INT: But there was a temporary improvement when the US army managed to push north

CB: Yes.

INT: And cross the 38th parallel. Was that a significant event? As you went north, did you think 'here we've re-taken Seoul, we've pushed north, we're crossing the parallel.' Did you reflect on that at the time?

CB: (overlap) Oh sure.

INT: What did you think?

CB: I thought we'd won the war! (long laugh) I shouldn't laugh at this point but I have to. I really thought that we had won the war and I think that was a general feeling and we went north with high hopes. As a matter of fact, they were so high that there was a rumour that that theoretically that that come out of the out of the 8th army headquarters that the first troops to the Yalu River, the first tropes troops to go home. And that was the attitude that we went north with. We never got to the river and a lot of us never got home.

INT: You did have a big effort at Thanksgiving, before things really

CB: (overlap) Oh absolutely.

INT: went wrong. What happened then? What sort of day was it?

CB: Well, it was a day that we had Thanksgiving type rations and they were there on time and everyone was full of hope and things were jovial. And then the Chinese came into the army a couple of days later and things begin to change and they did change - drastically.

INT: And was that Thanksgiving meal a kind of high point of things going comparatively well? Can you remember what you did on that day? Was it a special meal for example?

CB: Yeah, we had a very special meal of characteristic of what we would've had at home with turkey and all of those things. I don't know how they managed it but they had all the things that we would've had at home and it was it was the high point in our activity, for sure. We felt very good about it.

INT: Can you just sort of expand a little bit on what sort of day Thanksgiving was and the kind of celebration that took place?

CB: Well, we had moved into North Korea with no difficulty at all. The North Korean army was not in sight. We moved up to the Chungchon River and Thanksgiving Day came and we had all of the food and things that Thanksgiving had meant when we were at home and at that time were nearing the Yalu River and that meant going home. First to the river, first home. And it was a very cheerful occasion and we were very happy about it. We played some baseball and did all those little things that we might have done at home, you know, and 'home' meaning wherever we came from. It was a happy kind of a day and that night or the next night, the first Chinese showed up. We had no idea of what their force was, what their strength was, their weaponry. We had no idea that Chinese were even coming into the war. The first I heard of it really was that they had annihilated -- and that may not be a good term but that's the what I got -- the 8th Engineers who had crossed the Chungchon River and had been issued tents and tentage was a great big deal in Korea because we had lived like badgers all those months before and they had stoves and tentage and it had gotten cold and the Chinese caught them in their tents and they destroyed the tents with bullets and of course the men inside the same. Now I heard this at that was at a place called Un-hung that was north of the Chungchon river. That disturbed me somewhat but then very shortly after that we got messages that other units had been hit by Chinese as well. We had no intelligence to tell us what was really going on and little by little the Chinese strength increased and they began to kill Americans in significant numbers. Still no intelligence whatever. There came a time to withdraw and we did and the first engagement that my company had with the Chinewas with their bugles. At night they'd blow these buglesand they had a chilling effect on the soldiers. They'd had no night training prior to going to Korea and the Koreans fought almost exclusively - or extensively certainly - at night. All of their attacks were usually at night and they'd blow these bugles and these were signals to do something and it was kinda tough on GIs and we had an incident there. If your name was Abernathy, chances are pretty good that you're gonna be called AbNasty and we had such a person, little fella, very sour and at night I always went from foxhole to foxhole, I talked to my guys and some of them of course I knew and whatnot I didn't know well. I'd ask questions about where they came from and what their parents did and all of those things that you need to know about a man that you're commanding so that you are really in charge. And he was rattling over there. He he was just shaking. I said 'what in the hell's the matter with you?' and he said 'well, that bugle does bad things for me' and I said 'well, what do you mean by that?' and he told me that 'well, I'm afraid of it. When that bugle goes off I'm shaking.' So I said 'OK, well, quit shaking and I'll tell you something.' And he didn't quit shaking but I decided to tell him something. And what I told him very simply was that 'if you put that gun up on the parapet there over your foxhole and you put it to your shoulder and you put your eye down there so that you can't see the sight that you'll be looking down it, and if you do this, the very next time that bugle goes off, then you point that gun right where you heard that bugle.' He said 'But I can't see 'em'. I said 'put it right where you heard it.' And he did and a few minutes later, that bugle went off and he touched off a bullet and you could hear it that bugle, and hitting a bugle's a little bit different than hitting a man, the sound. I said 'OK, you got 'im.' The night went on and the next morning went out there and sure enough, that bullet had gone right down that bugle and right into this joker's head, most of which was gone and I said 'you see there?' and Abernasty became about 6 fe

INT: But that wasn't the case with everybody. A lot of people got caught up

CB: (overlap) Lot of people

INT: (overlap) . in defiles. What happened to?

CB: (overlap) That's right. That's right. I don't know. I have no idea what happened to those people who didn't get out. But the 24th Infantry got out because they were not fit that it was my responsibility, that is, as far as routes of communication were concerned and they had no difficulty. I was able to get the message to them that this road that we had ploughed through -- and it wasn't a road really, it was just a trail -- but I put it through with a bulldozer and by then the ground was frozen and there's no difficulty in getting back to the main supply route, which went into Pyongyang and I don't know how many people came out that way but I know the 24th Infantry did. They lost a company and a lot is made of this company. I think it was C company who got lost, to the last man. Again, lack of communications, lack of leadership, 'cos the battalion commander should have been aware of the problem that they were having and done something about it and he wasn't there either and we lost a whole company. They all wound up in a prisoner of war camp and that's I know about them and they were there for the rest of the war.