Larry Milfelt

Excerpt From "Front and Center" Article

by James Williams, F Co., Korea

(Reprinted with permission from the author)

Larry Milfelt enlisted in the Army, from a small town in Missouri, three weeks prior to the North Korean attack against South Korea. Larry's sixteen weeks basic, was reduced to just eight weeks, so that he could become "cannon fodder" in Korea. 

Larry was assigned to the "Wolfhounds" at the time the massive Chinese Army attacked, and overwhelmed the American and UN forces. General Ridgeway, probably the best United States General in the twentieth century, according to a Marine Colonel, saw we should attack and not run. The "Wolfhounds" were one of the elite units to initiate this attack and Larry recalls going North, in March 1951, across the Han River, getting thoroughly wet, and stopping a little later that night to rest. 

When Larry awoke in the morning he was frozen solid from the cold, as his previously wet uniform, had turned to ice, and he couldn't move his feet or legs to get up. Using his elbows he pivoted around picking up some pieces of branches, built a small fire, putting his feet into the fire initially and then withdrawing them and thawing out the rest of his body, enough to continue his soldiering. 

A few days layer the Chinese attacked and he remembers one mortar round exploding near him but not the second one, which put a finger size sliver of shrapnel in the right side of his head and another piece, which tore into his right side, damaging his pancreas, kidney and other organs. 

Larry woke six days later on a stretcher, beside a hospital tent. His wounds were so severe he was left unattended, as the many wounded, deemed capable of recovery, were treated first by the limited hospital staff. An alert nurse saw Larry's eyes were open and moving, and had two litter bearers rush him in for treatment. 

An interesting sideline to this story is that Debbie Reynolds' adopted brother Paul, a member of the Ranger group within the "Wolfhounds" and Larry's friend, had to use Larry's machine gun against the attacking Chinese. Paul and Larry meet each year for a show and dinner sponsored by Debbie Reynolds, and Paul always jokingly complains about Larry's machine gun, covered with his blood and "smelling to high heaven" when it heated up as Paul fired it, at the attacking Chinese troops.

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