One of the Most Bad Ass Stories Ever Told…
Okay, I’m going to level with you here… I totally stole this story. I don’t remember where I stole it from. It rocks though. I read this story in a magazine somewhere, and googled the hell out of it a few years ago until I found it. So… to whomever wrote it several years ago… nice work. Try to make your name more memorable though. Try a name like ‘Floyd Francisco’. I would’ve remembered that.
This story is even more amazing than when my son was a baby, and he could poop with such force that it would literally blow out the top of his shirt in the back. I was in awe of his asstastic powers.
Yeah… but this is better than that. Here ya go:
Korean War, Kumhwa Valley, 1951
THE BATTLE FOR HILL 400
At one end of the eight-inch trench knife was 20-year-old lieutenant David Hackworth. The receiving end of the blade was pressed against the neck of one of his men, who, despite being a combat veteran, was refusing to continue up the volcano-shaped mountain toward the 40 waiting Chinese.
“I’d just as soon cut your throat as fuck with you,” the lieutenant whispered. “You either go on this raid or die. Make up your mind.” The soldier decided to go.
Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse—that was the motto of the Wolfhound Raiders, a Special Forces unit. After a string of daredevil successes, they’d been given the daunting task of taking Hill 400—the region’s highest point and a key North Korean stronghold.
At midnight on November 4, 1951, the 39 Raiders jumped off. Two hours later they were under the Chinese perimeter wire. Stealth was their greatest asset, so when Hackworth unexpectedly spotted a sentry’s head sticking out of a trench, the Raider leader bellied up behind the enemy, who had fallen asleep on duty. For the second time that night, Hackworth grabbed his trench knife, and then in one swift move he cupped his victim’s mouth, snapped his head back, and slit his throat. He continued down the trench.
The Raiders were about to attack when one of their men, Jimmie Mayamura, reported that the enemy force was greater than anticipated—well over 200. But before the Americans could reassess the game plan, the hill exploded.
U.S. artillery began to rain down like a steel curtain on the Chinese positions. The Raiders scurried forward but were met with a hail of grenades. Their only chance was to close with the enemy. Jack Speed led his men in a wild charge up the hill and piled into the trenches, guns blazing. The price was high: three Raiders killed, 20 wounded.
One heavy machine-gun nest was raking another Raider position. William Smith and James Salazar volunteered to take it out. They ran forward. Salazar laid down suppressing fire as Smith hurled two antitank grenades toward the bunker. A direct hit. A thunderous explosion threw dirt, metal, and flesh in every direction. As they hurried back to their positions, both men were cut down. Smith’s momentum carried him a few more feet, rolling him into Hackworth’s arms, where he died.
The Raiders fanned out and broke for the top of the hill, coming right up under their umbrella of 60 mm mortar support. The Chinese stood their ground and fought for their lives. “Grenade!” someone yelled. Hackworth dived for cover. A second later, the frag rolled under his chest. “His ass went into orbit—at least 10 or 15 feet,” according to Jack Speed, who saw his CO hit the ground on fire, his left arm hanging off at the shoulder. “I yelled out, ‘The Old Man’s dead!’”
As dawn broke, the battered Raiders found themselves scattered all over the battlefield: Chief Denny was shot in both arms, and Al Hearn, lying next to him, was blinded by a head injury, so Hearn held the rifle and Denny directed his fire. Tex Garvin was crippled with leg wounds but remained in the firefight; Speed got hit in the belly: “I stuck a handkerchief into the hole and just kept shooting.”
The Old Man wasn’t dead. His machine gun had taken the brunt of the grenade’s explosion. After getting an arm sling and a shot of morphine from a medic, Hackworth assembled every conscious Raider for one last push. The 20 warriors crested the hill and got pinned down by a screaming machine gun. Mayamura and Robert Evans rushed it. They knocked out the crew, but it cost them their lives. Evans died before hitting the ground. Mayamura got shot in the eye and died a few days later. But Hill 400 had finally been captured.
As relieving units arrived, the 30-odd badly wounded men helped one another to the aid station. There they saw seven hauntingly familiar corpses, each draped with a poncho. Last year on October 8, surviving Raiders—Hackworth, Speed, John Lipka, Julian Morrison, and Dave Forte—reunited in Hampton, Virginia to relive the horror-filled night they took Hill 400.
(this story was brought to you by the immeasurable awesomeness of Matt Hiley, with special thanks to Johnny ‘Longbow’ Wolfe, Jeffrey ‘El Padrino’ Wooten, and Flashdance McWashabau)