This page has lots of graphics. Please
allow time to
Sunburst Corporal Fires M-1
Red, Records 40th First
Submitted by: Ed Marshall
Article by Cpl. Walter Cord, (Pac. S&S)
-At 3 p.m. on a mid January day the crack of an M-1 rifle
echoed through little valleys that crisscross the Korean
landscape, from atop a high finger of a hill, a Chinese
soldier tumbled, rolling over and over, clumsily to the
After 16 months of intensive training both in
Japan and the United-States, the 40th Infantry Division,
made up largely of men from California, had been committed
to the Korean conflict.
shot, fired by a soldier of the Sunburst Division, sounded
when its first combat patrol met a small enemy group. The
shot, fired by Cpl. Pete Romas, killed a Red.
In September 1950 , the 40th National Guard division from
California was called to active duty. At first, it was
said the division would be a security force to back up the
Korean "police action." After months of concentrated
training at Camp Cooke, the division was ordered to Japan
for occupation duty in April 1951.
for the first fatal shot did not stop; rather it was
stepped up. The men were taught everything the Army could
give-from beach assaults to mountain warfare and more
months of constant field exercises and battle
indoctrination. By the time the division was ordered to
Korea the men were "good soldiers."
First mission of the division was delegated to the 160th
Regiment, "Los Angeles' Own." Company A of that unit sent
out a reinforced squad to contact and harass the enemy.
Led by SFC Loren Knepp, the small group wound their way
about 800 meters into enemy territory when Romas developed
a cramp in his leg.
stop for one man so they left him and continued on their
mission. The group had advanced a short distance and were
climbing a finger of a high hill when Romas sighted an
enemy patrol of about 15 men climbing the other side of
He called to his comrades but they out of earshot, Picking
up his rifle, he took careful aim on the lead man of the
enemy element and fired. The man fell and rolled down the
steep sides of the hill.
warned the other men and they took up the fight. It only
lasted about 30 minutes but the enemy force was broken and
forced to retreat, leaving several of their number behind.
Long months of preparation had payed off.
Many people were wondering how the outfit would come out
in combat. Maj. Gen. Daniel H. Hudelson, division
commander and a former oil company executive, had a few
words to say on that subject. "Let 'em come. We will give
'em a real California welcome."
Although on inactive duty since 1946, combat is nothing
new to this division. It fought long and well in the South
Pacific. It came to Korea for a short time in the early
stages of the occupation but was withdrawn to the states
and deactivated in 1946.
to witness the first artillery round fired by the 143d
FAB was Maj. Thomas 0. Lawson, Los Angeles. This was a
distinction for Lawson since he also witnessed the last
round fired by the division in the Philippines in 1945.
The 40th is one of the only two National Guard divisions
that have, so far, been called for combat duty. The
Oklahoma Guard division, the 45th, has been on the lines
for some time. The 40th also was one of the first four
such units recalled to active duty in 1950.
Two of the four are scheduled for Europe to bolster
General Eisenhower's Atlantic defense
of the Golden State seems glad to be in Korea and given a
chance to prove themselves in combat. Morale, instead of
taking a slump, jumped when they learned that Korean
battlelines were to be their new home.
There's been a lot of ribbing of the 40th by men who have
spent long periods in Korea. All this has done nothing to
change the feeling of the Californians. They are glad to
be in the fight. They are convinced it will not take long
for other troops, in Korea to be glad they are here
Submitted by: Ed Marshall
THE MLR-Four members of the 40th Division's 160th Infantry
Regiment, Company E move out from their bunker up to the
Main Line of Resistance (MLR) somewhere along thew Korean
battlefront. From left to right, Cpl. Ralph Sarul of
Detroit, Mich., PFC
Jesse Augon of Guam, PFC Martin Auserwd of Portland, ND.
and PFC Melvin W. Knott of Cory, WY.
Submitted by: Ed Marshall
FROM OUTPOST-Three members of Company K, 160th Infantry
Regiment, return to their headquarters after being
relieved of guard duty somewhere along the 40th Division's
front in Korea. They are (front to rear), Cpl. George
Laksberger, Detroit, Mich.,Cpl. Harvey (Dick) Hammons, Grants
Pass, Ore., and Pvt. Manual L. Nororiega, Los
Submited by: Ed Marshall
ON THE INSIDE-Two Texans and a Californian, members of the
160th Infantry Regiment's I&R section,warm themselves
before a homemadestove at their headquarters along the
Korean front. Left to right are, Cpl. Herbert F. Morse,
Los Angeles, PFC Bruce G. Bixler, El Paso and Cpl. William
B. Martin, Wichita Falls.
This is another beautiful winter photo of the area assigned to Company "K", 223rd. It is
the North Rim of the Punchbowl. Photo was taken in December 1952. Photo was submitted by John Fridley, a former member of "K" Company.