JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment will conduct a wreath-laying ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 10:30 a.m., at the Chip’yong-ni memorial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The Battle of Chip’yong-ni, fought in February, 1951, was a decisive battle of the Korean War. A U.N. force, consisting primarily of U.S. Soldiers assigned to the 23rd Infantry Regiment Combat Team, aided by armored cavalry and by air support, led a test of strength a much larger opposing force. The U.N. forces successfully defended their perimeter even after being completely surrounded. The U.N. forces reported 51 killed, and 42 missing after the battle, while enemy casualties were estimated to be at least 200 times that number.
The battle, along with the battle at Wonju by the 2d Division’s 9th and 38th Infantry Regiments, marked the first test of an aggressive change in strategy by U.N. forces that is ultimately credited with ending the war.
The wreath ceremony has been an annual tradition for the unit since after the Korean War. There was a total of 16 Korean veterans from the 23rd Regiment who have been part of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment it was activated at then-Fort Lewis (the 1-23 Infantry Bn. is currently assigned to the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at what is now Joint Base Lewis McChord).
Two of veterans remain actively involved in support to the unit, and have been given honorary titles of the regiment: Honorary Regimental Commander, Lt. Col. (retired) Emil J. Stryker Jr. and the Honorary Regimental Command Sergeants Major, Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Charles Main.
The Senior NCO’s and the veteran’s of The Battle of Chip’yong-ni will lay the wreath at the memorial, a replica of the memorial rock at the Chipyong-Ni battlefield, Korea made from a granite stone retrieved from the same battlefield by members of the 23rd Infantry Regiment.
More information about the Battle of Chip’yong-ni, including an article distributed by the DOD 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Korean War
Committee and an account by the 23rd RCT’s commander shortly after the battle, can be found at the 2nd Infantry Division Association’s website:
www.2id.org/chipyongni.pdf and www.2id.org/chipyong.pdf.