Ackle, Philip Warren, PFC

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Private First Class
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
4745-Light Weapons Infantryman
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1950-1953, 4745, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry
Service Years
1950 - 1953

Private First Class

One Service Stripe

Four Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

48 kb

Home State
New Hampshire
New Hampshire
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SFC Edwin Sierra to remember Ackle, Philip Warren, Pfc.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
16 Columbin Avenue Nashua, Hillsborough
Last Address
Unsan, North Korea

Casualty Date
Nov 02, 1950
Hostile, Died while Missing
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Korea, North
Korean War
Location of Interment
Honolulu Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates

 Official Badges 

1st Cavalry Division Infantry Shoulder Cord

 Unofficial Badges 

Gold Star

 Military Association Memberships
Korean War FallenMilitary Order of the Purple Heart
  2014, Korean War Fallen
  2014, Military Order of the Purple Heart - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry
  1950-1953, 4745, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

North Korea: Remains of US Soldiers Being Moved

Associated Press | Oct 13, 2014 | by Hyung-Jin Kim

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea said Monday that the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War were being neglected and "carried away en masse," in an apparent effort to pressure Washington to resume recovery efforts that could also lead to much-needed money for the impoverished country.

The United States suspended efforts to recover the remains of thousands of U.S. soldiers who died during the Korean War because of the North's plans to launch a long-range rocket in 2012. The U.S. at the time was just starting the process of resuming excavation work that had been suspended in 2005 when Washington said security arrangements for its personnel working in the North were insufficient. North Korea would have received millions of dollars in compensation for its support of the work.

About 8,000 U.S. service members are listed as missing from the 1950-53 war, and some 5,300 of the missing are believed to be in North Korea.

On Monday, an unidentified North Korean military spokesman said in a state media dispatch that the remains of American soldiers are "left here and there uncared and carried away en masse" because of building projects, land reorganization and flood damage.

The U.S. war remains "now look like no better than stones as land rezoning and other gigantic nature-remaking projects made progress" in North Korea, the spokesman said. "The Obama administration should not forget even a moment the proverb saying that even a skeleton cries out of yearning for the homeland."

Analyst Chang Yong Seok at Seoul National University said the North's statement appears aimed at applying pressure to U.S. politicians and officials ahead of November elections to resume the recovery project, which could give the North a way to get foreign currency and improved ties with Washington.

The U.S. and North Korea, which don't have formal diplomatic relations, are still technically at war because the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The U.S. stations about 28,000 troops in South Korea to help deter North Korean aggression.

North Korea has been seeking better ties with the outside world in what foreign analysts say is an attempt to lure aid and investment to help revive its moribund economy. South Korean and U.S. officials have said the North must first take steps toward nuclear disarmament before talks can resume.

There were signs of easing tension earlier this month when a group of high-powered North Korean officials visited South Korea and agreed to revive senior-level talks between the rivals. But the North last week opened fire with machine guns after activists in the South launched balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the heavily armed border. South Korea returned fire. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

SEOUL, South Korea—Trapped by two Chinese divisions, troops of the 8th U.S. Cavalry Regiment were left to die in far northern Korea, abandoned by the U.S. command in a Korean War episode viewed as one of the most troubling in American military history.
Sixty years later those fallen soldiers, the lost battalion of Unsan, are stranded anew.

North Korea is offering fresh clues to their remains. American teams are ready to re-enter the north to dig for them. But for five years the U.S. government has refused to work with North Korea to recover the men of Unsan and others among more than 8,000 U.S. missing in action from the 1950-53 war.

Now, under pressure from MIA family groups, the Obama administration is said to be moving slowly to reverse the Bush administration's suspension of the joint recovery program, a step taken in 2005 as the North Korean nuclear crisis dragged on.

"If I had a direct line in to the president, I would say, `Please reinstitute this program. There are families that need closure,'" said Ruth Davis, 61, of Palestine, Texas, whose uncle, Sgt. 1st Class Benny Don Rogers, has been listed as MIA since Chinese attackers overran his company -- I Company, 8th Cavalry -- at Unsan in late 1950.

It was one of Rogers' I Company comrades, Pfc. Philip W. Ackley of Hillsboro, New Hampshire, whose identifying dog tag appeared in a photo the North Koreans handed over at Korea's Panmunjom truce village in January of this 60th year since the war started. The North Koreans also delivered photos of remains, a stark reminder that Unsan's dead still wait to come home.

The U.S. "has developed the humanitarian issue into a political problem," complained a North Korean statement urging resumption of the MIA search project, which earned hard currency for the Pyongyang government.

The devastating losses at Unsan, in early November 1950, came as China intervened to fend off a final North Korean defeat. In a last letter home, dated Oct. 30, Rogers told his parents, "It is a lot better over here, but it's not over yet."

The U.S. command had ignored intelligence reports that China's army was moving south, and Rogers and the 8th Cavalry had been sent too far north, just 50 miles (80 kilometers) from China, where they stumbled into a closing enemy vise.

Higher headquarters rejected requests for a pullback, then refused to send artillery forward to support a rescue effort. Finally, it ordered the rescue force withdrawn.

Two of the 8th Cavalry's three battalions managed to escape, with heavy losses. But only small bands from the five companies of the doomed 3rd Battalion made it out as waves of Chinese infantry attacked their 200-yard-wide (200-meter-wide) defense perimeter.
The 8th Cavalry's abandonment at Unsan became an infamous chapter in Army annals -- "one of the most shameful and little-known incidents in U.S. military history," wrote Korean War historian Jack J. Gifford.

Some 600 of the 3rd Battalion's 800 men were lost, about half believed killed and half captured, many of whom died in Chinese-run prison camps.  The U.S. and North Korea established the MIA search in 1996 after lengthy negotiations. Over nine years, working across North Korea, the joint teams recovered 229 sets of remains believed to be those of Americans, including 14 subsequently identified as 3rd Battalion men.

But an estimated 260 U.S. dead are still unaccounted for at Unsan, among almost 4,600 U.S. MIAs in North Korea, the Pentagon's Defense POW/MIA Office says.  When then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld suspended the program in 2005, officials cited what they said were concerns about the security of American personnel working on the territory of a longtime U.S. adversary.

Richard Lawless, the former Pentagon official who recommended the move, defends it today, telling The Associated Press it was a "prudent decision" because the U.S. field teams "were potential high-value hostages as the North Korean nuclear crisis deepened."
The MIA support groups rejected that rationale, saying they suspected President George W. Bush's administration instead wanted to break the lone working link with North Korea and pressure Pyongyang in the nuclear showdown.

"This safety aspect from the Pentagon sounds like so much hogwash," said former 3rd Battalion sergeant Robert J. Earl, 82, of Federal Way, Washington. Earl was not at Unsan, having been wounded earlier, and for years he has sought information on his 8th Cavalry mortar platoon, all of whom may have perished.  Stepping up their lobbying in Washington last year, the MIA families appear to have made headway with the new administration.

"I'm in touch with everyone there, and they all support restoring the program," said Frank Metersky, 77, a Marine veteran of the war and longtime MIA campaigner.  Larry Greer, spokesman for the Defense POW/MIA Office, said officials are "evaluating" a possible resumption. Other administration officials have pointedly referred to the recovery program as a humanitarian mission unrelated to political considerations.

But the recent furor over North Korea's alleged torpedoing of a South Korean warship "has stopped everything in its tracks for now," Metersky said.  Nevertheless, U.S. specialists sound ready.  "We are prepared to resume operations in (North Korea) and will request access to the Unsan area," the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii, home to the field teams, said in its latest annual report.

Its forensic experts, meanwhile, continue the laborious work of DNA identification of remains returned years ago, like those of Master Sgt. Roy Earl Head of the 7th Infantry Division, finally identified, brought home and buried June 5 in a family cemetery in Grit Hill, Virginia.
"It's remarkable, after 59 years," said brother David Head, 71, of Kingsport, Tennessee.  All his life he thought daily about Roy, he said. His mind turned sympathetically to others.  "There are still a lot more families out there who might not ever find out, or get the closure we will get," Head said.

On July 14, 2010 by the U.S. Defense Dept. shows Pfc. Philip W. Ackley's Korean War dog tag. The tag, which was found in North Korea's Unsan battlefield area where Ackley is believed to have been lost, was handed over to the U.S. by North Korean at the Panmunjom truce village in January, 2010. North Korea said Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, that the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War were being neglected and "carried away en masse," in an apparent effort to pressure Washington to resume recovery efforts that could also lead to much-needed money for the impoverished country. The United States suspended efforts to recover the remains of thousands of U.S. soldiers who died during the Korean War because of the North's plans to launch a long-range rocket in 2012.


Korean War

The regiment saw vicious fighting during the Korean War, with five of its members earning the Medal of Honor Tibor Rubin (July 23, 1950 to April 20, 1953), Fr. Emil J Kapaun (1–2 November 1950),[10] Samuel S. Coursen (12 December 1950), Robert M. McGovern (30 January 1951), and Lloyd L. Burke (28 October), 1951).

Initially scheduled to make an amphibious landing at Inchon, it was redirected to the southeastern coast of Korea at Pohang-dong a port 80 miles (130 km) north of Pusan on 30 June 1950. The North Koreans were 25 miles (40 km) away when elements of the 1st Cavalry Division swept ashore to successfully carry out the first amphibious landing of the Korean War. The 8th Cavalry Regiment, reinforced by division artillery and other units, moved by rail, truck and jeep to relieve the 21st Regiment, 24th Division near Yongdong. By 22 July, all regiments were deployed in battle positions in the face of Typhoon Helene that pounded the Korean coastline.


Pfc. Letcher V. Gardner (Montgomery, Iowa) 8th Cavalry, fires on an emplacement along the Naktong River, near Chingu. 13 August 1950.

Thousands of Communist Chinese Forces attacked from the north, northwest, and west against scattered U.S. and South Korean (Republic of Korea or ROK) units moving deep into North Korea. At 1930 on 1 November 1950 the Chinese attacked the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, all along its line. At 2100 CCF troops found the weak link in the ridgeline and began moving through it and down the ridge behind the 2d Battalion, penetrating its right flank and encircling its left. Now both the 1st and 2d Battalions were engaged by the enemy on several sides. Around midnight the 8th Cavalry received orders to withdraw southward to Ipsok.


As of 0130 on 2 November there were no reports of enemy activity in the 3d Battalion’s sector south of Unsan. But as the 8th Cavalry withdrew, all three battalions became trapped by CCF roadblocks south of Unsan during the early morning hours. Within hours the ROK 15th Regiment on the 8th Cavalry’s right flank collapsed, while the 1st and 2d Battalions of the 8th Cavalry fell back in disarray into the city of Unsan. By morning, with their positions being overrun and their guns falling silent, the men of the 8th Cavalry tried to withdraw, but a Chinese roadblock to their rear forced them to abandon their artillery, and the men took to the hills in small groups. Only a few scattered survivors made it back. Members of the 1st Battalion who were able to escape reached the Ipsok area.

A head count showed that the battalion had lost about 15 officers and 250 enlisted men. Members of the 2d Battalion, for the most part, scattered into the hills. Many of them reached the ROK lines near Ipsok. Others met up with the 3d Battalion, the hardest hit. Around 0300 the Chinese launched a surprise attack on the battalion command post. Hand-to-hand fighting ensued for about half an hour before the enemy was driven from the area. The disorganized members of the 3d Battalion formed a core of resistance around three tanks on the valley floor and held off the enemy until daylight. By that time only 6 officers and 200 enlisted men were still able to function. More than 170 were wounded, and there was no account of the number dead or missing.

The remaining battalion of the 8th Cavalry, the 3d, was hit early in the morning of 2 November with the same "human wave" assaults of bugle-blowing Chinese. In the confusion, one company-size Chinese element was mistaken for South Koreans and allowed to pass a critical bridge near the battalion command post (CP). Once over the bridge, the enemy commander blew his bugle, and the Chinese, throwing satchel charges and grenades, overran the CP.


Elements of the two other regiments of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 5th Cavalry Regiment and 7th Cavalry Regiment, tried unsuccessfully to reach the isolated battalion. The 5th Cavalry, commanded by then Lt. Col. Harold K. Johnson, later to be Chief of Staff of the Army, led a two-battalion counterattack on the dug-in Chinese positions encircling the 8th Cavalry. However, with insufficient artillery support and a determined enemy, he and his men were unable to break the Chinese line. With daylight fading, the relief effort was broken off and the men of the 8th Cavalry were ordered to get out of the trap any way they could. Breaking into small elements, the soldiers moved out overland under cover of darkness. Most did not make it.


On 6 November, the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment ceased to exist as a unit.  In all, over eight hundred men of the 8th Cavalry were lost—almost one-third of the regiment’s strength—in the initial attacks by massive Chinese forces, forces that only recently had been considered as existing only in rumor.

The enemy force that destroyed the 8th Cavalry at Unsan was the CCF’s 116th Division. Elements of the 116th’s 347th Regiment were responsible for the roadblock south of Unsan. Also engaged in the Unsan action was the CCF’s 115th Division.


On 25 January 1951, the 1st Cavalry Division, joined by the revitalized 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry moved back into action. The movement began as a reconnaissance in force to locate and assess the size of the Chinese army, believed to be at least 174,000. The Eighth Army moved slowly and methodically, ridge by ridge, phase line by phase line, wiping out each pocket of resistance before moving farther North. The advance covered 2 miles (3.2 km) a day, despite heavy blinding snowstorms and subzero temperatures.

On 14 March, the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry had crossed the Hangchon River and on the 15th, Seoul was recaptured by elements of the 8th Army. New objectives were established to keep the Chinese from rebuilding and resupplying their forces and to advance to the "Kansas Line", which roughly followed the 38th Parallel and the winding Imjin River. On 3 October, the 1st Cavalry Division moved out from Line Wyoming and immediately into Chinese fire. For the next two days; hills were taken, lost and retaken. On the third day, the Chinese lines began to break in front of the 7th Cavalry.

On 5 October, the 8th Cavalry recaptured Hill 418, a flanking hill on which the northern end of Line Jamestown was anchored. On 10–11 October, the Chinese counter-attacked; twice, unsuccessfully against the 7th Cavalry. Two days later, the 8th Cavalry took the central pivot of the line, Hill 272. The southern end of Line Jamestown, along with a hill called "Old Baldy", eventually fell to the 8th Cavalry troopers.  By December 1951, the division, after 549 days of continuous fighting, began rotation back to Hokkaid, Japan. The final echelon of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 8th Cavalry Regiment, left for Japan on 30 December.

After the Korean War the 8th Cavalry remained in the Far East on duty in Japan and guarding the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea.

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