"THE DEATH OF
KARSTEN HALL, NEGROS ISLAND "
*Chet Nycum letter to Karl Thompson,
nephew of Karsten Hall.
*Chet Nycum letter to Karl Thompson, nephew of Karsten Hall.
At your request I will try to
paint a verbal picture of the Negros
I just returned
to the outfit (503rd now located on Mindoro Island) after 47 days in the
hospital being treated for wounds received on Corregidor. The regiment was getting ready for the Negros strike.
I collected my gear and made ready.
planes at the strip on Mindoro and took off.
En route we were told that we would not be jumping on Negros but
rather that we would land on Panay and cross to Negros by LCM.
Negros we boarded trucks and were moved inland.
The 40th Div. was already in combat on the island, and we were
moved to their left flank, to
engage the troops that were flanking the 40th Div.
How long we were
fighting and moving forward I no longer remember, but I do recall a Banzai
charge that lasted, it seems, forever. It was judged there were 500
Japanese attacking. On
another occasion the Japanese crept in during the night and were on top of
us at dawn. Hand to hand we lost seven men, they lost seven.
Our fighting was
always uphill, the Japanese were dug in so we had to rout them out.
Paratroopers have no heavy weapons so it all had to be done with
small arms. I have no idea how many men were killed as we moved
forward, but one I will never forget .
On patrol in the foothills of the mountains, in an area of rain forest we came upon a patrol of Americans we assumed were from the 40th Div. We shouted and waved to attract their attention , they in turn opened fire. A trooper named Guthrie was hit but the bullet struck a grenade on his webbing. We all heard the detonator go off. As the grenade dropped to the ground, every one hit the dirt. Guthrie threw himself on the grenade to protect the rest of the squad. Guthrie was given no medal for bravery because our commander did not believe in giving medals.
"G" company moved
forward up the mountain. The 1st platoon walked into a
Japanese position, their scout was killed.
The Japanese position was a knoll roughly 200 ft across the top.
The approach to the position was a ridge with the ground sloping off to
the right and a sheer cliff on the left, rising from a river.
The scout that was killed was about 200 ft from the Japanese line.
A machine gun, Nambu type, was dug in on the right front.
That gun killed the scout. The patrol returned to our lines and I
was told to see if I could recover the body.
Scared as hell, I went up to where the scout was laying.
He was at the base of a large tree, of the type that had
fins around the base. Our
trooper was on the forward side of the tree, exposed to the machine gun. I reached around the tree and grabbed clothing on his
shoulders, but the weight was too much and I would expose myself no
further. I did see that he
had been searched and his ring finger cut off.
I moved back and reported my actions, found a place to lay down and
spent the night.
called on me to lead the company back up and to attack and take that machine
gun. He surprised me when he handed
me a 100 round drum magazine. After a cup of coffee I
moved out. The second scout was a trooper named Andy Pacella who was about 100 ft to my
rear. The rest of "G" company followed.
I moved up without incident until I was at a point where if I stood
erect I could see across the top of the hill.
I straightened up and there were four Japanese soldiers, three with
rifles slung on their shoulders and one, with his back to me, wearing a
sword , apparently an officer. I
brought my tommygun and fired bursts of three into each man. They fell and I strafed the ground to ensure the kill.
dropped the 100 round drum magazine and jammed a 20 clip into gun. Suddenly I saw movement in the corner of my eye, and turning
to my right I was facing a Japanese soldier who had me in his sights. I
don't know why he did not fire, but his hesitation cost him his life.
I started to
move on the machine gun when I heard Andy calling my name. Taking a quick look back to see what he wanted he motioned
that we were being called back and when I looked for the men behind Andy
they had started down the hill.
The balance of
the day was spent watching to see that whatever Japanese were on the hill
would not attack us.
the second platoon was called on to maneuver around the Japanese position
and attack from the rear. I
was, once again, to lead 1st and 3rd platoons up on a frontal attack.
At dawn I received orders to move out.
I carefully moved back up the same path I had taken two times
before. Just as I reached the
military crest of the hill I heard the Nambu open up.
It fired two bursts of about five rounds each. I leaped forward to
get into the fight and one of the second platoon men waved me down and
pointed to my left front, where there was one of our
The Japanese had
pulled the gun from the bunker to a point in the left rear where they
could see anyone moving across the top.
your uncle had to be the scout that got to their position first.
Karsten L. Hall was hit in the upper torso and died instantly .
Karl, I have written this in more detail than I needed to, but it is only a
brief pause when you consider
your uncle’s involvement at Markham Valley, Hollandia, Noemfoor,
Corregidor and Negros. You
have an uncle to be proud of. Had
you not sent me Karsten’s picture and told me Sleepy’s story of the
foot locker, I am sure I would never have recalled the incidents I have
Stay in touch .
BOOZE AND BOOTY | THE TRUCK | THE CORREGIDOR BRASS TURKEY SHOOT | FT MILLS PLAQUE | BOB HOPE AT NOEMFOOR | NO SUICIDE CLIFF | 'DOC' BRADFORD | MYSTERIOUS WAYS | MY FIRST COMBAT PATROL | THE DEATH OF BENNY SLOWE | MIRACLE AT NOEMFOOR | THE DEATH OF KARSTEN HALL | SONGS & SLOGANS |WATER, WATER NOWHERE | NO SMOKING! | BRONZE STAR AT BANZAI POINT | ON THE BEACH AT CORREGIDOR | REUNION GOSSIP 1949 | CORREGIDOR WHISKEY
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