Puerto Rico's 

"Time Line: Outpost Kelly, Jackson Heights, and the Courts-Martial"

September – October 1952



7-8                              Co. F, 2d Bn, 65th Infantry relieves Co. B, 1st Bn, 15th Infantry on KELLY HILL (the key hill of

                                    the OPLR of the left battalion sector).


10                                0015 hours.  65th Infantry assumes responsibility  for the left

regimental sector of the 3d Inf Div.


17-18                                                    Left battalion sector held by the 3d Reconnaissance Company on the

left, Co. G in the center, and Co. F on the right.  Co. C occupied KELLY, TESSIE,

and NICK.  Co. outposted BETTY with a squad.


17                                                               2030 hours. Co C repulses a small enemy probe from direction of BREADLOAF.


2215 hours.  KELLY repulses a reinforced company-size attack from the direction of Hill 164

in a 25 minute firefight.


2230 hours.  KELLY repulses a two-company attack after a fifty minute firefight.  The attack

 is largely stopped by the calling down of VT fire on the position.  Commonwealth and

Corps artillery assist in the breakup of the attack.


18                                                               0245 hours.  CCF strike Co. B with two reinforced companies from the southwest and

                                    northeast.The attack is supported by mortar and artillery fire (135 rounds).  Friendly defensive

                                    fires consist of 4426 artillery rounds and 257 55-mm artillery rounds.


2142 hours.  Communications with OP KELLY lost.


2240 hours.  OP KELLY in the possession of the enemy.


19                                                               0630 hours.  15 friendly POWs sighted being marched to the CCF rear from OP KELLY. 

                                    Very few of the Company C. regain the MLR [Main Line of Resistance].


20                                                              Full scale attempt made to recapture OP KELLY.  Cos. A and C lead the initial attack,

                                    followed by elements of Co. E and B.  Attack continues in piecemeal fashion from 0001 to

                                   1530 hours at which time all units close the MLR.  “Two battalions had been employed

                                   against a force estimate at one reinforced rife company on KELLY and failed completely to

                                   take the objective.”


                                   During the period 191800I September to 2118000I September, 3d Infantry Division fires

                                   13,045 rounds.  Incoming artillery and mortar fire totaled 2,754 rounds.


24                                                               Final attack to recover OP KELLY launched by 3d Battalion, 65th Infantry.  Cos. L

                                    and K were to attack abreast; Co. I (battalion reserve) to remain in position on Hill 105.  Artillery

                                    preparation of 30 minute duration from 0520 to 0550.  Attack supported by tanks from the 64th

                                    Tank Battalion (M) and by fire from position on the MLR.


0550 hours. Cos. L and K cross the line of departure, the trail between KELLY and the finger of

TESSIE, attacking from the east.


0710 hours.  Co. L reports elements of the company on the hill.  Co. K halted and dispersed

short of the objective by mortar fire.  Repeated attempts by Co. L to take the summit of KELLY fail. 


0830 hours.  Contact with Co. K lost.


0915 hours.  Company I has been under artillery fire.  58th FA forward observer reports that Co. I

is disorganized to the point that only one officer and one or one-and-a-half platoons left.


1045 hours.  Shattered elements of Co. K return to the MLR.  Co. L in a trench one-third the way

up the hill. Co I disorganized.


1130 hours.  All friendly elements disengage.


1210 hours. All friendly elements return to the MLR.  Artillery liaison officer present on the ground

estimates that there is only about two platoons left organized in the battalion.


                                  “This action of the 24 [sic] on KELLY deserves close examination.  The intention had been to

                                   swat a fly with a sledgehammer.”  Accordingly, a whole fresh battalion, supported by tanks

                                   and nearly 25,000 rounds of artillery attacked an estimated reinforced company of enemy.  Only

                                   about a platoon of company “L” ever reached KELLY, and this platoon reached only the

                                   southwest knob.  The disintegration of companies “K” and “I” was not gradual or orderly. 

                                   Colonel T. F. Counihan, observing the debacle from the regimental OP east of the IMJIN, witnessed

                                   men in full flight from the vicinity of TESSIE, without helmets, weapons, or even shirts.  The

                                   commanding General, General Dulaney, picked up a group of 30-50 men straggling back in similar

                                   state of undress all along the “new road”, a tank trail recently built around the NE of the left

                                   battalion MLR.  Colonel Counihan, in watching the “I” company disintegration, actually saw

                                   only two mortar rounds land in the vicinity although he estimates that the total must have

                                   been considerably more than that.  The shattered battalion received only 521 incoming

                                   mortar and artillery rounds and sustained only    141 casualties.”  [Command Report,

                                  3d Inf Div, Oct 52,Entry 429, RG 407, Box 2997, NARA]


29-30                        3d Infantry Division moves from defensive positions Line JAMESTOWN to IX Corps reserve

                                  area vicinity YONGPYONG.




1 Oct                          3d Infantry Division (-) passes from the Operational Control (OPCON) of I US Corps to IX US

                                               Corps and moves to IX Corps reserve area vic. YONG P’ YONG.  3d Division Artillery and 64th Tank

                                                Battalion (Medium) remain OPCON to I US Corps and in direct support of the 1st ROK Infantry Division. 


5 Oct                           All elements of the Division embark on an intensive 60 hour training week, 21 day training cycle

                                                stressing offensive combat.


New Regimental commander replaced Colonel Cordero, who returns to Puerto Rico.  “There

was much to indicate that Colonel Cordero was not a disciplinarian.  The new regimental

commander took steps to restore that disciplinary control so necessary to an effective

organization.” [3d Inf Div Command Report, Oct 52,Entry 429, RG 407, Box 2997]


13 Oct                         64th Tank Battalion (M) reverts to the control of 3d Inf Div.


14-21 Oct                  IX US Corps employs the 64th Tank Battalion (M) in support of the 9th

ROK Infantry Division which is being hard pressed by the CCF.


21 Oct                         3d Div Artillery released from OPCON of I US Corps and passes to

OPCON of IX US Corps Artillery.


23-25 Oct             Relief of 9th ROK Infantry Division by 3d Infantry Division.  Relief completed at 0330 hours

                                                 25 October. Commander 3d Infantry Division assumes responsibility for new sector, which

                                                 includes Jackson Heights.


65th Infantry assigned to right regimental area.  3rd Bn assigned to the left battalion area;

2d Bn assigned to the right battalion area; 1st Bn kept as regimental reserve.  65th assumes

responsibility for the sector at 240600I October.


25 Oct                        Co. G, 65th Infantry relieves elements of the 9th ROK Division on JACKSON HEIGHTS (CT 477435),

                                    1800 meters forward of the MLR.


27 Oct                  1925 hours.  Company Commander, Co. G, 2d Bn, 65th Infantry, reports 250 CCF

                                               attacking his position on JACKSON HEIGHTS.  Reports of enemy shelling during the evening.


2145 hours.  Total casualties, 10 WIA in Co. G


2200 hours.  Platoon nearest Hill 391 cut off and virtually destroyed.

2230 hours. Two companies of CCF attack the remaining platoons of Co. G.


2330 hours.  Co G withdraws through Co. F.


28 Oct                        Counterattack by Cos. A and F. 


                                   “The counterattack by companies “F” and “A” in the morning of 28 Oct 52 was slightly

confused in the minds of the company commanders concerned.  JACKSON HEIGHTS, the objective,

consists of a knife-edge ridge approximately perpendicular to the direction of the enemy.  Beyond

this ridge along a finger running approximately north-south is a knob, objective B.  The attack was

 made in column of companies, “F” company leading, A” company following.  The understanding

of the company commander, company “F”, was that company “A” was to pass through and seize

the knob after “F” had taken JACKSON HEIGHTS.  Company Commander of company “A” believed

 that his was only a support company.  (The battalion commander 2d Bn, 65th Inf was later relieved

 for his inability to control or influence this whole action.” .” [3d Inf Div Command Report, Oct 52,

Entry 429, RG 407, Box 2997]


0645 hours.  After a ten-minute artillery preparation, Co. F crosses the LD.


0835 hours.  Although receiving some artillery and mortar fire, Co. F seizes JACKSON HEIGHTS. 

 Co. A starts up the heights.


1010 hours.  Co A arrives on the crest of JACKSON HEIGHTS.  Cos. F and A partially immobilized

by enemy fire.  Each Commander thinks his stay on JACKSON HEIGHTS is only temporary.


Early Afternoon.  A mortar round kills the Co. A Commander, his FO and one platoon leader. 

Co. A left with only one badly wounded officer.


1500 hours.  Co F Commander notices a large number of Co. A personnel leaving JACKSON HEIGHTS.


1700 hours.  All Cos. A and F personnel have left JACKSON HEIGHTS with the exception of

our officers of Co. F.  These officers depart for the MLR.


                                    Incoming artillery rounds for the period: 485 artillery rounds, 418 mortar rounds.


                                   “It should be noted that the conduct of continental officers during this operation was excellent. 

                                    Despite the hazards of moving, these officers of “F” company made every effort to stop the men

                                    departing.  The fact that there were multiple routes of retreat, plus the fact that they could not

                                    communicate with the men, defeated them.  In “A” company, all continental officers were

                                    casualties, three of them killed. “F” company had one officer killed.  The remaining officers (4)

                                    were the last men to leave JACKSON HEIGHTS.  The Division Commander andthe Assistant

                                    Division Commander during the period feel that the continental officers of the 65th Infantry

                                    Regiment are high-type leaders, with exceptional records.”  [3d Inf Div Command Report, Oct 52,

                                    Entry 429, RG 407, Box 2997]


29 Oct                        0515 hours.  Co C minus the Company Commander cross the LD to occupy JACKSON HEIGHTS.


0720 hours.  Co C occupies JACKSON HEIGHTS without contact, despite delay caused by

fog and flare ships.  Company Commander estimates that 30 of the original 130 men departing

the assembly area find excuses to fall out of formation before reaching the objective.  One

bunker and numerous fighting positions found on the objective.  Some carnage present from

the previous days fighting.


“Almost immediately the acting company commander found that his lead platoon was minus one squad. 

When the platoon leader went to the base of the hill to bring up the squad he discovered considerable

 numbers of troops leaving.  No efforts of the officers could stop them.  Communication with the platoons

was out, the company commander believes, because of cut wires.  By 0955 only 4 officers and 16 men

were left on JACKSON HEIGHTS.  No friendly casualties as the result of enemy action.  Incoming rounds

 281800 to 291800 Oct: 46 artillery, 36 mortar.” [3d Inf Div Command Report, Oct 52,Entry 429, RG 407,

Box 2997]   


30 Oct                         65th Infantry opens Command Post vicinity CT426117 and makes

preparation to conduct an extensive training program.




2 Nov            Three CCF platoons attack JACKSON HEIGHTS from three different

directions simultaneously in an attempt to overrun the friendly outpost.  Enemy withdraws after

a fifty-five minute firefight.


One officer and one hundred-twenty two enlisted men released from confinement and placed in

arrest in 65th Infantry Regiment area.


3 Nov                         39 enlisted men from Company L, 65th Infantry Regiment on a Contact Patrol refuse to

                                    continue mission against the enemy. All are placed in arrest in the 65th Infantry Regiment.


4-5 Nov                      “During hours of darkness 4-5 Nov, the Commanding General, 3d Infantry Division,

                                    relieved the remaining battalion of the 65th Infantry Regiment, at the request of the

                                    Commanding Officer, 15th Infantry Regiment.  The 65th Infantry is now relieved for training,

                                    all but one battalion relieved from any reserve status, a procedure almost never followed.” .”

                                    [3d Inf Div Command Report, Oct 52,Entry 429, RG 407, Box 2997]


6 Nov                         0125 hours.  CCF company-size formation attacks JACKSON HEIGHTS, defended by a platoon

                                    of F Company, 15th Infantry. Firefight ends at 0210.


0230 hours.  CCF attacks again in battalion strength.  Friendly units withdraw to Hill 270,

another friendly OP several hundred meters to the south, after an intense firefight lasting one

hour and twenty minutes.


                                    0745 hours.  Platoon from F Company departs Hill 270 for JACKSON

HEIGHTS and occupies same at 1145 without any contact.


Division fires over 1,000 rounds in support of the 15th Infantry Regiment in defense of JACKSON

HEIGHTS, the largest number of rounds fired for the reporting period.  It is estimated that from

200 to 300 casualties were inflicted on the enemy in this action.


Document taken from a dead CCF in the vicinity of JACKSON HEIGHTS identifies the 132nd

Regiment, 44th Division of the 15th CCF Army (which is opposing 3d Inf Div).


6-11 Nov                   Period of give and take in the JACKSON HEIGHTS area. Possession of the hill in doubt.

 11 Nov                      Enemy takes control of the topmost part of Jackson Heights.

using “inching forward” tactics and remains in this advantageous position for the remainder of the

 November Friendly forces continue to maintain an outpost position on the southwest finger of

Jackson Heights (CT 474433) 13 Nov 0450 hours. 3rd Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment taken

from Operational Control of the 15th Infantry Regiment and passed to Division control to be

used as Division reserve striking force (replacing the 3d Battalion, 15 Infantry).  1st Tank

Platoon remains attached to 3rd Battalion.

 65th Infantry Regiment (-) remains in Corps Reserve and conducts training.

 27 Nov                        With concurrence of the 3d Inf Div Commanding General, charges against 87 member

                                    of the 65th Infantry are forwarded for GCM for trial.  Service members are from the following units:


·        20 from Company C, 1st Battalion

·        29 from Company F, 2nd Battalion

·        35 from Company L, 3rd Battalion

·        1 from Company M, 65th Infantry

                                    .     2 from Medical Company, 65th Infantry

28 Nov                       3d Battalion, 65th Infantry relieves 1st Battlion, 15th Infantry of its defensive sector on the MLR.

                                    65th Infantry (-), with Command Post located at CT 426117, conducts a training program throughout

                                    the period under Division supervision.


[“Recapitulation of General Court Martial Activities” shows 90 personnelfrom the 7th Infantry Regiment

tried by General Court Martial for the period 1 – 31 December 1952.  The trails of another four of the 65th Infantry by

Summary Court Martial have been delayed due to tactical movements in the Regiment. See “Recapitulation of General

Court Martial Activities” and “Monthly Court Martial Activities for 1 – 31 December 1952,” SJA, 3rd Inf Div, Dec 52,

Box 3004 (Army-AG Command Reports, 1949-54, Third Inf Div, Supp Docs, Part II, vols 5-7), Entry 429, RG 407, NARA,

Washington, D.C.]

 [Researcher’s Note: In all 104 soldiers of the regiment were charged for offenses committed at JACKSON HEIGHTS on 28 and 29 October and 3 November. Ninety-six, including one officer, were court-martialed in 15 common trials. Of these, four had been acquitted. Finally, eight had the charges against them thrown out.

Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens, who had earlier approved the sentences handed out to the men of the regiment, moved quickly to overturn them. By 14 July 1953 h had granted clemency to 53 of the regiment?s soldiers. By 1954 all the sentences had been remitted. The last pardoned was Lieutenant Juan E. Guzman, the first to have been court-martialed. A number of unsuccessful appeals by the men of the 65th indicate that, without Steven?s personnel intervention, they probably  would have served out their full sentences. The majority returned to serve the Army in Panama and Puerto Rico, the stigma of the court-martials following them for the rest of their lives. Many never told their friends or families, who remain unaware to this day. Most are reluctant to revisit that part of their past.

Colonel Gilberto Villahermosa is a U.S. Army Officer currently serving at Regional Headquarters Allied Forces North, Brunssum, The Netherlands. He is the author of “Glory and Honor” The 65th Infantry Regiment ‘Borinqueneers’ in Korea, 1950-1953.” His articles on the regiment in Korea and Hispanics in the Army have been published in Army magazine and his entries on Hispanics, African-Americans, and Women in the U.S. military have been published in Scribner’s latest ten volume Dictionary of American History.

Sources :
Command Report, 3d Inf Div, Nov 52,p. 2, Box 2999 (Army-AG Command Reports, 1949-54, Third Infantry Division     Narrative, Part I, November 1952),Entry 429, Record Group (RG) 407, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington D.C.


Supp Docs, 3d Inf Div, Nov 52, Box 3001, Entry 429, RG 407, NARA.

Cmd Rpt, 3d Inf Div, Dec 52, Box 3002,Entry 429, RG 407, NARA.

Supp Docs, 3d Inf Div, Dec 52, Box 3004, Entry 429, RG 407, NARA.

Command Rpt, 65th Inf Regt, Nov 51, Box 3050 , Entry 429, RG 407, NARA