The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 26, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, according to the Army, U.S. troops south of Seoul had made contact with the First Cavalry tanks out of the old southeast beachhead, the latter having advanced 115 miles in five days, and General MacArthur announced the liberation of Seoul from the North Koreans. Mop-up operations continued. The city was aflame and in terrible ruin. The heaviest enemy resistance was against the Marines attacking the governor's palace, but eleven tanks were destroyed and the breakthrough was achieved. About 2,000 enemy troops had fled the city on Monday night. One Marine battalion reported killing 1,800 enemy troops on the city's outskirts during a period of 36 hours. Frontline officers estimated that between 3,000 and 5,000 enemy troops still fought from within the city, taking up positions in houses and in and amid commercial buildings.

Don Whitehead tells of Seoul being a "smoke-filled city of horror", as Marines moved street by street behind flame-throwing tanks toward the city center. Seventh Infantry Division units were cleaning up Namsan Hill, the commanding heights of the city. In two wars, he had seen nothing to equal the battle for Seoul, giving a feeling of the "eerie and unreal", as no part of the city where enemy troops were holed up was being spared. In one instance, a Marine was racing down a street into battle with two live, quacking ducks strapped to his pack. A North Korean platoon had marched from the flames directly into American guns, resulting in their slaughter.

Correspondent Stan Swinton reported that in the southern battlefront, the 25th Division advanced more than 30 miles northwest of recaptured Chinju and were expected to reach the west coast at Kunsan within two days. He said that the North Koreans were killing American prisoners before retreating, that the Americans had found twelve bodies of dead U.S. soldiers who had been machine-gunned, while three had survived.

A linkage of the forces moving from the south with those of the Seoul beachhead was expected on an hourly basis, resulting in a trap of enemy forces.

Bem Price tells of the 24th Division liberating three American prisoners of war from a jail near Yongdong. They were suffering from hunger but appeared not to have been abused.

The British Army reported that 21 men had been killed and 20 others wounded in the friendly-fire American air attack on Saturday southwest of Waegwan as the British were taking a hill against the enemy and were mistaken for enemy troops from the air.

A Korea-bound C-54 transport plane with 51 persons aboard crashed into the sea on takeoff from southern Japan, leaving 22 missing after 28 had been rescued and one body recovered. A week earlier, 26 Navy personnel had been killed in a similar crash after takeoff of a C-54 from Kwajalein.

House Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Vinson said that the V.A. would reopen three hospitals for care of the returning wounded from Korea, in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Michigan. They had been shut down the previous spring as an economy measure.

In Saigon, the French Army announced abandonment of a second outpost on the China-Indo-China frontier at Pakha, commanding an entrance to the Red River delta. The position had been under attack by the Vietminh guerrillas and the French determined that it was not worth the loss of human lives to preserve. Earlier, the French had abandoned Dongkhe while it was being attacked.

In Creswell, England, an underground fire in a coal mine trapped and killed at least 80 miners. One hundred and twenty men were able to crawl to safety on their hands and knees to avoid the deadly gas fumes. It was not possible to rescue the trapped miners.

In Chicago, two crime investigators, one a former police lieutenant and the other an attorney, were slain separately the previous night, shortly before they were to report on activities of Chicago gangsters to the Kefauver Committee. Both killings were accomplished deliberately and in gangland style.

In Vienna, rioting Communist protesters, striking against a Governmental increase in food prices along with wages, obeyed the police injunction to keep off the grass of the public park, after several had initially attempted to scale the fence into the park. They understood about the grass.

Arthur Edson tells of the lunar eclipse occurring the night before, without a single astronomer being killed, in contrast to the first recorded lunar eclipse in 1952 B.C., when two astronomers, supposed to scare the moon-devouring monster away, instead got drunk on moonshine and were executed. In earlier times, as late as 850, lunar eclipses were regarded as evil portents. They occurred in sequences of about 41 solar eclipses and 29 lunar in the course of every 16 years, though the solar eclipses afforded only a narrow lane of viewing across limited territory, whereas the lunar eclipses covered a whole hemisphere.

On July 29, 1878, a solar eclipse had occurred in the area of Fort Sill in Indian territory and the Indians became quite excited, with one brave grabbing a pistol and shooting at the sun until it came back out.

The next lunar eclipse was due on January 29, 1953.

We'll all be blown to kingdom come by then.

In St. Charles, Ill., the inmates of the State Training School for Boys were allowed out of their cottages to view the eclipse the previous night and after it had passed, two were discovered to have escaped.

On the editorial page, "New Day for Alcoholics" tells of the Alcoholics Rehabilitation Center, authorized by the 1949 Legislature, getting underway at Camp Butner. It had one patient and one attendant, but more staff would be added as more patients were admitted. Admission to the center was voluntary.

Some criticized the concept on the ground that alcoholics were weak in character and should not be treated on the basis of having a disease, that no true alcoholic would remain voluntarily for treatment. But the advocates stated that no alcoholic could be treated unless they were willing to accept the treatment.

While, it suggests, there would be mistakes made in the new, experimental program, the sensible approach to addressing alcoholism appeared to have finally arrived in the state.

"Hands Across the Highway" tells of testimony in County Recorder's Court showing that two school buses were moving side by side, so close that students were reaching out the windows and shaking hands with one another. A short time later, one of the buses failed to make a turn and rolled over, inflicting slight injuries to eight children. There was no evidence that the game the two drivers had been playing contributed to the accident and the driver of the wrecked bus was a substitute making his first run. But, despite those facts and the lack of serious injuries, such a driver, it offers, had no business behind the wheel. It hopes that the County school officials would take appropriate action.

"Well Deserved Award" congratulates Dr. Ralph Bunche for his receipt of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation of the Palestine crisis. He was the grandson of an American slave and the first black person ever to win a Nobel Prize. His work in bringing together the Arabs and Jews had saved the Middle East from bitter warfare.

The prior December in The Reporter, his close friend Sterling Brown observed that Dr. Bunche disliked equally black and white chauvinism.

"Ode to an Uneclipsed Eclipse" provides some lines to the moon, which refused to obey the prediction of the Charlotte Observer on Sunday that the moon would enter full eclipse during the weekend, though it had on Monday night.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Republicans Sigh as Jenner Speaks", finds that the judgment a few months earlier by Time that Senator William Jenner of Indiana was one of the eight most expendable members of the Senate was being daily confirmed, after his attacks of General Marshall during confirmation hearings as Secretary of Defense. It was part of his whole record which showed a disregard for truth and knowledge. Apparently, his GOP colleagues had given up trying to convince him of the "gaucherie and irresponsibility" of such behavior.

At one point, the Senator had demanded to know if General Marshall had joined in suppressing the Wedemeyer report on China, to which the General calmly responded that he had not, that he personally had suppressed it. By the serenity of the response, he had taken the measure of the brutish Senator.

Drew Pearson tells of another Congressman, Walter Brehm of Ohio, who was receiving kickbacks from staff salaries. Most members, he stresses, were honest regarding such expenses and salaries. A clerk was hired by Mr. Brehm at a salary of $375 per month, with the understanding that the Congressman would pay her only $200 per month, more than she had been paid at her job at Treasury. She had not realized the kickback scheme was illegal. Her salary was raised a year and a half later, in mid-1946, to $530 per month, while she still continued to receive only $200. She then left the job in early 1948, and a year later the Congressman's son took over the position. How much of his $640 monthly salary went into the Congressman's pocket could not be ascertained.

The new Miss America, Yolanda Betbeze, had visited Vice-President Alben Barkley. He did not kiss her in front of the press but once they had gone, she kissed him and then reported the fact, saying she did so right on the lips. Eventually, after prodding by Senator Scott Lucas, the Vice-President admitted the fact.

The President told a friend of former Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson that he had to let him go because he was an egomaniacal psychopath who told untruths, but that it was one of the hardest things he had ever done. He had sat Mr. Johnson down and told him that he would have to quit. He said that he knew of Mr. Johnson knifing Secretary of State Acheson in the back and cozying up to Republicans.

Joseph Alsop, in Seoul, tells of the crossing of the Han River by Easy Company, with whom he had marched from Inchon. A cold night preceded the crossing, spent on the hard ground of Kimpo airfield. The commander of the company had been told that the reconnaissance company had been cut to pieces after swimming across the river during the night. The men of the company then boarded their amphibious tractors for the crossing. After the uneventful crossing, Easy Company had taken its objectives, rounded up scrawny enemy prisoners and engaged in a brisk fight with pockets of the enemy near the city. The radios failed during the night and even patrols could not determine whether the company's forward platoon had descended from the highest ground to protect the rear.

The enemy delivered artillery fire during the cold night. At dawn, the men arose from their foxholes to repel the usual infiltrators. On the highest hill crest, the main objective, enemy movements were detected where the forward platoon had been not long earlier. The company's remaining two platoons moved out to reoccupy the lost ground. Just as the Marines reached the peak, word arrived that the lost forward platoon had been found on a hill beyond the one allotted to it.

Only two soldiers were badly wounded in the fighting, leading the soldiers to wonder what had happened to the North Koreans since the fierce fighting in the south. A turning point in the war appeared to have passed.

Robert C. Ruark tells of Lee G. Miller's biography of journalist Ernie Pyle, killed by a Japanese sniper in April, 1945 right after arriving on the Pacific front after spending the earlier part of the war covering the European theater, providing in his reports from the fronts the humor and pathos to the human interest side of the war. He finds the biography to be a fine piece of work. Mr. Miller had reported of his friend that he was a "morbid little man whose life was full of frustrations, tragedies, fears and self-doubts." He enjoyed drinking and it used him badly. He was often sick, was on occasion vindictive and very hard on others.

He raged inwardly for years at what he perceived as a lack of recognition, which had come to him only a relatively short time before his death. Some of him "was heavy ham and most of him was psychopathically shy."

Mr. Ruark suspects that Mr. Pyle and Mr. Miller had taught each other how to write, as Mr. Miller had been Mr. Pyle's copy reader. Mr. Ruark, as a young copy boy on the Washington News, had seen this edited copy, with Mr. Miller clipping Mr. Pyle's sentences to "beautiful clarity and simplicity", which eventually made the author famous. He thinks that Mr. Pyle had thus learned to write as Mr. Miller wanted him to write and Mr. Miller had learned by forcing his friend to write with skill.

A letter from J. R. Cherry, Jr., disagrees with the newspaper's position that the anti-subversion bill, just passed over the President's veto, was a bad bill. He thinks it good and that there was little chance that any loyal American would be prosecuted for failing to register under its requirements for Communists and front organizations. He hopes that the list of members of Congress who voted against it would be published, supposes that they would include among the "fellow travelers" Senator Frank Graham of North Carolina, Senator Glen Taylor of Idaho, Senator Herbert Lehman of New York, Illinois Senators Scott Lucas and Paul Douglas, and New York Congressmen Adam Clayton Powell and Vito Marcantonio, among others.

He concludes by quoting from The Tempest.

Anybody ever tell you that you're insufferably stupid?

A letter writer from Pinehurst challenges Stewart Alsop's September 18 column asserting that the economy could withstand the increase in the defense budget, claiming that he gave misleading figures on the increased gross national product, as the diminished quality of the product and diminished purchasing power of the dollar were not taken into account.

A letter writer from Gastonia disapproves of the appointment of General Marshall as Secretary of Defense after he had caused, thinks the writer, the expenditure of billions of dollars in the present crisis in Korea as well as causing the Chinese problem. He predicts that Secretary Marshall, along with Secretary of State Acheson and the President would fall into a hole, fine with him, except that it would adversely affect the entire country.

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