The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs has selected the U.S. Army’s retired Brigadier General J.Frank J. Dalley (1913-1990) as its Hero of the Korean War this May.

On May 26, 1951, combat between U.N. forces and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (PVA) was underway in Gapyeong-gun County in Gyeonggi-do (Gyeonggi Province). The 213th Field Artillery Battalion led by Dalley was given the order to support the 21st Infantry Regiment of the U.S.’ 24th Division. However, combat forces that covered the 213th Artillery Battalion advanced to block the enemy and the artillery battalion was left alone.

Brigadier General J. Frank Dalley

Brigadier General J. Frank Dalley

To make a breakthrough, some 4,000 Chinese soldiers embarked on a fierce attack up the canyon where 240 men of the artillery battalion were stationed.

Hand-to-hand fighting took place in the dark. The Chinese army tried to climb the mountain range that surrounded the gorge amid gunfire that continued until dawn, but to no avail. The Chinese army gave in to the U.S. Army and a large number of Chinese soldiers surrendered believing that even retreat was impossible. Some 350 Chinese soldiers died and an additional 830 were captured alive or surrendered. What was more surprising is that the 213th Artillery Battalion did not have any casualties.

Dalley, who was born in Summit County, Utah, felt huge responsibility for his soldiers’ safety more than anybody else. This is because the artillery battalion consisted of 600 young men all from neighboring towns in Utah. Remembering Dalley, a soldier under his command said he was a great leader and he always cared about his troops. According to the solider, Dalley used to weigh 187 pounds or 85 kilograms when he was dispatched to Korea, but that after one year he had lost much weight due to stress and concern over his soldiers, weighing only 147 pounds or 67 kilograms. His brown hair also turned white.

In the end, all 600 soldiers from Utah returned home to be reunited with their family and friends. Residents of Utah still commemorate the battle every year, calling it the, “Miracle of Gapyeong,” or the, “Legend of Gapyeong.”

By Wi Tack-whan, Limb Jae-un Staff Writers
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs