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John Beechler - Korean War

John Beechler was born too late for World War II, but got his chance and enlisted at the beginning of the Korean War. He received a lieutenant's commission in the Field Artillery, and arrived in Korea in January 1953, where he served with the 39th Field Artillery Battalion, part of the 3rd Infantry Division. He worked as a Forward Observer with a Greek unit, then was assigned to an American infantry unit stationed at Outpost Harry. On the night of April 24th Outpost Harry was overrun by the Chinese and LT Beechler was seriously wounded in hand to hand combat, an action for which he earned a Silver Star for gallantry.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt

Enlisting

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Early life, military training, and early experiences in Korea in 1953

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Combat at Outpost Harry, injuries and recovery

Transcript

Photos

Caption

Bart Byerschmidt (on the left) and other soldiers take a moment to relax while on the front lines in Korea in April, 1953.

Where:

Korea

When:

April, 1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Bart Byerschmidt stands outside the Fire Direction Center (FDC) tent behind the front lines in South Korea in April, 1953. The 3rd Division occupied the center of the UN lines.

Where:

South Korea

When:

April, 1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

1st Lieutenant Anderson (on the right) and another officer stand near their tent, which was on the front lines, a few hundred yards behind Outpost Harry, in April, 1953.

Where:

Outpost Harry

When:

April, 1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

John Beechler and Bert Byerschmidt relax in front of their bunker on Outpost Harry in April, 1953. Outpost Harry sat on a dominant terrain feature hundreds of yards in front of the main infantry positions.

Where:

Outpost Harry

When:

April, 1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The map of Outpost Harry, which clearly shows its distance from friendly lines, and its vulnerability to enemy attack.

Where:

Outpost Harry

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

This photo of the ridgeline leading up to Outpost Harry illustrates the rugged terrain of Korea, and the precarious isolation of positions like Outpost Harry.

Where:

Outpost Harry

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

First Lieutenant John Beechler received a Purple Heart from Colonel Charles Kirkpatrick while he recovered. Beechler suffered multiple wounds, including the loss of one eye, during hand to hand combat with Chinese attackers at Outpost Harry.

Where:

Tokyo Army Hospital

When:

1953

Ownership:

Article appeared in the Citizen’s Tribune of Springfield, IL. May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator

Caption

The official military order awarding First Lieutenant John Beechler the Purple Heart for injuries sustained at Outpost Harry, Korea on April 24-25, 1953.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

Major General Martin Griffin awarded 1st LT Beechler with the Silver Star for his actions at Outpost Harry on April 24, 1953. Beechler received the award while recovering from his wounds at Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas circa July, 1953.

Where:

Brooke Army Hospital, San Antonio, Texas

When:

circa July, 1953

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

The official military order containing the Silver Star award citation describing Lieutenant Beechler’s actions at Outpost Harry on the night of April 24-25, 1953.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

First Lieutenant John Beechler after receiving a Silver Star for his gallant actions at Outpost Harry on the night of April 24-25, 1953. The photo accompanied an article from the Brooke Army Medical Center newspaper.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1953

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator

Caption

The Brooke Patient Services (Brooke Army Hospital newspaper) printed this article in 1953 about 1st LT Beechler’s heroic actions at Outpost Harry that earned him a Silver Star.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1953

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain



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