Danbury CT. December 11, 2019
Danbury Veteran Lee R. Hartell interred at St. Peter's Cemetery was a Korean War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. His grave will be one of the graves, that will receive a wreath from Wreaths Across America. Hartell served in the United States Army during the Korean War as a 1st Lieutenant in Battery A, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, having enlisted at Danbury, Connecticut. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery and sacrifice near Kobangsan-ni, Korea, on August 27, 1951.
Lee enlisted in the Connecticut National Guard on June 20, 1940 in the 192nd Field Artillery Battalion. He transferred to active duty on September 22, 1942 and was wounded in action in the South Pacific on June 19, 1943. He then transferred to Battery C of the 31st Battalion, 8th Field Artillery training regiment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and was discharged from active duty on July 1, 1945. He was discharged from the Connecticut National Guard the following day.
On August 8, 1946, he rejoined the Connecticut National Guard as a Second Lieutenant and served as an artillery officer with the 963rd Field Artillery battalion. He was then discharged from the National Guard on January 12, 1948 to enter active duty service. He was deployed to Korea as part of Battery A, 15th Artillery Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Division. He was killed in action on August 27, 1951 in the Battle of Bloody Ridge.
His citation reads "1st. Lt. Hartell, a member of Battery A, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations. During the darkness of early morning, the enemy launched a ruthless attack against friendly positions on a rugged mountainous ridge. 1st Lt. Hartell, attached to Company B, 9th Infantry Regiment, as forward observer, quickly moved his radio to an exposed vantage on the ridge line to adjust defensive fires. Realizing the tactical advantage of illuminating the area of approach, he called for flares and then directed crippling fire into the onrushing assailants. At this juncture a large force of hostile troops swarmed up the slope in banzai charge and came within 10 yards of 1st Lt. Hartell's position. 1st Lt. Hartell sustained a severe hand wound in the ensuing encounter but grasped the microphone with his other hand and maintained his magnificent stand until the front and left flank of the company were protected by a close-in wall of withering fire, causing the fanatical foe to disperse and fall back momentarily. After the numerically superior enemy overran an outpost and was closing on his position, 1st Lt. Hartell, in a final radio call, urged the friendly elements to fire both batteries continuously. Although mortally wounded, 1st Lt. Hartell's intrepid actions contributed significantly to stemming the onslaught and enabled his company to maintain the strategic strongpoint. His consummate valor and unwavering devotion to duty reflect lasting glory on himself and uphold the noble traditions of the military service."
His Medal was posthumously awarded to him on February 1, 1952.
The Battle of Bloody Ridge
After almost three weeks of fighting and over 2,700 casualties, the Eighth Army had won its objective. According to 2nd Division estimates, the defense of Bloody Ridge had cost the KPA over 15,000 casualties. The advance by the X Corps in August demonstrated once again the reluctance of the North Koreans to part
with any of their territory. Taking excellent advantage of the terrain and constructing well-placed defenses, they had fought bitterly to hold on to their observation posts on Bloody Ridge. Only when the attack had been broadened to apply pressure at several points along the Corps' front, and the 2nd Division had committed elements of all three of the division's regiments, and only after suffering severe casualties, did the North Koreans concede and evacuate the ridge.
The much higher KPA/PVA casualties were probably caused by: poor discipline and constraining orders so strict to the point where subordinate leaders were often not allowed to withdraw under any conditions, in which case the entire unit would be blooded. Even when permission was granted for a withdrawal, it often came only after the large majority of troops in the unit had been killed.the overwhelming advantage in artillery and air support of UN forces; the KPA/PVA forces had no air support. An enormously destructive "rain of fire" could be brought by UN units against KPA/PVA forces which they could not answer in kind.
After withdrawing from Bloody Ridge, the KPA set up new positions just 1,500 yards (1,400 m) away on a 7 miles (11 km) hill mass that was soon to earn the name Heartbreak Ridge
Danbury Veterans Groups, The Elks and the 399th Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol will be placing Wreaths on the graves of Danbury Area Veterans on December 14th 2019 in a ceremony.
The groups will be at;
Old Kenosia Cemetery at 0900
St. Peter's Cemetery at 1030
Historic Wooster Cemetery at 1200
For more information about the 399th go to www.399th.org or visit them Tuesday 6:15 PM at the Armed Forces Reserve Center 90 Wooster Heights Danbury, CT
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force's Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP's 57,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP's Cadet Programs. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.comfor more information.