Americo (Chic) Pelegrini

Photo of Chic Pelegrini taken in Korea, 1953, by Claude Williams

The following is an excerpt from an account written by Claude Williams. Click here to read the full account by Claude Williams.

The Napalm detail

It was in 1989, through a friend from Texas who dropped by, I found the name of Americo (Chic) Pellegrini listed in his Society of the 3rd Infantry Division Association Membership Roster. A letter and a phone call later we were rehashing some events that brought back many memories, bad and good. We had both worked on the Napalm Detail together in late April and early May 1953. 

It had been decided that 55 gal. drums would be placed down the slope from the front trench on the right flank of the hill. I was told that initially the drums were be filled with the napalm before they were installed. That idea was abandoned. It proved to be difficult as the slope was steep and the soil was soft and churned up. We found digging was easy with just a shovel. In fact, as time permitted, I dug a small fox hole not far from the drums. I am thankful I had not needed it as we had no incoming at that point. Occasionally a small flare would go up and I remember trying to stand motionless until the light went out. I still wonder how great an idea that was. Tree stumps sometimes would seem to move.

The East slope (right flank) of Outpost Harry looking North toward Star.  The CCF trench from Star is clearly shown in this view  (Photo by Chic Pellegrini)

My first conversation with Chic Pellegrini back in 1989, he reminded me of something I had forgotten. It was that I stayed back at the company to attend the Protestant Chapel Service. This was on the night of 9 May 1953. The Chinese fired 5 or 6 mortar rounds down where the napalm was being transferred to drums. Chic was straddling a drum when the first round hit. Sheppard, standing by the concertina wire, was hit on his side by the first round and remained standing. Shrapnel from the second hit Chic. He was able to help Sheppard up the hill. He said Joe Manley was at the trench when he got there.

ęCopyright 2004 Claude Williams, Americo Pelegrini