FORCE TO  KOREA (1950-1955)
Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK)
April 1952 to March 1953
A battle hardened unit that distinguished itself in the anti-Huk campaign, the 19th BCT trained for 16 weeks at the Philippine Army’s training facility set among “Korean-like” hills bordering the town of Marikina, fondly called “Marikorea” by the men. The first contingent of the 19th landed in Korea late April 1952 with the last contingent rotating to Korea two months later. Battalion commander was Col. Ramon Aguirre.

The 19th held a segment of the MLR in the Chorwon-Sibyon-yi corridor in the west central sector of Korea. It was first attached operationally to the US I Corps and then to the 179th Regiment of the
US 45th Infantry Division (Thunderbirds), the first National Guard division to see combat in Korea. Armistice negotiations to end the war were being discussed when the 19th went into action against the men of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (CPV).

Battling the CPV
The men of this famed battalion acquitted themselves well against the CPV. Their most outstanding combat achievement, however, was in the battle for hills dominating the Chorwon-Sibyon-yi area, considered he most vulnerable sector of the UNC’s front line. On 18 June, the CPV bombarded the 19th’s positions with heavy artillery fire, killing two men and wounding four. The battalion’s howitzers and mortars returned fire, inflicting casualties on the CPV.

The CPV continued pummeling the battalion’s positions the next day in preparation for an infantry assault that was aborted after the 19th returned fire. The intense artillery duels resulted in the deaths of eight men, including an officer. At 10:00 p.m. on 20 June, the enemy opened a heavy artillery and mortar barrage against the 19th following this up with a massive infantry attack. Flares fired by the 19th revealed waves of CPV heading towards Hills Eerie and 191.

Under terrific artillery fire, and attacked by overwhelming force, the battalion stood its ground. Counter battery fire destroyed many of the CPV guns and mortars. On the battlefield, the battalion fought a brutal hand-to-hand fight throughout the evening. The Chinese ware fought to a standstill and forced to retreat by a savage counterattack. The fight continued until the morning of the 21st. The retreating Chinese left behind the hulks of two tanks and over 500 dead. Eight Filipinos were killed and 16 wounded in the fierce night battle.

More actions against the CPV followed and the fighting skill shown by the veterans of the 19th drew respect and praise from other UN fighting units. The 19th was the first PEFTOK battalion awarded the South Korean Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation. It also received a Battle Citation from the US X Corps.
This web site was created, written and is maintained by Art Villasanta.
Copyright 2000 by Art Villasanta. This web site is being continuously updated.
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