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Hartselle Enquirer

Korean War vet Pusan siege survivor

Burse Borden | Special to the Enquirer
Burse Borden | Special to the Enquirer

Clif Knight

Hartselle Enquirer

 

Burse Borden, of the Punkin Ccnter community experienced hell on earth for 11 months while fighting the enemy in the Korean War.

He served with the 2nd Infantry Division, 15th Field Artillery Battery, as a howitzer gunner.

His battery landed at the Port of Puson in June 1950 and was engaged in the holding of the Puson Perimeter between Aug. 5 and Sept. 15. This battle has since been described as the most successful mobile defense in U.S. military history.

Despite its success, the outcome was deadly, 4,599 American soldiers and marines were killed in action, 12,058 were wounded in action, 401 were captured and 2,107 were missing in action.

“I left the farm to join the Army at 19 and was on a troop ship headed for Japan when the Korean War broke out,” recalled Borden. “Immediately, the ship changed course and headed for the Port of Puson.”

For the next 11 months he withstood the rigors of battle, launching heavy shells at enemy forces three to four miles away, retreating under the fire of thousands of invading North Korean soldiers at night, and launching counter attacks the next day to win back the lost territory.
The war went back and forth like that for days and weeks,” he added. “We lost lots of men and they lost even more. It was sad and bad.”

In one of the battles, the 15th Battery went in with 180 men and when the gunfire had stopped and the smoke had settled only two of its soldiers were standing. They were Borden and gunner mate Tommy Griffin of Tennessee.

“We were overrun by wave after wave of their soldiers,” said Borden. “When they broke through the line held by our soldiers and marines we were sitting ducks. The only thing we could do was run for our lives.”

The good Lord was looking after me, I guess,” Borden pointed out.

“Battlefield conditions were nasty and unsanitary and extremely hot in the summer months and wet and cold in the winter,” according to Borden.

“We lived in trenches and fox holes when we weren’t on the move and the only food we had for days on end were C-Rations,” he said. “We wore the same clothes for weeks at a time but received a clean pair of socks occasionally. There was no running water so we had to use our steel helmet for a wash pan.”

Borden said he received only two letters from his parents while serving on the battlefield.

He was wounded in battle, not from enemy fire but exposure to sub-zero temperatures.  His hands and feet were frost bitten. He receives partial disability and still suffers from residual pain.

“I wouldn’t take anything for the service I gave to my country but I wouldn’t want to do it again,” Borden stated.

Border advanced to the rank of corporal and received an honorable discharge after the war. He arrived stateside in Seattle, Wash., and married a short time later. He and his wife had five children, a son and four daughters. He relocated to Kalamazoo, Mich., when he couldn’t find work in Alabama and returned to Morgan County after retiring from the Upjohn Company with 18 years of service.

He resides next door to one of his daughters and enjoys the practice of making weekly trips to Hartselle to have breakfast at Hardee’s with Hal Moore, a fellow veteran of the Korean War.

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