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Saturday, December 12, 2009

20th BATTALION COMBAT TEAM (Motorized)

Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK)
Motto: We Lead

The first contingent of the 20th BCT arrived in Korea a few weeks before the Battle of Yuldong. The rest of the battalion officially took over the line from the 10th BCT on 5 September 1951.

A veteran unit in the anti-Huk campaign, the 20th brought 1,400 men to the Korean War. Its battalion commander was Col. Salvador Abcede.

The 20th inherited a new kind of war from the 10th. Both the UNC and the Communists opened armistice negotiations to end the war beginning July 1951, first at the town of Kaesong then at Panmunjom. As a result, the great attacks and counterattacks of the war’s first year gave way to a stalemate on the battlefield.

The war became akin to the Western Front in France during World War 1. A deadly "No Man’s Land" studded with land mines, fenced by barbed wire and defended by thousands of machine guns developed between the two sides The war turned into a series of patrols, raids and small scale but vicious actions in which each side tried to “improve” its line by seizing vital terrain. Artillery took on a dominant role in the constricted battlefront.

At the time the stalemate settled in, the UNC was back roughly to where it was before the Great Spring Offensive of the CPV on 22 April 1951. This line was just above the 38th parallel. Attached to the US 3rd Infantry Division, the 20th took part in actions along the 38th Parallel and northeast of Chorwon with other UNC troops.

Battlefields of the 20th BCT along the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ.

During the Allies’ autumn offensive, the 20th attacked and forced the Chinese from Hills 277, 321, 300 and 313. In its forward drive, the 20th penetrated the farthest north (towards Pyongyang) than any UNC unit.

Men of the 20th attack a communist Chinese held hill.
In late October the 20th took part in the Allied attack on the heavily defended “Iron Triangle,” made up of the cities of Pyonggang, Kumhwa and Chorwon. It took two hills from the CPV and repelled tank-led enemy attacks at Sibyon-yi. In late November, the battalion was in Kojang-yari, west of the Imjin River.

Commanding Officer Col Salvador Abcede

It was part of the UNC force that established the truce demarcation line and beat off repeated CPV attacks on this line. With the US 67th Infantry Regiment, the 20th repelled the CPV 64th Army that attacked the UNC line east of the Imjin River.

North Korean army officer taken prisoner by the 20th.

In late 1951 and early 1952, the 20th was engaged in establishing outposts in strategic terrain and in beating off CPV assaults on these forward positions.

Offensive patrols raided CPV positions to the north. In March and April, the 20th was committed east of the Imjin. Patrol actions continued with the battalion knocking out several CPV tanks and self-propelled guns and inflicting close to 400 casualties on the enemy. The battalion took part in the action to rescue a Greek battalion attacked by the CPV in mid-March.

.30 cal. machine gun crew awaits the communist Chinese enemy.

At the town of Karhwagol, west of Chorwon, the battalion fought the CPV in nine combat actions, seven of which were close quarter fights at Hills Eerie, 191, 200, 198, Yoke and Old Baldy.

Radioman.

Later on, the 20th fought at Pork Chop Hill and at the Alligator Jaw, a terrain feature so named because its hills and ridges formed the letter V. Hill Eerie, a particularly infamous hill that had changed hands many times, was attacked and taken for the last time on 21 May by a platoon commanded by Lt. Fidel Ramos, who became President of the Philippines in 1994.

Pfc Dalmacio Ligada receives the Philippine Wounded Soldier's Medal from BGen Thomas Cross.

In 350 days of combat, the 20th lost 13 men killed in action, 100 wounded in action and one man missing in action. The battalion’s combat experience from the anti-Huk campaign helped keep casualties low, as did the introduction of body armor.

Filipinos test the new body armor that was later to save many lives.






7 comments:

  1. Dear Art,

    My Lolo ret. Col Venancio Tapia (PMA 45) served in Korea with Pres. Ramos and was with him in that infamous hill. My Lolo is now 88 yrs old and in fact while writing this he is confined at the Phil Heart Center. His name can never be seen in those monuments nor ever mentioned on the internet. Of course ,it does not mean he is forgotten nor the 7ooo men who fought in Korea. But as a way of tribute to the 20th BCT, can you pls send me a colored copy of their battalion logo/badge?im planning to have it tattoed as my tribute to the 20th.
    thanks a lot and may the memory of korea live on..
    simon miranda

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  2. btw,pls send it on my email
    mnlstm@cathaypacific.com
    thanks..

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  3. Hi this is a bit late, I was researching the PEFTOK, as a re-enactor project, where I came upon this, and after reading about your Lolo ret. Col Venancio Tapia in our blog. Why can your Lolo never be mentioned on the monument, or in the Internet? What did he do that would make him unmentionable on the monument?

    Oh, before I forget; I"m Manang Cam; a 63 year old Filipina/American who served during the Vietnam era (68-71) with the US Army in Germany. Plus I was affiliated with the Cal National Guard, Reserves and Air Force Reserves during Desert Storm/Shield 1.

    So with that in mind, I have this interest in the military.

    Take care
    Manang

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  4. Mr. Villasanta I wish to share photos of my late father, Col. Mariano V. Aguilar while he was in Korea. Perhaps some of those photos were taken by your father including that photo with the old Seoul City Hall in the background. Please advise how I can post those photos in your blog. Regards

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  5. You can email the photos to me at peftok@yahoo.com. Also include the captions.

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  6. Hi sir,

    Do have any record of our fellow kababayan Pvt. Pedro Miranda from Cantilan, Surigao del Sur? He was with the 20th BCT. I saw him on the list years ago online but no available data about how he survived the war.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry but I don't have any data on him. You can ask the PEFTOK Veterans Association, Inc. their phone is 911-25-79.

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