Cpl. Noll on Guard Duty at  Hill 610
17. A Bitter Memory On Guard Duty -- 1951
Put on Guard Duty We were operating a relay Station on Hill 610 for the 7th Cavalry. A GI always knows how the war is going by the number of civilians that are fleeing the front. Many families were walking down the road in front of the mountain. The sergeant organized a guard duty roster to make sure no one came up the hill to the station. The afternoon was my turn. I stood in the cold trying to keep from freezing and keeping an eye on the passing civilians.
The Crowd Thins Out As it began to get later and it was starting to get dark the number of people was less and less. While it was still light a young couple came down the road and stopped to talk to me. They had a very young baby with them perhaps less then a month old. The man and woman were not much more than 20 years old themselves. They were asking for help for the baby. They uncovered the baby's hands and feet to show me their problem. The baby's hands and feet were frozen. I could see ice crystals under the skin on both the hands and feet. Now I'm not a doctor but I knew the baby's condition was extremely serious. Frostbite is one thing but frozen is bad, bad.
A Bitter Memory We know about casualties among the soldiers, marines and sailors, but we mostly seem to ignore the millions of deaths and injuries in the civilian ranks. I didn't know what to do. We had no way to treat civilians and there were no doctors or hospitals that offered any help to the civilian populations. I gave them some food and all the money I had but they just threw it on the ground as if to say what use is money, we need help for our baby. They eventually moved on and I stood there and cried because of my helplessness as what to do. I have often wondered what happen to that couple and their baby. It brings tears to my eyes as I write this. I wonder what I could have done and didn't. It is a side of war that we often don't see and try to forget. But I am haunted by this memory and what might have been.
Noll Guard Duty