Before the Deployment:
In Japan
 A Photo Essay


The first units deployed to confront the invasion by North Korea came from various locations in southern Japan, all in different states of readiness. It has been written by historians that units initially deployed were at very low levels of readiness. This may or may not be true, depending on the specific unit being addressed. Further north in Japan the units were at a higher state of readiness because they were not attracted by the big city lights of Tokyo and its environs. The 31st Infantry Regiment had the good fortune of being stationed on the northern island of Hokkaido with a climate that enjoyed winters of heavy snowfall and moderately cold temperatures, an excellent area for cold weather training. Regretfully, many men with cold weather training were called to meet the draft for the first units deployed, resulting in the loss of those with cold weather experience that was so necessary later during the Chosin campaign. A number of former prisoners of war captured at the Chosin attribute their survival to the cold weather training whey had received in Hokkaido. 

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3OfficersFuji.jpg (45005 bytes)

This photograph was taken a few weeks before the regiment loaded out of Yokohama for Korea. Right: Major Lester K. Olson, regimental S-3 (operations officer) who was seriously wounded during the action south of the Suwon airfield and evacuated. Center: Lieutenant Colonel William Reilly, commander of the 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry, seriously wounded the night of 27-28 November at the Inlet east of the Chosin Reservoir and one of the few to be evacuated from that action. Left: Major Berry K. Anderson who at the time of the photo was S-3 of the 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry. After Major Olson was wounded he was transferred to the position of regimental S-3, promoted to lieutenant colonel in early November 1950, and at the Chosin Reservoir was senior Army officer present in command of the "Provisional Battalion" attached to the 7th Marines for the breakout.  All officers in the photo are deceased. 
Photo by (then 1st Lt) George Rasula. 


XCSkier.jpg (35368 bytes)

1LT George Rasula, a four-event ski racer, cooling down after winning the 7th Infantry Division cross-country race in Hokkaido, January 1950. During that winter Rasula placed first in all cross-country races, second and third in downhill and slalom races, with jumping being a fun event. -U.S. Army Photograph

GenBarr&Rasula.jpg (24155 bytes) MG David Barr awarding first place cross country trophy to 1LT George Rasula, 7th Infantry division ski meet, January 1950, Hokkaido, Japan. -U.S. Army Photograph

K_Co_maneuver.jpg (61833 bytes) 1LT George Rasula, then commanding King Company, 3/31/7, with SFC Calvin Johnson, platoon sergeant, on field exercises during maneuvers in Hokkaido. Japan, early Spring 1950. -U.S. Army Photograph

 

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