Veteran Stories:
Donald “Bud” MacLeod

Army

  • 5 Platoon, Baker Company, 2 Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Chipyong-ni, South Korea, 17 March 1951. The platoon captured Hill 532 following an overnight battle on 8 March 1951. Private Oliver was killed in action, and several others wounded.

    Donald MacLeod
  • Pilot Captain Bud Doane Jr. (United States Air Force) and Observer Lieutenant Donald MacLeod briefing prior to conducting air strikes on enemy positions across from the United Nations forces front lines, 1 August 1951.

    Donald MacLeod
  • Return to K6 Airfield after successfully directing four air strikes by United States Navy Corsairs, 15 July 1951. From left to right, pilot, Captain Bill Hauser and observer, Lieutenant Donald MacLeod.

    Donald MacLeod
  • Brigadier General DE Muelheisen (United States Air Force) presents the United States Air Medal to Captain Donald MacLeod for flying hazardous reconnaissance missions in an unarmed aircraft. Captain Albert B. Pull was also presented with the Air Medal at this ceremony.

    Donald MacLeod
  • Donald MacLeod dedicates the Korean War addition to the University of British Columbia's War Memorial Gymnasium, 11 November 2009.

    Donald MacLeod
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"He had no sooner said that when a sniper’s bullet crossed my left shoulder and struck my platoon runner Private Oliver killing him instantly."

Transcript

I was finishing off my third phase of officer training at the School of Infantry in Camp Borden [Ontario], third phase. And when the war started in June [1950] we volunteered. A friend of mine, Russell and I, volunteered to join the Canadian Army Special Force. Now that Special Force was being established just from people off the street for 18 months just to go to Korea. And so he and I ended up in Wainwright, Alberta, and in, we went to Fort Lewis [Washington] the 23rd of March. November we left Seattle on the [USS] Joseph P. Martinez, landing in Korea the 18th of December 1951.

The battle began with a long approach march to the base of Hill 532 on 7 March, 1951. The plan was for D Company to secure the lower regions of the hill and on success, B Company with my platoon leading, would pass through and secure the summit. Unfortunately the D Company attack was repulsed with numerous casualties. One of those killed was a good friend and schoolmate and fellow Seaforth [Highlanders] cadet, Lloyd C. Wiley. There were about six as I recall, six killed in action on that in D Company.

Because of that failure, the next thing was for B Company to move to the left flank and attack from that angle, which we did with my platoon leading. At about 1400 hours we ascended from the valley floor to about 100 metres from the summit. At the first false crest my lead section came under small arms fire, wounding my Bren gunner, Private Smart and a rifleman. No one was sure where the fire was coming from. I was standing about 5, 10 metres down the slope trying to – with my five-month army experience – what the hell to do, when the company commander Major C. V. Lilley, Military Cross, came forward to survey the situation. He immediately shouted at me, “Get down you stupid bastard! You’re under fire!” A direct quote seared in my memory. Vince had six years combat experience during World War II and had spotted a spur to my right flank which I did not see. He had no sooner said that when a sniper’s bullet crossed my left shoulder and struck my platoon runner Private Oliver killing him instantly. We still couldn’t pinpoint an enemy position so we had to do something. I ordered Private Maynard forward with his 3.5 rocket launcher and we fired one round at the hill. Unfortunately a bomb hit a tree branch above the heads of my forward section and exploded. Fortunately the blast went forward and there were no casualties.

By this time darkness had fallen and we were ordered to remain in place and attack at first light. So we spent the night under the ridge of the enemy position with them occasionally raining grenades down upon us. We estimate there were about 100 grenades down at us at that time. We fixed bayonets at first light but fortunately the enemy had retreated overnight. We carried on up a gentle slope to the very top of Hill 582 where we came upon a deceased Chinese soldier lying on a stretcher that they obviously did not have time to remove. I reached down in the soldier’s left jacket pocket and removed a photograph of a young Chinese woman with a young girl, about 5 years of age. Regretfully Daddy never made it home.

I went back to my platoon until the 23rd of May [1951] and that’s when I was sent down to the 6147 Tactical Air Control Group, “Mosquitoes” [United States Air Force]. Our task was – in every war they start the war by – especially now that there’s aircraft and strike aircraft available there quite often – and this happened – a British unit was attacked by United Nations Air Force and they suffered about 26, 27, maybe 50 casualties. So the Tactical Air Force, they decided they would have the Mosquitoes, the Tactical Control Group, control all fighter strikes, fighter bombing strikes between the front lines and the arbitrary, what’s called the bomb line. And that was about 6 kilometers north. So we controlled all fighter strikes within that space.

We were told of a target from the forward air controller. We would go in and recon it and then pick up the fighters as they came in and we’d go in, mark it with a smoke rocket, they would make the strike and then we’d go in and try and assess the damage done, casualties. If we went over what they called the Punch Bowl – a US Marine Corps Division was on the Punch Bowl. We were directing strikes. The Battle of Inje [30-31 May 1951] I think came up at that, that was when the Chi-Coms [Chinese-Communist soldiers] were moving north, they were retreating. At the town of Inje we caught them in a defile and they were just streaming back. I think I mentioned it’s like an army of ants. And we stepped on them. We ended getting them in what we call a defile and caused quite a few casualties there because of the napalm bombs and stuff like that. They were very concentrated along the highway because it was in a mountain pass. That was about that time. I think that was on the first flight.

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