Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Tag: Saemal

Return to Massacre Valley: Command Post for 3rd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment — Hoenseong, South Korea

After shooting some footage in Hoengseong near the site of the Netherlands’ Battalion, for the next part of the documentary, we entered Massacre Valley and went to the location where the command post for the 3rd Battalion of the 38th Infantry Regiment was located in and around the village of Saemal.

I describe Saemal in War Remains and how Bobby and the others of Support Force 21 felt that once they reached this village where the rest of the regiment was bivouacked, their ordeal would be over. However, by then the enemy had already positioned themselves in the high ground and for Bobby and the others, their ordeal was far from being over.

Although I visited Massacre Valley in 2010, just prior to War Remains being published, this time back was very special for me. So many people have been touched with my story of Bobby not to mention learning about the battle that was once fought here. What I have done and what Park Jongwoo is doing with his documentary is making people aware of what actually happened here in February 1951.

Why did I choose the 38th Infantry Regiment to be one of the main military units in my novel? What I wanted to do was to show how this regiment had been in some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict, from the breakout along the Pusan Perimeter to Kunu-ri and then finally Hoengseong. By choosing this regiment, it allowed me to write about three major events in the first nine months of the conflict with special attention to Hoengseong because many people might not be aware of this battle.

In the photo, Producer/Director Park Jongwoo and I talk about the battle and the location of the 38th Infantry Regiment near the village of Saemal.

Saemal Village and Massacre Valley — Hoengseong, South Korea

At the beginning of War Remains, I talk about Support Force 21, the 3rd Battalion of the 38th Infantry Regiment, US Second Infantry Division, and the small village of Saemal. This past weekend, during my return to Massacre Valley, the producer/director of the Korean War documentary, Park Jong-woo, his crew and I went to the spot where the 3rd Battalion was most likely bivouacked on the morning of February 12, 1951.

After having to withdraw from Changbong-ni at around 3:00 in the morning, this is where Support Force 21 arrived later that morning as well as ROK soldiers from the 21st, 10th, and 16th Infantry Regiments. They all thought that they had made it to safety, but their ordeal was far from over.

In this photo, I am explaining to Park Jongwoo what I will talk about in this segment of the documentary. We are standing on the old road to Chipyong-ni, which would be the site of a fierce battle a few days later, next to a rice paddy where the 3rd Battalion was bivouacked.

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