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Corporal Pastor Balanon Jr. was a member of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He was listed as Missing in Action while fighting the enemy near Unsan, North Korea on November 2, 1950. He was presumed dead on December 31, 1953. He was born in the Philippines in 1928, when the islands were under the American flag. On April 30, 2007, the Department of Defense announced his remains had been identified. In late October 1950, Balanon was assigned to L Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Calvary Regiment, then engaging enemy forces south of Unsan, North Korea, near a bend in the Kuryong River known as the Camel's Head. Chinese communist forces attacked the 8th Regiment's positions on November 1, 1950, forcing a withdrawal to the south where they were surrounded by the enemy. The remaining survivors in the 3rd Battalion attempted to escape a few days later, but Balanon was declared missing in action on November 2, 1950, in the vicinity of Unsan.
The troopers of the Eighth Cavalry, an old-line U.S. regiment, now serving as infantry, had fought its way to the vicinity of Unsan, a village only 50 miles from the Chinese border.
Just at dusk Nov. 1, they ran into two divisions of Chinese troops. The Eighth Cavalry had three battalions, each about 800 men; according to the Korean War Almanac, each Chinese division had 10,000 men.
Many U.S. troops fought until they ran out of ammunition. The Third Battalion, where Balanon was a rifleman, was overrun. Six hundred of its 800 men were killed, captured or missing. They called the Third Battalion the lost battalion.
In 2001, a joint U.S.-North Korean team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated a burial site in Kujang County, south of Unsan County. A North Korean citizen living near the site told the team that the remains were relocated to Kujang after they were discovered elsewhere during a construction project. The battle area was about one kilometer north of the secondary burial site.
He was a professional soldier who had enlisted in the Army on August 19, 1946 Listed as a Philippene Scout for the Hawaiian Department later in San Francisco, a rifleman in a unit called the lost battalion in a war that has been nearly forgotten. He was 22 years old when he was a caught in a disastrous battle near the village of Unsan, North Korea. His battalion, outnumbered and outgunned, was overrun by Chinese Communist forces, who came out of the dusk on November 1, 1950. Balanon was never seen again.
In October of 1950, he was assigned to C Company, Third Battalion, Eighth Cavalry Regiment, then serving in Korea. The Army had just captured Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, and was pursing the remnants of the North Korean army.
His father Pastor Balanon Sr., had served with the U.S. Army in the Philippines before World War II, and when the Japanese occupied the islands, the family patriarch had been active in the anti-Japanese guerrillas.
Once his father and brother were arrested by Japanese police. The boy was hung by his hands and the father was buried alive up to his neck. If the Japanese were seeking information, they didn't get it.
After the war, Pastor Balanon Sr. stayed in the Army and served until 1954.