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Finding relevance for today in a Korean War battle

U.S. and S. Korean senior officials study the 1951 battle at Hangyeri that kept the Chinese out of South Korea

By Ashley Rowland, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Tuesday, September 18, 2007

HANGYERI, South Korea — Bud Albert didn’t talk much about his 15 months at war in South Korea. But when he did, he would tell his son, who dreamed of being a soldier, about digging his heels in the dirt on a mountain so steep he had to point his rifle downward at the enemy.

He talked about fighting for three days with no food or water, and waking up on the third morning expecting to die in a Chinese attack.

His son, Eric Albert, now a colonel with the 1st Signal Brigade, stood Friday on the mountain pass where his father fought in May 1951, overlooking the quiet, forested chain of mountains and the deep valley where Chinese and U.N. forces clashed 56 years ago. He carried a binder of black-and-white photos taken by his father, then 18, during the Korean War.

About 70 U.S. and South Korean senior officers traveled Friday to Hangyeri, where they were briefed on and discussed the tactics that helped U.N. forces there stop the Chinese advance into South Korea.

That bloody battle at the village of Hangyeri and on the surrounding peaks left 20,000 Chinese troops dead.

“If you can learn the things that went well and the things that did not go well, you can keep from making the same mistakes,” said Col. Brian Vines, who helped organize the event.

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Stars & Stripes  (Posted 9/20/07)