Ready to Fire
Memoir of an American Artilleryman in the Korean War
About the Book
Once North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel in 1950, the lives of many Americans half the globe away, were disrupted. President Truman authorized a call up of enlisted, inactive reservists—like Richard B. Holmsten, an about to be married 20-year-old with a bright future. Replacements were needed for artillerymen killed during one disastrous day in August 1950. He was assigned to the Headquarters Battery of the 8th Field Artillery Battalion of the 25th Infantry Division.
This memoir begins with Holmsten’s transition from civilian to newlywed soldier. It covers training at Fort Lewis (Washington state), the voyage across the Pacific, and the readying of a Fire Direction Control Center for 105 Howitzers near Kaesong. It covers the early days of the conflict as the unit moved during the flux of battle, the problems faced as the unit retreated south of Seoul, and the efforts put forth as the unit struck north again. The major campaign covered concerns the crossing of the Han River in March 1951. The crossing was a massive but fast operation, and Holmsten’s unit was responsible for firing 70,000 rounds of artillery against enemy forces. The daily happenings, hopes and fears of soldier life are explored, including the often-contentious relationship of enlisted reserve versus regular army. It concludes with the author’s rotation back to civilian life. Photographs accompany the text.
About the Author(s)
Richard B. Holmsten
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: photos, index
Copyright Date: 2003
Book Reviews & Awards
“a merit of this book is the light it casts on the trials, tribulations, and confusions of an enlisted reservist plucked from civilian life and called to active duty”—Military Heritage.