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Lt. Delbert F. (Del) Tolen


Del Tolen  June 13, 2003  (Photo by Freeman Bradford)


Delbert Franklin Tolen enlisted in the Army in 1950. He completed basic training and entered the Infantry Officer’s Candidate School at Ft. Benning graduating in May of 1952. He then completed the Parachute School at Ft. Benning.

Lt. Tolen was assigned to Company A, 5th Regimental Combat Team in March, 1953, while this unit was defending a position on the “Punchbowl” in eastern Korea. On May 2, 1953, he was wounded in the right arm by Chinese Communist (CCF) actions. He continued to serve as an Infantry Platoon Leader until May 28, 1953 when he was appointed Executive Officer, Company A, 5th RCT.

During the defense of Outpost Harry by Company A, Lt. Tolen was responsible for leading the counter attack platoon up the trenches to repel the enemy in the event the CCF breeched the main fortifications. The outpost’s restricted size provided positions for only two plus infantry platoons. Lt. Tolen organized the remaining members of the company at a medical bunker located at the bottom of the outpost. In the early morning of June 13, 1953, Lt. Tolen received word that the situation on the outpost was critical. He organized his men into assault groups and led them through devastating mortar, artillery and small arms fire. He engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. Lt. Tolen succeeded in leading his men and repulsed the attacking enemy forces. 

Lt. Tolen has been awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, Silver Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense Medal. He was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation. He was also awarded the Parachute Badge and the Republic of Korea Wharang Distinguished Military Service Medal. Del Tolen was awarded the National Infantry Association Order of St. Maurice in June, 2002.
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©Copyright 2004 Delbert F. Tolen.  All rights reserved