21 September 1950
From: Commander Fire Support Group (CTG 90.6)
COMMANDER CRUISER DIVISION FIVE
C/O FLEET POST OFFICE
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
------(Commander Cruiser Division FIVE)
To: The Destroyer Element (TE 90.62)
----(Commanding Officer, USS DEHAVEN (DD727)
----(Commanding Officer, USS MANSFIELD (DD728)
----(Commanding Officer, USS COLLETT (DD730)
----(Commanding Officer, USS LYMAN K. SWENSON (DD729)
----(Commanding Officer, USS HENDERSON (DD785)
----(Commanding Officer, USS GURKE (DD783)
Subj: Commendation for Services rendered during the bombardment of Inchon, Korea, 13-15 September 1950
1. Commander Cruiser Division FIVE desires to commend the officers and crew of the ships under his command for their meritorious services rendered in support of this Task Group during its recent operation against Inchon, Korea.
2. The ship under your command distinguished itself by extraordinary heroism in action with the enemy and exhibiting gallantry and determination in overcoming difficult and hazardous conditions beyond the call of duty. During the period 3-15 September 1950, the DEHAVEN (DD727), MANSFIELD (DD728), LYMAN K. SWENSON (DD729), COLLETT (DD730), GURKE (DD783), and HENDERSON (DD785), navigated for the first time the difficult approaches to Inchon, Korea, through hostile enemy waters, under tide and current conditions well recognized for their navigational hazards and entered the well fortified harbor of INCHON. Anchoring within close range of the enemy shore defenses the destroyers returned with deliberate and decisive accuracy, the heavy counter battery fire of the hidden enemy gun emplacements ashore and, although receiving numerous hits and some casualties refused to depart from their assigned stations until their scheduled time of withdrawal, at which time they retired down the channel to await re entry for the next scheduled bombardment. Well knowing that with each entry the possibility of their meeting with additional resistance was increased, these ships transited a mine field, gallantly passed close to the shore fortification and, by determined precise bombardment effectively reduced the defenses of the port sufficiently to permit the sucessful landing of the United Nations Amphibious Forces on 15 September.
3. By their aggressive action and bold execution of the operation the destroyers were responsible for the landing of a large amphibious force within a narrow confined area and with the loss of scarcely any lives. Their outstanding conduct and successful execution of the operation have been an immediate major contribution to the war effort of the Korean Campaign and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Navy.
4. Commander Cruiser Division FIVE has forwarded to the Task Force Commander recommendations for awards proposed for those ships and personnel most vitally concerned in the attack on Inchon. In the meantime I trust you will express to the officers and crew of your ship my appreciation for their wholehearted and splendid support I received during the entire operation. To each and all a "Well Done". I feel that we have definitely shortened the Korean Campaign by our successful achievement.
USS ROCHESTER OFF INCHON 19 SEPT X VICE ADMIRAL ARTHUR DEWEY STRUBLE COMMANDER OF JOINT TASK FORCE SEVEN WHICH COMPRISES THE AIR, GROUND AND SURFACE ELEMENTS EMPLOYED IN THE AMPHIBIOUS INVASION AT INCHON TODAY ANNOUNCED THE NAMES OF THE SHIPS THAT PARTICIPATED IN EARLY PHASES OF THE ASSAULT.
THE FIVE DESTROYERS THAT PERFORMED THE MISSION OF DRAWING ENEMY FIRE AT POINT BLANK RANGE FROM WOLMI DO ISLAND ON D DAY MINUS TWO (SEPT 13) WERE THE MANSFIELD, DE HAVEN, LYMAN K. SWENSON, COLLETT AND GURKE. THEY MOVED IN ON WOLMI DO AT NOON ON THE THIRTEENTH IN THE ORDER NAMED, LED BY THE MANSFIELD FLAGSHIP OF COMMANDER DESRON NINE.
THE OBJECT WAS TO LOCATE ENEMY SHORE BATTERIES SO THAT THEY COULD BE DESTROYED BY GUNFIRE AND AERIAL BOMBING BEFORE THE MARINES MADE THE INITIAL LANDING ON WOLMI DO. THE MISSION WAS SUCCESSFUL BUT IN THE ENSUING SHORT RANGE DUEL WITH ENEMY SHORE BATTERIES THE COLLETT WAS HIT NINE TIMES WITH THREE WOUNDED AND THE GURKE WAS HIT THREE TIMES WITH TWO WOUNDED. THE SWENSON SUSTAINED A NEAR MISS WITH ONE WOUNDED AND ONE KILLED.
ON D DAY MINUS ONE THE DESTROYERS WERE SENT IN AGAIN EXCEPT THAT THE HENDERSON REPLACED THE COLLETT WHICH WAS ASSIGNED THE TASK OF LOCATING AND EXPLODING MINES IN THE HARBOR APPROACHES.
ON D DAY THE SOUTHERLAND JOINED THE DESTROYER GROUP WHICH STAYED IN FOR CLOSE FIRE SUPPORT OF LANDING ON WOLMI AND LATER ON RED AND BLUE BEACHES AT INCHON.
AMERICAN CRUISERS PARTICIPATING IN THE ACTION INCLUDED THE ROCHESTER AND TOLEDO AND THE BRITISH CRUISERS KENYA AND JAMAICA. THE CRUISERS LONG RANGE GUNS WERE USED EFFECTIVELY TO HELP SILENCE SHORE BATTERIES ON WOLMI DO AND AGAINST ENEMY ARTILLERY LOCATED IN INCHON.
CARRIER PARTICIPATION IN THE EARLY PHASES OF THE OPERATION INCLUDED TWO FLEET CARRIERS, THE PHILIPPINE SEA AND THE VALLEY FORGE, TWO BRITISH ESCORT CARRIERS THE SICILY AND THE BADOENG STRAIT AND THE BRITISH LIGHT CARRIER TRIUMPH.
THE CARRIERS PERFORMED A NUMBER OF IMPORTANT MISSIONS. THEY MADE HEAVY STRIKES AGAINST THE FORTIFICATIONS OF WOLMI DO AND INCHON, STRAFFED ENEMY MOVEMENTS OF TROOPS AND TANKS TOWARD INCHON AND PROVIDED AIRPLANE SPOTTING FOR THE CRUISER GUNFIRE.
THE NET RESULT OF THE COORDINATED ASSAULT WAS A SUCCESSFUL LANDING WITH A MINIMUM OF CASUALTIES.
THE ONLY SHIP HIT SUFFICIENTLY TO REQUIRE WITHDRAWAL WAS THE COLLETT WHICH WAS SAILED FOR A BASE REPAIR PORT ON SEPTEMBER 18TH. ON DEPARTURE COMMANDER JOINT TASK FORCE SEVEN SENT A MESSAGE COMPLIMENTING THE OFFICERS AND MEN FOR THEIR GALLANTRY IN ACTION.
"For outstanding heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from 13 to 15 September 1950. Skillfully navigating the extremely difficult and hazardous approaches to enemy-held Inchon in advance of the initial assault against that fortress, Task Element 90.62 coolly entered the strongly fortified harbor and anchored within close range of hostile gun positions. Defying the deadly barrage of heavy enemy shore-battery fire delivered from a myriad of hidden gun emplacements scattered along the coastline, the gallant destroyers of this Element courageously proceeded to launch an accurate and crushing fire attack in the first of a series of well-planned and brilliantly executed bombardments which culminated in the reduction of the port's defenses and the successful landing of friendly forces at Inch'on on 15 September 1950. Although sustaining several casualties and numerous hits from the roaring enemy shore batteries, these ships repeatedly refused to leave their assigned stations and boldly contained to return the heavy counterfire of hostile guns until their scheduled time of withdrawal. Fully aware that with each successive entry into the treacherous channel the peril of meeting increased resistance was greatly intensified, they braved the hazards of a hostile mine field, passed dangerously close to the enemy's shore fortifications and unleashed a furious bombardment which eventually neutralized the port defenses sufficiently to permit the successful amphibious landings. An aggressive and intrepid fighting unit, the daring officers and men of Task Element 90.62 achieved a splendid combat record which attests the teamwork, courage and skill of the entire Destroyer Element and enhances the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
All personnel attached to and serving on board the above mentioned destroyers from 13 to 15 September 1950 are hereby authorized to wear the NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION Ribbon.
* Thanks to Roger Hickey for sending me a copy of the above citation.
POW/MIA Main Page
Return to Home Page