.....I buried a good friend and work mate of many years today. He was 74 and his name was David B. Bleak. If you don't know who he was you can simply look him up under the Congressional Medal of Honor winners. He didn't do much. He was a simple Medic in Korea whose patrol came under hostile fire.

by Tides Member MCVG-2 Vette.



Medic on a Mission

Chances are there would be casualties, and someone would be needed to take care of them. After all, thats a medics job, and Sgt. David B. Bleak had no illusions about what he would be called on to do after volunteering to accompany a reconnaissance patrol. A medic with the Armys 223rd Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division, Bleak had heard the patrols mission was to engage the enemy and capture a prisoner for interrogation.

At daybreak on June 14, 1952, as he and his fellow Americans forged up Hill 499 near Minari-gol, Korea, they came under withering enemy machinegun fire. As men began to fall around him, the 20-year-old Idaho Falls, Idaho, native swung into action, darting to those who needed medical aid, pulling them to cover or offering words of encouragement.

During the battle, Bleak, a large man, saw a grenade bounce off a soldiers helmet and roll a few feet away. Without giving it a second thought, he threw himself at the soldier and they both tumbled to the ground, unhurt as the grenade exploded.

Three Chinese soldiers began firing at Bleak. After tackling the first and breaking his neck, Bleak used his massive hands to crush the windpipe of the second, then plunged his trench knife into the third mans chest. Meanwhile, the troops he accompanied drove the last of the enemy from the hill, except for a previously undetected machinegun. It opened fire, and three men fell.

As Bleak rushed to them, a bullet struck him in the leg. He dressed the wound and returned to the others. Two of the wounded soldiers could walk on their own, but the third had to be hoisted by Bleak onto his broad shoulders. As they headed down the hill, two Chinese soldiers charged Bleak with bayonets. He quickly lowered the soldier from his shoulders to the ground then focused on the enemy. Dodging their thrusts, Bleak managed to get a huge hand around each mans head, then slammed both heads together, cracking their skulls. He again picked up the American and continued on to safety.

On Oct. 27, 1953, David E. Bleak received the Medal of Honor from President Eisenhower.

CITATION:
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Medical Company 223d Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division. Place and date: Vicinity of Minari-gol, Korea, 14 June 1952. Entered service at: Shelley, Idaho. Born: 27 February 1932, Idaho Falls, Idaho. G.O. No.: 83, 2 November 1953. Citation: Sgt. Bleak, a member of the medical company, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. As a medical aidman, he volunteered to accompany a reconnaissance patrol committed to engage the enemy and capture a prisoner for interrogation. Forging up the rugged slope of the key terrain, the group was subjected to intense automatic weapons and small arms fire and suffered several casualties. After administering to the wounded, he continued to advance with the patrol. Nearing the military crest of the hill, while attempting to cross the fire-swept area to attend the wounded, he came under hostile fire from a small group of the enemy concealed in a trench. Entering the trench he closed with the enemy, killed 2 with bare hands and a third with his trench knife. Moving from the emplacement, he saw a concussion grenade fall in front of a companion and, quickly shifting his position, shielded the man from the impact of the blast. Later, while ministering to the wounded, he was struck by a hostile bullet but, despite the wound, he undertook to evacuate a wounded comrade. As he moved down the hill with his heavy burden, he was attacked by 2 enemy soldiers with fixed bayonets. Closing with the aggressors, he grabbed them and smacked their heads together, then carried his helpless comrade down the hill to safety. Sgt. Bleak's dauntless courage and intrepid actions reflect utmost credit upon himself and are in keeping with the honored traditions of the military service.

He has a Army hospital building named after him. The entire state of Idaho paused today.

David, Thanks and Rest well My Friend and may God fully repay you for: "Greater love hath No Man then to lay down his life for another."

You gents will excuse the tears in my eyes and the fact that I am feeling "Very American" today.

Dennis A. Horvath, American
(AKA MCVG-2 Vette)