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Staff Sergeant | Marine Corps


Artillery was the king of the trench warfare that combat in Korea devolved into.  As it had been in the First World War, to be on the receiving end of constant bombardment was a tortuous way of life, and in Korea is was incessant.  Slogging through mud from recent rains, Bruce Reed reported to the 11th Marines' 3d Battalion Headquarters Battery in early September 1951.  In the Fire Direction Center, Reed became accustomed to how an artillery unit operated in combat.  It was not so different from his extensive training aside from the threat of actual harm that could occur at any instant.

Transfer to G Battery in mid-November brought Reed just that much closer to frontline danger, though risk of death or injury was unlikely from infantry attack but more so from either a well placed or misplaced enemy artillery round.  Daily life became routine and a crispy autumn into a dry winter.  The biggest change to occur since Bruce had been in Korea was the appointment of the new regimental commander Colonel Fred Henderson at the end of March.  Not entirely pleased with the state of the unit, he tackled any issues he discovered and refined the 11th Marines to satisfy his standards.

Excitement and desire to fulfill the duties of a Marines overshadowed any fiber of fear for Bruce when he was promoted and assigned as a scout observer at the end of July 1952.  No longer would he spend his days among instruments and field desks under canvas tents, but he would be among the ridges and valleys at the front.  It was not an ideal time for such an assignment as he was only about a week away from rotating out, but he imagined that no time was best for a danger-close assignment.  Field glasses became Reed's main weapon, an extension of the heavy guns that reigned devastation upon the enemy.  In the sweltering Korean summer, Bruce spent the last week of his Korean tour patiently watching Chinese and carefully calculating trajectories and relaying information back to G Battery.  Constant rain made field duty more uncomfortable, but Reed felt that as a Marine he could embrace such conditions with some level of enjoyment before returning to the comforts of home.

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