2nd Korean Cruise (1952-53)

“The Mock Invasion of Kojo”

Memory from: Machinist Mate 3rd class Marvin Dwight Saylor

Setting the Scene

Diverting the attention of the enemy is a vital element of warfare. Even more crucial is making the enemy be where you want them when you want them there. Here, Machinist Mate 3rd class Marvin Dwight Saylor recounts the KIDD's involvement in a mock invasion of Kojo in North Korea and the way counter-intelligence figured prominently into a major strike against North Korean forces.

The Recollection

The invasion started one morning when I came on the main deck to go to the mess hall. When I looked around, there were ships of every size, shape, and description almost as far as the horizon in every direction. I would say maybe from forty to fifty ships, possibly more. We were told at that time that everything must be total silence. No radios, record players, or musical instruments playing. No loud noise such as dropping hard objects on the deck or hammering. Complete blackout above the main deck—no smoking or lights of any kind. When all the ships were assembled, we steamed up to a Russian sub base up north called something like Valadastock [Vladivostok] and turned around and came back to North Korea. No one could understand why we did that if what we were doing was such a secret. Then the mock invasion [of Kojo] started. We were at battle stations and I was in a repair party located in the compartment on the main deck that leads to the aft crew quarters.

At that time, I was a telephone talker and had on telephones and could step outside the compartment on the main deck and watch most of the operation. Like I said before, it was like watching a World War II movie, only we were living it. They started loading Marines into landing craft and circling around and around till all the craft were loaded. After they were in formation, they headed towards the beach and just before they were about to land, they turned around and headed back. Then the action started as the airplanes arrived from carriers somewhere over the horizon. The planes bombed, straffed, and rocketed the beach and mountains around the harbor. This went on for a long time. I heard that the casualties of the North Koreans were extreme. Then it made sense why we allowed the Russians to see our task force, knowing the North Koreans would be notified. They concentrated a lot of troops in that area because they must have also been alerted to the place with false information. It cost them dearly.

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