Hill 303 Memorial Post 10033 is the chartered organization for all of the Boy Scouts of America activities in the Daegu Community. Troop 81, Pack 81, and Venture Crew 73 are proud to be chartered by an organization with common values such as duty, service to our community and nation, and honor.
History Behind the Post Name: Hill 130 Post 10033
Hill 303 Post 10033 is located in Daegu. Back in August 1950, in the early chaotic months of the “forgotten war,” Hill 303 (elevation: 950 feet), sitting about 15 miles northwest of Daegu, was a critical terrain feature controlling the main Busan-Seoul railroad, a highway crossing of the Naktong River, and Waegwan, a small city on the edge of the hill’s southern slope. On August 14, a North Korean regiment crossed the Naktong six miles north of Waegwan. Some NKA troops and tanks headed south toward Waegwan, on what is Route 907 today, while others went around north of Hill 303, thus encircling the hill. By 0830 on August 15, North Koreans had surrounded G Company, 5th Cavalry Regiment, as well as a supporting platoon of H Company mortarmen. A relief infantry column supported by a platoon of tanks tried to reach G Company but failed. During this fighting, Waegwan became a no-man’s land, almost totally deserted. Refugees had fled to Daegu.
B Company and the tanks made new attempts on August 16 to retake Hill 303 from a battalion of 700 North Koreans. But all attempts were repulsed. To soften the resistance, enemy positions were shelled throughout the day with howitzers. During the early morning of August 17, troops from the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 5th Cavalry, supported by A Company, 70th Tank Battalion, moved toward the hill again. This time heavy mortar fire stopped them at the edge of Waegwan. Artillery was brought in later in the morning, followed by Air Force planes dropping napalm and bombs, firing rockets, and strafing enemy positions. Immediately afterward, the men of the 1st and 2nd Battalions moved forward again, and this time the assault succeeded.
Although Hill 303 was recaptured, the victory was made bitter by news of a massacre of U.S. soldiers. Forty-two mortar men of H Company were found in a gulley on the hill, packed tightly, shoulder to shoulder, and lying on their sides with their hands tied behind their backs. Miraculously, five soldiers survived. They said that when the U.S. troops started up the hill after the air strike, they had been grouped together and shot with burp guns by North Korean soldiers. (In June 1999, on the 49th anniversary of the Korean War, two of the three survivors still alive revisited Hill 303 and prayed at the site of the massacre. The KVA and U.S. soldiers at Camp Carroll sponsored the visit by former PFC Roy Manring and Pvt. Frederick M Ryan, both now 67 years old.)
Although Hill 303 was retaken, the safety of Daegu was being jeopardized. On August 18, the Korean Provincial Government ordered the city’s evacuation, and President Syngman Rhee moved his capital from there to Busan, 55 miles away. Panicked refugees poured from Daegu, clogging the roads. Because this exodus threatened to stop all military traffic and to undermine the morale of the troops defending the city, the U.S. 8th Army pressured the Korean government and finally halted the evacuation. The rest is history. In what came later to be called the Naktong Bulge, UN forces desperately held firm at the Busan Perimeter. Only with great difficulty, however, was the communist drive halted and the NKA eventually driven back across the Naktong River.
Compiled by Tom Elliott, Post 9467
For more information on our chartered organization, please visit the Hill 303 Memorial Post 10033 Facebook page or the official Hill 303 Memorial VFW Post 10033 website. Hill 303 Memorial VFW Post 10033 can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.