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James Nichols


Jim Nichols was a tank machine gunner in the 15th Infantry Regt. Heavy Tank Company, 3rd Infanty Division during the battle for Oupost Harry, 1953.

This picture was taken during the Outpost Harry Survivors Association's reunion in San Diego, CA on June 11, 2004.

James Nichols

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Deborah Hoet

Hello. My name is Deborah Hoet and I am the daughter of James Nichols of Essington, Pa. Dad finally started talking about his Korean War experiences and I discovered you guys online. He was in the 3rd ID, 15th Infantry, heavy tank company ( I may not have that correct technically, but he was a machine gunner on a tank at that battle).

Dad was decorated for his valor there and his local hometown newspaper said that it was because against orders he refused to close the hatch and continued to stay on top firing the machine gun. When I asked him what it was for, his response was simply, “for killing a whole lot of people.”

Dad battled alcoholism for many years trying to drown the memories as he used to say, and when he was drinking would cry over those he killed. I didn’t understand at the time.

I brought him to the San Diego 19th reunion in 2004 hoping it would help him. He was the only tanker who had come and felt very out of place and didn’t think he deserved to be there with you guys who were infantry. Then a gentleman came up to him ­ I will never forget it ­ and stuck his hand out and said, “I always wondered who those guys in the tanks were. Thank you Sir for saving our lives. We would not be here today were it not for you.” I do not know who he was, but if he reads this, I want him to know that he lifted the whole world of guilt from my dad’s shoulders by that one act of kindness. Thank you whoever you are!! God bless you!

Dad was beginning to have dementia then, and it rapidly progressed and he was in a nursing home for the last 4 ½ years. He was born July 2, 1932 and died August 24, 2012.

After his death, I came upon the documentary made of the battle and Sam Buck talking about calling fire back on themselves because the Chinese had overrun the hill. I think now I finally understand all the guilt he had all his life ­ he had to fire on his own men!!!! No wonder he was so tormented.

I am so grateful that your association existed and that he had at least that one opportunity to meet you all.
I live in the Washington DC area, and work for the Dept of Veterans Affairs. I will make sure I stop by next year when you are here for the reunion and armistice celebrations and say hello for my Dad.

Thank you!!

Blessings,
Deborah Hoet


Sam Buck

Dear Deb,

I'm so sorry to hear of your dad's passing. I do remember visiting with you guys down in San Diago. I have some fond memories of those tankers just behind OP Harry. My replacement FO (got hit just before he could get to me) came on up and convinced me that he could get me back. After we got to the foot of Harry, he spotted a tank near by and with his white T shirt, he got their attention and they came over to get us. They were able to get my buddy down the turret but couldn't me. They asked if could hang on to a step, (I was very agreeable) The machine gunner was spraying any bush or object to keep the chinese down so they couldn't get me.

So you see, I'll always have the highest respect for the Tankers. I hope we can get together in DC in July as this could be our last reunion. We are just losing too many of our members to continue. Thank you for dad's service. We have a Memorial Service at all of our Reunions for those departed. I hope you can make that one. It will probably be on Sat am (the last day) You and your family are more than welcome to attend all of our program.

We Held !!


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ęCopyright 2012, James Nichols