This story was sent by Sgt. Charles Cooperof K/160
I was in the 160th Infantry Regiment in Korea. The 143 was our artillery support, I'm not sure which battery was supporting us at any one time, but it would have been one of them. I was in 3rd Battalion, Co. K, 4th Platoon. When we first arrived in Korea we relieved the 24th Infantry Division which was the first and only American division in Korea when the Inman Gun (the North Korean Army) came pouring across the 38th parallel on their surprise attack. The 24th took our place in Japan on occupation duty where we had been for 9 months.
We relieved a regiment of the 24th and assumed their positions on the "Hill" ,which is what everyone called the front line because it was very mountainous near Kumwa, and our MLR was always on top of a ridge and the North Koreans or Chinese were across a little valley on the facing ridge. That first day on the Hill our artillery forward observer from the 143rd was wounded by shrapnel. He was the first casualty we took. He was hit in the buttocks by shrapnel from a 122mm Russian built gun. This was the first part of January and it was colder than Hell. The ground was frozen down several feet and hard as a rock. The round hit just over the crest of the ridge where the forward observer had gone to relieve himself. We called for our Medics and they got a compress on him and loaded him on a stretcher. He had to be carried a mile down the rear slope of the "hill" to where a jeep or copter could get him.
I'll try to just tell things that relate to our artillery, but I feel that I need to explain some things so they make sense. When we called for fire support, if it was an anti personnel mission they would fire VT rounds, these had proximity fuses and would explode 15 feet or so up in the air. That way the shrapnel field was much wider. The battery would fire in sequence a half second or so between each gun. That was so that the rounds would not sense each other in the air and go off thinking they were picking up the ground. However, many times, about when they would be over us on their way to the enemy lines, a couple of rounds would get too close together and go off. Everyone would dive for cover to avoid the shrapnel that rained down. Usually these air burst were high enough that they weren't lethal, since we always had our helmets on. When we would hear that boom, boom, boom in rapid sequence we knew that VT's were on there way and to be ready for overhead bursts.
Sgt. Charles Cooper