Named the Avengers by then Secretary of National Defense Ramon Magsaysay because of its splendid record in the anti-Huk campaign, the 14th BCT under Col. Nicanor Jimenez stepped onto Korean soil on 26 March 1953.
The battalion’s mission was to deny the enemy use of the valley and secure commanding terrain at “Sandbag Castle” and Heartbreak Ridge. A rifle company and a platoon of tanks defended the valley floor. Perched above them, on Sandbag Castle and Heartbreak Ridge, were two companies.
Aggressive patrols into enemy territory sparked short but vicious close quarter combats. During one such patrol, a squad under Staff Sgt. Ponciano Agno of “C” Company rescued another squad trapped by the Chinese.
|14th BCT CO Col Nicanor Jimenez receives the South Korean Presidential Streamer from Pres. Syngman Rhee.|
One of the men rescued, Pfc. Aquilino Agustin, was captured by the Chinese and only escaped by selflessly exploding two grenades in the face of his captors. The explosion killed the Chinese and riddled Agustin’s armored vest and helmet with shrapnel. Agustin received the US Silver Star for this heroic act.
After two months at the front during which it lost four men KIA and 27 WIA, the battalion was relieved by units of the US 45th Infantry Division.
On its return to the front, the 14th took part in the rescue of the ROK 20th Division being heavily attacked by the CPV. The battalion was designated a counter attack force and established blocking positions to cut off the CPV. On the evening of 14 June, the CPV bombarded the battalion’s blocking position for 12 hours with massive artillery fire killing two men and wounding six others.
|Heavily armed combat patrol at briefing before moving out for the DMZ.|
The following morning, “A” and “B” Companies counterattacked at Christmas Hill, which the CPV had taken from an American company. After being delayed by rain and sleet, the counterattack made good progress and regained Christmas Hill. CPV casualties totaled over 200 killed in this action. In the afternoon, the battalion deployed to new positions.
|Sgt Ponciano Agno receives the Gold Star from Brig Gen PD Ginder, CG, US 45th Infantry Division.|
On 18 July, the battalion beat off an enemy company that was probing its defenses. At Hill 500 on the State-re front, the Chinese tried to persuade the 14th to “go home.” “We are not your enemies,” the Chinese screamed over their loudspeakers. They were ignored.
|Filipinos at a listening post on the lookout for enemy movement.|
On the 24 July, “A” Company was hit by heavy enemy artillery fire that continued for the next three days. Thousands of rounds were hurled at the battalion disrupting communications and re-supply. The battalion’s artillery returned fire and expended thousands of rounds against the Chinese artillery and infantry positions.
In late July, the 14th was pulled out of the front line and moved to the Yanggu Valley. In this new base, the battalion embarked on an intensive training program and joined in efforts to rebuild villages along the Yanggu Valley.
|14th BCT man takes a South Korean bride.|
For its efforts, the 14th received the South Korean Presidential Unit Citation in December 1953, and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation upon its return home in March 1954.
|The Avengers cheer the Armistice, 27 July 1953.|