Col. W. A. Sidney

Korea 1952

Co. W. A. Sidney

Korea 1952

Co. W. A. Sidney

“I have but one regret in life, that I was unable to attain a soldier’s immortality and that is to die in battle for the service of my country.”

You are ordered tp attack Hill121. Lt. Sidney, the officer leading the raid seeks ” to attain a soldier’s immortality”. Read on.

Interred in Arlington National Cemetery lies Col. W. A. Sidney. When Company L was sent to reserve, he came to us as Lt. Sidney, our commanding officer. In the face of danger, he was fearless. He replaced Captain “Command Post Smith” who never ventured out of his bunker (his command post).

Lt. Sidney was a role model for a US Army recruiting poster. It would have drawn many recruits into the service. He was tall, he was handsome, he was brazen. It seemed as if his fatigues was customized by a tailor from London’s Savile Row. He was a standout wherever he went.

On Sundays, in reserve, the company had a USO show or spent the morning reviewing the previous week’s maneuvers. He reserved Sunday for Organized Athletics (Organized Grabass), which included softball, boxing, throwing dummy hand grenades toward an open barrel, or trying to hit a target for those assigned a .45 cal. pistol. Since I was a BAR man, my side weapon was a .45 cal pistol.  I feared for my life if I had to depend upon this .45 cal. pistol.

After three weeks of training, Company L returned to the MLR (Main Line of Resistance)). Unlike “Command Post Smith,” our fears diminished when Lt. Sidney accompanied us on patrols or raids. Upon encountering the Chinese, he spread us out and yelled at the men with automatic weapons, “Fire in bursts! Fire in bursts! Don’t stay in one place! Move around!” When we returned to our positions on the MLR he smelled our barrels to be sure we fired our weapons.

On the night of August 8, 1952 we were to raid and occupy Hill 117. Our platoons ambushed. Lt Sidney moved towards each man to direct their fire then stood up and yelled at the Chinese, “We’re coming at you, you bastards!” Oh yes, the fear was there, but that simple shout gave us the motivation to return fire. We suffered casualties, but I’m sure that his action dealt the Chinese a heavy blow.

On every raid, he presented optional paths of withdrawal and passed this mantra on to his officers and NCOs. When we were ambushed, to avoid further casualties, rather than return on the trail we had passed, Lt. Sidney sent us down a cliff and into the Imjin River. We waded safely to our bunkers. On another occasion, he set up our recoilless rifle team on a knoll just behind our targeted Hill 12l. We were about to withdraw when we heard ear-piercing screams. A squad of Chinese had tried to ambush us from our rear, but the recoilless rifle team on the knoll incinerated them with white phosphorus rounds.

In preparation for a planned United Nations assault on the Chinese from the north, I was sent to Japan to integrate and train with the recruits that had arrived from stateside, but the truce was signed before the invasion. I later learned that Capt. Sidney directed a helicopter base in Vietnam. He earned his third CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge). I was discharged on Sept. 19, 1953.

The years had passed. With the help of the GI Bill, I was graduated from The City College of New York, and then taught high school biology for thirty years. After I had retired, I moved to Florida.

My wife answered a phone call.

“Danny, pick up the phone. This guy scares me.” “Who is this?” I asked.

“It’s Flaherty, you dummy!”

“The last time I saw you, you were lying on a litter with your bloody jaw spread out on your chest.”

“Forget about that. I found Col. Sidney and seventy-nine addresses of men from Company L. I remember you helped the guys write letters to their wives and girlfriends. I want you to write a newsletter so that we could have a reunion.”

Col. Sidney was living with his ex-wife, Ava in Winter Park, FL. Flaherty was living in Merritt Island, FL. My home was in Boca Raton, FL. To plan the reunion, Ray, Sid and I met at an outdoor restaurant in Merritt Island. After a brief discussion, people within earshot started moving their chairs toward us in order to listen to Col. Sidney. He was a dynamic presence.

Col. Sidney attended three more annual reunions and finally, he passed away on January 18, 2000. He was the glue that kept us together. With Col. Sidney gone and age slowing us down, there were no more reunions, but our men whenever they visit Washington pay him a well-earned visit.

Interred in Arlington National Cemetery lies Col. W. A. Sidney. When Company L was sent to reserve, he came to us as Lt. Sidney, our commanding officer. In the face of danger, he was fearless. He replaced Captain “Command Post Smith” who never ventured out of his bunker (his command post).

Lt. Sidney was a role model for a US Army recruiting poster. It would have drawn many recruits into the service. He was tall, he was handsome, he was brazen. It seemed as if his fatigues was customized by a tailor from London’s Savile Row. He was a standout wherever he went.

On Sundays, in reserve, the company had a USO show or spent the morning reviewing the previous week’s maneuvers. He reserved Sunday for Organized Athletics (Organized Grabass), which included softball, boxing, throwing dummy hand grenades toward an open barrel, or trying to hit a target for those assigned a .45 cal. pistol. Since I was a BAR man, my side weapon was a .45 cal pistol

After three weeks of training, Company L returned to the MLR (Main Line of Resistance)). Unlike “Command Post Smith,” our fears diminished when Lt. Sidney accompanied us on patrols or raids. Upon encountering the Chinese, he spread us out and yelled at the men with automatic weapons, “Fire in bursts! Fire in bursts! Don’t stay in one place! move around!” When we returned to our positions on the MLR he smelled our barrels to be sure we fired our weapons.

On the night of August 8, 1952 our platoons ambushed. Lt Sidney moved towards each man to direct their fire then stood up and yelled at the Chinese, “We’re coming at you, you bastards!” Oh yes, the fear was there, but that simple shout gave us the motivation to return fire. We suffered casualties, but I’m sure that his action dealt the Chinese a heavy blow.

On every raid, he presented optional paths of withdrawal and passed this mantra on to his officers and NCOs. When we were ambushed, to avoid further casualties, rather than return on the trail we had passed, Lt. Sidney sent us down a cliff and into the Imjin River. We waded safely to our bunkers. On another occasion, he set up our recoilless rifle team on a knoll just behind our targeted Hill 12l. We were about to withdraw when we heard ear-piercing screams. A squad of Chinese had tried to ambush us from our rear, but the recoilless rifle team on the knoll incinerated them with white phosphorus rounds.

In preparation for a planned United Nations assault on the Chinese from the north, I was sent to Japan to integrate and train with the recruits that had arrived from stateside, but the truce was signed before the invasion. I later learned that Capt. Sidney directed a helicopter base in Vietnam. He earned his third CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge). I was discharged on Sept. 19, 1953.

The years had passed. With the help of the GI Bill, I was graduated from The City College of New York, and then taught high school biology for thirty years. After I had retired, I moved to Florida.

My wife answered a phone call.

“Danny, pick up the phone. This guy scares me.” “Who is this?” I asked.

“It’s Flaherty, you dummy!”

“The last time I saw you, you were lying on a litter with your bloody jaw spread out on your chest.”

“Forget about that. I found Col. Sidney and seventy-nine addresses of men from Company L. I remember you helped the guys write letters to their wives and girlfriends. I want you to write a newsletter so that we could have a reunion.”

Col. Sidney was living with his ex-wife, Ava in Winter Park, FL. Flaherty was living in Merritt Island, FL. My home was in Boca Raton, FL. To plan the reunion, Ray, Sid and I met at an outdoor restaurant in Merritt Island. After a brief discussion, people within earshot started moving their chairs toward us in order to listen to Col. Sidney. He was a dynamic presence.

Col. Sidney attended three more annual reunions and finally, he passed away on January 18, 2000. He was the glue that kept us together. With Col. Sidney gone and age slowing us down, there were no more reunions, but our men whenever they visit Washington pay him a well-earned visit.

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