Korean War Medic Comes Home After Nearly 70 Years

 In History, Military

Korean War Medic Master Sergeant Charles McDaniels, 33, disappeared during the Battle of Unsan. On September 12, the Defense Accounting Agency identified his remains. On October 27, he was finally laid to rest in his home state of Indiana with military honors. His dog tags had been returned to his son in August. He was one of the soldiers returned by North Korea.

The DPAA wrote,

On September 12, 2018, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) identified the remains of Master Sergeant Charles Hobert McDaniel, missing from the Korean War.

Master Sergeant McDaniel, who entered the U.S. Army from Indiana, was a member of the Medical Company of the 8th Cavalry Regiment, assigned to the 8th Cavalry’s 3rd Battalion. In early November 1950, his unit was positioned near Unsan, North Korea, when they came under attack from Chinese Communist Forces (CCF). MSG McDaniel was initially reported missing following this action but was never seen alive in enemy hands. On July 27, 2018, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DRPK) returned fifty-five boxes reportedly containing the remains of U.S. service members killed during the Korean War. These remains were accessioned into the DPAA laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and MSG McDaniel was individually identified from among them. 

Master Sergeant McDaniel is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

The Battle of Unsan

Master Sergeant McDaniels was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Deployed to Korea in August of 1950, it was a few short months later that the unit was decimated by 10,000-20,000 Chinese troops in the Battle of Unsan.

The Army wrote, calling the entire battle a “disaster,”

The 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division arrived Oct. 30 as ROK soldiers battled the Chinese, desperately trying and failing to hold their positions as more columns of enemy infantry closed in.

The American reinforcements weren’t enough, however. After days of hard fighting, including hand-to-hand combat, the regiment’s ranks were decimated, and its ammunition was running low, its communications lost.

Orders came to pull out, but much of the regiment’s 3rd Battalion, “Scrappy Blue,” was trapped southwest of Unsan, Nov. 2.

The battalion command post even experienced a deadly assault from all sides: “Hand-to-hand encounters took place all over … as the Chinese soldiers … fanned out, firing on anyone they saw and throwing grenades and satchel charges into the vehicles, setting many of them on fire,” wrote Appleman.

Soldiers managed to drive them off, but the entire battalion staff was wounded or missing, and the situation continued to deteriorate. The battalion’s only hope lay in a promised relief column from the division’s 5th Cavalry Regiment.

The battle was so intense that few survived it. Later, 400 men managed to make their way back to the American lines. Over 7,000 men were listed as MIA from the Korean War.

“At approximately 1600 on the afternoon of 6 November … the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, as an organized force, came to an end. Most of these men were either killed or captured.”

The 1st Cavalry Division is stationed not far from the cemetery where McDaniels was to be buried. The Indy Star reported that according to his son, Charles McDaniels Jr, they were well represented at the service.

“Because of, again, this connection with the 1st Cavalry Division. They feel like my father is still one of theirs.” Charles McDaniels Jr.

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search

southern border