Friday, April 19, 2013

Fullbore Friday

Just a man?
With America's entry into the Second World War approaching, Congress passed the Selective Service Act. Don Faith was called in for his draft physical, but was rejected for the same dental disqualification that thwarted his admission to the United States Military Academy. However Faith was able to appeal the draft board's decision, and he was inducted on June 25, 1941. After completion of Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned on February 26, 1942.

Lieutenant Faith was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and spent the remainder of the war with the division. He served as both an aide to Brig. Gen. Matthew Ridgway and as a staff officer in the division. In addition to participating in all of the division's combat jumps during the war, Faith was awarded two Bronze Stars and was promoted to Lt. Colonel.

After World War II, Faith served with the military mission in China until it was withdrawn. His next assignment was with the 7th Infantry Division in Japan as a battalion commander. When the war in Korea broke out during the summer of 1950, Faith and the 7th Infantry were sent to help stop the invasion of North Korea. Faith was the Commander of the 1st Battalion, 32st Infantry Regiment.[2] The 31st RCT was part of the force that pushed north with the objective of reaching the Yalu River. The 31st RCT was on the eastern bank of the Chosin Reservoir when the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) stage a massive attack on the night of November 27, 1950. This began the Battle of Chosin Reservoir that would last until December 13, 1950.

During a desperate drive south by convoy along the only road on December 1, the 31st Regimental Commander, Colonel Allan D. MacLean was killed so the command of the entire regiment went to Faith.[3] Later the same day, Faith led an attack again a CCF roadblock when he was wounded by a fragment grenade. Faith was loaded into the cab of a 2 1/2 Ton Truck and with Pfc. Russell L. Barney driving it was the only truck to get through the last roadblock. As Barney was driving they were struck by small arms fire by the CCF at which time Faith was hit again and died. At some point Barney had to abandon the truck leaving Faith's body in the truck. Barney made it back to the safety of United Nations lines where he later reported his account.[4] Like all the dead and wounded who were killed by the CCF and left with all the abandoned convoy vehicles, as none of the convoy vehicles made it to safety, Faith was listed as Missing in Action.
For his action:
Medal of Honor Citation

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 59 (August 2, 1951)
Action Date: November 27 - December 1, 1950
Service: Army
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Company: Commanding Officer
Battalion: 1st Battalion
Regiment: 32d Infantry Regiment
Division: 7th Infantry Division

Citation:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Don Carlos Faith, Jr. (ASN: 0-46673), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty while Commanding the 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Hagaru-ri, (Chosin Reservoir) North Korea, from 27 November to 1 December 1950. When the enemy launched a fanatical attack against his battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Faith unhesitatingly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire as he moved about directing the action. When the enemy penetrated the positions, Lieutenant Colonel Faith personally led counterattacks to restore the position. During an attack by his battalion to effect a junction with another U.S. unit, Lieutenant Colonel Faith reconnoitered the route for, and personally directed, the first elements of his command across the ice-covered reservoir and then directed the movement of his vehicles which were loaded with wounded until all of his command had passed through the enemy fire. Having completed this he crossed the reservoir himself. Assuming command of the force his unit had joined he was given the mission of attacking to join friendly elements to the south. Lieutenant Colonel Faith, although physically exhausted in the bitter cold, organized and launched an attack which was soon stopped by enemy fire. He ran forward under enemy small-arms and automatic weapons fire, got his men on their feet and personally led the fire attack as it blasted its way through the enemy ring. As they came to a hairpin curve, enemy fire from a roadblock again pinned the column down. Lieutenant Colonel Faith organized a group of men and directed their attack on the enemy positions on the right flank. He then placed himself at the head of another group of men and in the face of direct enemy fire led an attack on the enemy roadblock, firing his pistol and throwing grenades. When he had reached a position approximately 30 yards from the roadblock he was mortally wounded, but continued to direct the attack until the roadblock was overrun. Throughout the five days of action Lieutenant Colonel Faith gave no thought to his safety and did not spare himself. His presence each time in the position of greatest danger was an inspiration to his men. Also, the damage he personally inflicted firing from his position at the head of his men was of material assistance on several occasions. Lieutenant Colonel Faith's outstanding gallantry and noble self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty reflect the highest honor on him and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.
(This award supersedes the prior award of the Silver Star (First Oak Leaf Cluster) as announced in G.O. No. 32, Headquarters X Corps, dated 23 February 1951, for gallantry in action on 27 November 1950.)[7]
Don, welcome home.
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a serviceman, who was unaccounted-for from the Korean War, has been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Lt. Col. Don C. Faith Jr. of Washington, Ind., will be buried April 17, in Arlington National Cemetery. Faith was a veteran of World War II and went on to serve in the Korean War. In late 1950, Faith’s 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, which was attached to the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), was advancing along the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir, in North Korea. From Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, 1950, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) encircled and attempted to overrun the U.S. position. During this series of attacks, Faith’s commander went missing, and Faith assumed command of the 31st RCT. As the battle continued, the 31st RCT, which came to be known as “Task Force Faith,” was forced to withdraw south along Route 5 to a more defensible position. During the withdrawal, Faith continuously rallied his troops, and personally led an assault on a CPVF position.

Records compiled after the battle of the Chosin Reservoir, to include eyewitness reports from survivors of the battle, indicated that Faith was seriously injured by shrapnel on Dec. 1, 1950, and subsequently died from those injuries on Dec. 2, 1950. His body was not recovered by U.S. forces at that time. Faith was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor­­ – the United States’ highest military honor – for personal acts of exceptional valor during the battle.

In 2004, a joint U.S. and Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (D.P.R.K) team surveyed the area where Faith was last seen. His remains were located and returned to the U.S. for identification.

To identify Faith’s remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence, compiled by DPMO and JPAC researchers, and forensic identification tools, such as dental comparison. They also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched Faith’s brother.

Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American teams.
Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commanding general, Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region/Military District of Washington, hands a flag to Barbara (Bobbie) Broyles, during the funeral of her father, Lt. Col. Faith Jr., April 17, 2013, in Arlington National Cemetery, Va. He had been killed Dec. 1, 1950, near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.
Hat tip Ricks.

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