A face of battle

“Within a few moments I, too, was hit, first in the right arm, then in the chest. It felt as though I’d been hit in the chest by a sledgehammer. I could not breathe. Somehow, I gasped for air and lay panting until the initial shock wore off. To this day I remember the pain and horror of those moments. Our squad was pinned down and couldn’t move. The gunner and I kept screaming for the corpsman, but he couldn’t get through. Both of us lay in an exposed position. The North Koreans who shot us knew that we were alive and that they could pick off any Marine coming to our aid. We lay there for what seemed like an eternity. My breathing became more difficult because my chest was filling with blood. After what must have been a few hours, Cpl. Frank Brennan and Pfc. Mark Valetta from one of the rifle platoons crawled to us with a blanket. The gunner was bleeding heavily from the mouth but still hanging on. Using the blanket as a stretcher, they moved him first, and came under heavy fire. The gunner was hit again, this time a round grazed his head. I passed out. The next thing I knew, it was night. I was still out in the open. At this point I went through my second horror of the day [and] came under heavy artillery bombardment. . . . I was right in the middle of it. The pain was unbearable and I couldn’t move. I passed out. When I came to, the ground around me was erupting, and bricks and steel were falling around me. Miraculously, I was not hit. I passed out again. When I came to again, the sun was up, and staring at me in disbelief were four South Korean boys. Around me I noticed several dead North Korean soldiers. The boys gently placed me on a straw mat and carried me back to the company CP.” – Private First Class Joseph Saluzzi, D Company, 7th Marine Regiment (quoted by Donald Knox in The Korean War: Pusan to Chosin – An Oral History)

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