked at him and said, "Thirty one years old and a Second Lieutenant? You’re too damned old for us." When he got to England in 1944 he heard that the Rangers were hunting for field grade officers so he applied for that only to hear, "thirty three and a Major? You’re too damned old." So he landed in Normandy looking like an overloaded hardware store in a straight Infantry unit. Now in 1950 as a forty year old Major he was amphibious raider outfits ashore, six years after he was too old to get in the Rangers, in 1951 as a forty year old Lt Colonel he is instructing Airborne Ranger Companies and in October of 1951 as a forty one year old Lt Colonel nine years after he was too old to qualify for Airborne, they were pushing him out of a plane to get him qualified as a jumper. And he did.

Thanks to his son John White for sharing the story about his dad.