Heath, Leslie Roy, Cpl

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
4745-Light Weapons Infantryman
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1951-1951, 4745, POW/MIA
Service Years
1950 - 1951


Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SGT Robert Briggs (squadleader)-Deceased to remember Heath, Leslie Roy, Cpl.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address

Casualty Date
Apr 23, 1951
Hostile, Died while Captured
Intentional Homicide
Korea, North
Korean War
Location of Interment
Bridgeport City Cemetery - Bridgeport, Illinois
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Korean War Fallen
  1951, Korean War Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
5th Infantry24th Infantry DivisionPOW/MIA
  1950-1951, 4745, HHC, 5th Infantry
  1950-1951, 4745, 24th Infantry Division
  1951-1951, 4745, POW/MIA
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Defensive (1950)/Battle of Pusan Perimeter
  1950-1953 Korean War
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Offensive (1950)/Eighth Army Offensive
  1951-1951 Korean War/UN Summer-Fall Offensive (1951)/Battle for the Punch Bowl
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Cpl. Leslie Ray Heath was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regimental Combat Team of the 24th Infantry Division. He was serving in Korea when he was taken Prisoner of War while fighting the enemy near Undam-Jang, North Korea on April 23, 1951 and died while a prisoner on 30 June 1951 due to neglect, malnutrition, and abuse.

On the morning of 23 April 1951, Heath and more than 80 members of the A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Regimental Combat Team were captured by the Chinese Communist forces. They were held in a temporary POW camp known as Suan Camp Complex, in North Hwanghae Province, North Korea.

A former American POW who was returned to the U.S. through Operation Little Switch recounted that Heath died in June 1951 while imprisoned.

"Meals were sorghum or rice with bugs. Once we had potatoes with rice for about two months. Then there were just carrots and rice and then peanuts and rice ... It was so cold that we had to sleep next to each other to stay warm." "A lot of guys got sick and gave up,"

His remains were recovered on 16 July 1993 and identified on 19 July 2005.

He was interred in Bridgeport City Cemetery, Bridgeport Township, Lawrence County, Illinois.

The 5th Infantry Regiment deployed to Korea on 25 July 1950 and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division as a Regimental Combat Team (RCT), part of Task Force Kean. Task Force Kean comprised the 24th and 35th Infantry Regiments of the 25th ID, and the 5RCT and the 5th Marines (1st Provisional Marine Brigade). It included two medium tank battalions, the 89th (M4A3) and the fist Marine (M26 Pershings).

On August 7, 5RCT and the 5th Marines took over the front-line defensive positions west of Chindong-ni. During a week of savage fighting, Task Force Kean met and defeated the NK 6th Division, about 7,500 men supported by eighteen 76-mm guns, eighteen 122-mm guns, and about twenty-five tanks.

In late August, Task Force Kean was dissolved and 5RCT was reassigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, and in September to the 24th Infantry Division, replacing its 34th Infantry Regiment. It remained with the 24th until January, 1952, when it became a separate RCT again with IX-Corps.

  • The 5th Regimental Combat Team consisted of:
    • 5th Infantry Regiment
    • 555 Field Artillery Battalion (105mm) (Known as "The Triple-Nickel)
    • 72nd Engineer Company
  • 5 RCT suffered 4054 casualties during the Korean War.

Location of Loss: UKKOLGYE - UNDAM-JANG

When the 5th RCT finally sailed from Hawaii on July 25, 1950 the original cadre of 178 officers and 3,129 enlisted soldiers, many of them island residents. The unit landed in Korea six days later.

There were so many locals serving in the 5th RCT that one soldier of Korean descent from Lanai, Sgt. 1st Class Chong Kim, observed later: "I'd hate to have two armies shooting at me at once."

The 5th RCT commander's solution to this problem was to pair Asian soldiers with Caucasians.

The 5th RCT became known as the "Hawaiian Regiment" during its Korea combat tour because there were so many island kids in the unit, said ret. Army Brig. Gen. Irwin Cockett.

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