James Tate, Veteran of Heartbreak Ridge
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Jim, as he was called by friends and relatives, was a serious thinking man who never took friendships lightly. Just as he was willing
to risk his life saving those he did not know on foreign soil, so was he willing to help anyone he could when he returned home. What
is known of his exploits in Korea is gleaned from stories he reluctantly told to friends and family in his later life and from a couple
of documents saved from his personal effects.
After Jim's participation in the battle for Heartbreak Ridge, that lasted from September
13 to October 15, 1951, He wrote a letter home to his Uncle Woodrow in Louisiana about an incident in the battle. How this letter
got past the censors is anybody's guess. This letter was written as Jim recuperated from his wounds. This battle is also known as
the Battle of Wendengli.
During the advancement Jim writes, "Then everybody stops moving and I saw we were about ready to run back
(retreat), so I run out in front and let out a big western yell, and send a prayer to God and go on leading the boys in a bonsai attack.
Everybody was letting (out) the big western yells by then with our spirits (being so) high! The same time, a guy falls behind me hit
by a slug from a burp gun and also my platoon leader LT. Ellis rushed out in front and took the lead. Was I glad? Then wham! I look
at my left leg and from the knee down it is wet with blood! "Well, well, a few days of rest, I think to myself, and keep firing at
some running (Chinese Communists)! I had to stop because of my leg! I had a big thrill watching my buddies finish taking the finger
of the hill!"
Pusan Korea, 1951
Next installment will be the entire letter of the battle of Heartbreak Ridge as written
to Uncle Woodrow by Jim as he recuperates in the hospital.
America has placed little, to no importance, on the Korean Conflict in general. It was an important 'smaller war' as the whole Korean
Peninsula was in danger of becoming communistic, not to mention the 33,739 American lives lost there in hostile and non-hostile situations.
There was 103,284 GI's wounded in action during a very short time. Most of these soldiers were very young men (18-20) and some were
veterans of WW2.
My good friend, brother in the Lord, and veteran of the Korean Conflict, James Tate, suffered the remainder of his
life because of what he saw, and actually encountered in the early part of the K.W. The war lasted from June 5, 1950 to April 27,
2018 when the two leaders of North and South agreed to end aggression. This is still not official. PTSD was not known at the time
Jim was discharged from active duty.
James Tate, of Co. E, 9th Inf. Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, began life in a somewhat impoverished
family in Louisiana. He once told me that he only began to gain weight after he joined the U.S. Army. The chow was not always to his
liking, but nourishing at the least.