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Michael P. Slater

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Lieutenant Colonel Michael P. Slater, USMC (ret.), is the author of Hills of Sacrifice: The 5th RCT in Korea.

 

According to the book description of Hills of Sacrifice: The 5th RCT in Korea, “Fifty-years ago 3,200 soldiers deployed with the US Army's 5th Regimental Combat Team (RCT) from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, to fight in the Korean War. Within six-weeks of entering combat, over one-third of these men had fallen -- killed, missing, or wounded -- fighting in the most bitter close-combat struggle Americans have participated in since the Civil War. One man's Police Action; another man's war. And this war would last three years. "Hills of Sacrifice" is the story of these men, most no older than 25; a few only 15 or 16 years of age. The 5th RCT was a "Bastard Outfit," meaning it was an independent combat team, one with no permanent higher divisional headquarters. It fought with the 1st Cavalry, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, 3d, 24th, 25th, 40th, and 45th Infantry Divisions. Over time the 5th RCT developed a superb reputation and it became the US EIGHTH Army's firebrigade of the Korean War.

 

Casualties were heavy -- the unit was often thrown into the breach to breakthrough a heavily fortified Communist position (WAEGWAN: September 1950) or to serve as rearguard (The Chinese Spring Offensive: April 1951). Mistakes were made (Task Force Kean: August 1950). Men died as a result of these mistakes. My book includes a list of known and suspected casualties. In three years of war, the 5th RCT is believed to have lost over 1,000 men killed in action. Like all units in all wars, the 5th RCT included men who displayed uncommon courage on the battlefield (2 Medal of Honor recipients). Of note, many of the men serving in the 5th RCT called Hawaii their home. Few people know even today that the Territory of Hawaii suffered the HIGHEST per capita casualty rate of any State or Territory during the Korean War.


Hills of Sacrifice : The 5th RCT in Korea
Michael P. Slater  More Info

One of the men who fell in Korea was SGT Ernest Calhau, known to friends and family as "Sonny." Sonny was my wife's Uncle. He was the original inspiration for writing this book. His letters home are used in the text to amplify the point that men who fall in combat are not mere statistics. These men had their own loves, fears, and lives before the bullet or shell fragment took them from us on a long forgotten battlefield of a distant Asian war. I caution you, my book is not for the faint-hearted. Graphic descriptions of the infantry close-combat battle are related throughout. I relied extensively on primary source material, to include interviews with former riflemen and battalion commanders. Unit records from the National Archives provided much information that has never been published on the Korean War before.”

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