Lovin' Life

Friday, May 29, 2015

This article is a follow-up to the Memorial Day Tribute to the Halterman family.

Miracle at Kap'Yong

Ralph Halterman served as a medic under the 213th Field Artillery Battalion during the Korean War.  In 1950 there began to be much turmoil between North and South Korea, The United States in accordance with the United Nations entered the war siding with South Korea.  Sixteen countries were in UN support with South Korea; with China and the Soviet Union in support for North Korea. 

On August 3, 1950, the 213th Field Artillery Battalion in the Utah National Guard, having been training twice a month at Camp Williams, was called into the conflict.  The Battalion consisted of about 500 men from Southern Utah who were mainly businessman, newlyweds or young single men, with only a few leaders who had served in WWII.  They were led by Colonel Frank Dalley along with 5 Battery Commanders.  These were father figures for many of the young men.  The activation of this battalion hit Southern Utah harder than even WWII.  However, when called into duty they did not turn it down.  There was much support and comradery within the unit as there were many who shared this responsibility with brothers, cousins and good friends.

They left in August to train in Seattle, Washington, where they were rapidly trained on M7105 Howitzers.  Since they were originally a National Guard unit, they thought that the active duty soldiers would be sent before their unit. But to their surprise, because of the their quick learning and great skill, they were sent into active duty and left for Korea in late fall of 1950.   They were stationed NE of Seoul near Kap=yong. 

Colonel Dalley was an inspired military leader, as he would put a white flag in front of his tent every morning to consult with the supreme commander-in-chief of all the armies, seeking additional guidance in prayer with God. 

This unit had incredible accuracy in shooting with the ability to go through more than one million dollars of ammunition a day.   18 guns could hit the same target simultaneously, using 105mm rounds.  As the war waged on, and the line moved back and forth, they had many close calls where the 213th unit would arrive at a destination where just two hours before the previous unit had been wiped out or they would leave a location and a few hours later a different unit would get wiped out that had relocated into their previous spot. 

In the spring of 1951, they found themselves fighting in a narrow canyon at Kap=yong.  Colonel Dalley sent patrols to scout the area.  They signaled back that they were surrounded by enemies.  At that point the camp went into action, the order given that nobody sleeps. The friendly Korean infantry, just yards ahead of them, was wiped out and over 4,000 Chinese soldiers were headed directly at the 213th battalion.  Colonel Dalley=s thoughts turned to God and as he asked for help, his thoughts were guided by a supreme being and it became clear to him the course to follow. 

It came down to about 240 Utahns going against 4,000 enemy soldiers face to face.   It all broke loose.  The battalion fired small arms and howitzers and killed scores of the enemy but more kept coming. Everywhere they looked there were Chinese.  As quick as they could shoot with a howitzer, the ground would explode into 50 yds x 100 yds gaping holes in the earth, instantly filled with dead enemy soldiers.  

Other friendly units in the canyon were being wiped out.   A small group of the 213th took out a group of the Chinese officers with machine guns, and at that point the Chinese became disoriented and the battle changed courses.  Another small group of 18 men with 1 howitzer and 3 machine guns went down through another part of the canyon, killing Chinese by the hundreds.  By then, the Chinese stopped firing, laid down their weapons and raised their arms in a massive surrender.  Over 500 Chinese were killed with another 800 taken prisoners.  Somehow, miraculously, through it all, not one soldier from the 213th Battalion was killed.  Later, the Chinese soldiers who could speak English said, AWe shoot them but they don=t fall.@  The 213th battalion soldiers disarmed their prisoners and before returning, with the help of 50 Chinese prisoners, buried the enemy dead in huge 50-foot long trenches as graves.  Most of the battalion fought through the summer.  Other units rotated home before many in this National Guard unit. In October and November, much of the battalion was rotated home.

On January 25, 1952, the 213th Field Artillery Battalion was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for accomplishing their mission under extreme difficult and hazardous conditions, upholding the highest traditions of family, community and religion.

These were soldiers who went over as boys and came back as men.  They were morally straight, good men.  Most had been raised as LDS and believed the Book of Mormon, especially about Helaman=s stripling warriors.  The 213th returned with all of its men.  Some were sick, especially Colonel Dalley, going from 180 to 140 lbs.  From his daily diary, it was learned that he suffered from terrible headaches daily.  Many believe that all came back because of the spiritual support from home - from their family members that had prayed for them.  They felt that their faith and prayers protected their loved ones.  They also had strong leaders such as Colonel Dalley - he treated everyone like his own son.  He said that even though their situation was precarious, not once was the outcome in doubt, and they were guided to safety.

It was said that because of their unity and their faith in God they survived.  They worked together, prepared together and took care of each other.  And they all came back.  One soldier said, we didn=t pray for the Lord to be on our side, but that we were on his side and doing what=s right. They feel like they owe their lives to God, to each other and their families.

The entire original group was rotated home as other soldiers were sent as replacements to the 213th battalion.  From this new set of soldiers, some of the new replacements were killed in battle.  The 213th battalion spent 893 days in combat, using 240,497 rounds of ammunition.

Taken from:
Interviews with Ralph Halterman, about 2002
The Miracle at Kap Yong@ - video produced by SUTV-9 Communication Department, 2001.

Southern Utah University   
351 West University Blvd.
Cedar City, UT 84720           
Phone: (435) 865 8539

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Tribute - Robert & Butala Halterman Family

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." Pres. John F. Kennedy

  Memorial Day Tribute - Robert and Butala Halterman Family

Maurine, Austin, Lynn, Elwyn
Bob, Jerry (Jack), Daryl, Butella, Robert
Orland, Ralph, Lois, Bud

At the outbreak of WWII, Robert L. and Bertha[Butala] Rasmussen Halterman had 11 children, 9 sons and 2 daughters; all had been students at Parowan schools. 5 of the sons served in WWII and two in the Korean War, with another in a critical support position.

Elwyn used his radio technician and electrical mechanic skills to work for Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California, during World War II.
Lynn was in the US Infantry. After the war he was killed in an airplane crash at the Parowan Airport.

Austin's B-17 was destroyed when the Japanese bombed the air field. He was captured and held as a POW for 2 years. After surviving the brutal treatment of his captors, he was being transported to Japan in an enemy ship, when it was attacked and sunk by a U.S. Submarine, killing Austin.

Bob and his brother, Jack, both enlisted in the Navy and spent time together as flight instructors at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Note from Bill: Dad (Jerry Jack) and Uncle Bob were sent to Hawaii after Florida.  They were "test pilots" as I recall.  Their job was at least two-fold.  Primarily they would test planes that had been repaired after having been damaged.  They also ferried/moved planes from base to base in the islands.  I don't think they ever saw combat.

Bob either stayed in the Navy or enlisted later.  He was a fighter pilot when we lived in Modesto.  He used to visit and would bring his helmet with him.  He usually drove a little Porsche.  He left the Navy after an auto accident where a large, older model auto (Hudson, Packard?) ran a light (I think) and crunched his little sports car.  I always wanted his car!!!  Ralph would have more details.

Daryl  joined the Army Air Corp and graduated as a bombardier.  He was on a B-17 crew based in England and flew 17 missions over Germany, France and Poland. 

 Bud joined the Navy and served in the Korean War. 
Ralph, Butala, Barbara

Ralph joined the 213th Field Artillery Battalion in the Utah National Guard. His unit was activated in July 1950, one month after he graduated from high school, and sent in August 1950 to train in Seattle, Washington, on M7105 Howitzers.  Originally destined for Germany as peace keepers, this unit was so successful in shooting proficiency that they were called into active duty and left for Korea in late fall of 1950.  Ralph served as a medic in this historic company chronicled in the documentary, "Miracle at KapYong."  (Miracle at KapYong: The Story of the 213th. Produced by SUTV/SUU Communication Department, 2001) 

George Morris, Elona H. Morris, Keith Halterman, Ralph Halterman, Debbie H. Taylor, Orland Halterman, Levi Taylor
Daryl and Ralph are the only surviving members of the family. 

Presenter with Wilma and Daryl Halterman

Daryl dropped out of HS, joined the Army Air Corp and graduated as a bombardier. They were so impressed with his accomplishment that they gave him his HS diploma. He was on a B-17 crew based in England and flew 17 missions over Germany, France and Poland. He dropped a bomb on Berlin for Parowan. He made the military a career and later flew 30 missions against the North during the Korean War. He became a pilot and even worked in Special Ops retiring after 26 years with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Butala and Robert Halterman

The war must have constantly occupied Rob’s and Butala’s minds.  After Orland’s birth in 1937, Butala’s health began to weaken, and was exacerbated by the overwhelming burden of seeing five sons enlist in the service.  She must have grieved over the possibilities that one or more might not return.  By June 1942, the Haltermans learned that Austin was “listed as Missing in Action since the fall of Corregidor” on 7 May 1942.  Ralph remembered what seemed like a never-ending succession of days when Butala read the local newspapers and wept for her sons.  Her pro-active response to the situation is a testimony of her inner strength as she took action to help better the situation within her circle of influence.  With “only” five and then four children left at home, Butala became the president of the local PTA and helped coordinate war support projects such as Victory Gardens and a Rubber Footwear exchange that encouraged people to donate usable and unusable  “articles of rubber footwear, including rubbers, galoshes, overshoes, etc.”  (Jerry Jack Halterman, Notes, Period 1, 11; “Austin Halterman Listed As Missing In Action,” Parowan Times, 26 June 1942; Ralph Halterman, Interview.  “Rubber Footwear Exchange to Start next Monday,” Parowan Times, 15 January 1943)    



Tribune Intermountain Wire (Abt 1944)
Parowan Men Play War Role - Newspaper Article

Parowan – A Parowan family is doing its part in the defense of the four freedoms, with three members serving in the air forces and a fourth interned in a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines.

Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Halterman’s oldest son, Pvt. Austin L. Halterman, 25, enlisted in the air corps in Jan., 1941.  He was trained at March Field, Cal., and in Albuquerque, N. M., and was assigned to the Philippine islands in Oct., 1941.  He was at Bataan and was missing in action until June, 1943, when he was reported a prisoner.  His wife and small daughter reside in Maywood, Cal.

Bob, Jerry (Jack)
Ens. Robert J. Halterman, 23, enlisted in naval aviation in Nov., 1942, and trained at Salt Lake City, Del Monte, Cal., and Hutchinson, Kan., before receiving his commission at Pensacola, Fla.  He is now a flight instructor at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  He was graduated from the :University of Utah, where he majored in physical education.


 Ens. Jerry (Jack) Halterman enlisted in naval aviation in Feb., 1943, and was trained at Nogalis, Ariz., prior to being assigned to Del Monte, Cal.  His training stations have paralleled those of his brother, and he is also a flight instructor at Fort Lauderdale at the present time.  His wife, Mrs. Ruth Adams Halterman, formerly of Parowan, resides at Fort Lauderdale.

Lt. Daryl R. Halterman, 19, enlisted in the army air corps in April, 1943, and trained at Kearns, Emporia, Kan.; Santa Ana, Cal., and Las Vegas, Nev.  He was commissioned as a bombardier at Deming, N. M., and is receiving special training at Langley Field, Va.  He attended Parowan high school, and was graduated from Huntington park high school in California.

Austin, Wilma
 Austin married Helen Wilma Heywood on 24 December 1940 in Tijuana, Mexico.  The following month he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in January, 1941, at Maywood, California, joining the 93rd Bombardment Squadron.  “He was trained at March Field, Cal., and in Albuquerque, N. M., and was assigned to the Philippine islands in Oct., 1941.” 
He was in the Philippine Islands when the “Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th.”  Austin saw combat at Bataan and was listed as missing in action by the U.S. War Department after the fall of Corregidor, 7 May 1942.  This status was upgraded to “prisoner,” in June, 1943.  The family received a few postcards from Austin while he was imprisoned.  One dated 25 August 1944 was written from Philippine prison camp No. 10-C.  During this time, his wife, Wilma, and daughter, Judy, lived in Maywood, California.

The family received communication in June 1945 from the U.S. War Department, stating that Austin was “among the American prisoners lost [24 October 1944] in the sinking by a U. S. Submarine, of a Japanese prison ship in the South China Sea.”  The letter stated that “Private First class Austin L. Halterman . . . was among those lost when the sinking occurred and, in the absence of any probability of survival, must be considered to have lost his life.”  1

[1]  Judyth Shadoan Peterson, personal interview by Debra H. Taylor, 18 July 2000,  “Austin Halterman Listed As Missing In Action,” Parowan Times, 26 June 1942; “Parowan Men Play War Role,” Tribune Intermountain Wire, abt 1944, “Austin Halterman Writes From Philippine Prison,” Parowan Times, 25 August 1944; “Austin Lee Halterman Lost In Prison ship Sinking,” Parowan Times, 22 June 1945; “Impressive Rites held for Austin Halterman Sun.,” Obituary , photocopy of news article, in possession of author; U. S. Government, War Department, Official papers, in Elwyn R. Halterman’s records, now held by Elona Halterman Morris.

Austin Halterman's Funeral, Parowan



Elwyn was interested in radio for its beginnings, and earned a certificate as a radio station operator at Western Electrical College.  He was a radio technician and electrical mechanic for Leigh Furniture in Cedar City.  He continued his career in electronics, working for Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California, during World War II. (“Elwyn Halterman,” Obituary, News Article, 1997)


Thirteen-year-old Bud also aided the war effort in the “Schools at War Campaign,” a fund raiser to support the Fourth War Loan Drive.  He helped sell bonds and stamps, and auction “canned fruits, pickles, apples, cakes, pies, chickens, rabbits, popcorn, oats, corn, and eggs.” (“Parowan High Goes over the Top in Bond Sales,” Parowan Times, 18 February 1944)

Back: Butala, Daryl; Front: Bud, Orland, Ralph

During World War II, 4-H efforts were “directed toward victory gardens, civilian defense, salvage programs, and bond campaigns as well as food preservation.” (“History of 4-H,” www.ext.nodak.edu/4h/history.htm)



In 1935, Lynn joined the army and was assigned to the 38th Infantry at Ft. Douglas.  The Parowan Times reported that he returned home on brief furlough for the deer hunt.  While home, he obviously found his “dear,” marrying Mildred Mitchell on 4 November 1935 in St. George, Washington County, Utah.  Lynn finished up active military duty in the winter of 1940 and moved his family to California, where he worked in a defense plant.  The family returned to Parowan for one year, then moved to Hill Field Air Base in northern Utah.  Soon thereafter, Lynn decided to re-enter the military and enlisted in the Air Corps towards the end World War II.  He was discharged after the birth of his fourth child for having so many dependents.  (Keith Halterman, Interview;  “Soldier Marries While Home on Brief Furlough,” Parowan Times, 8 November 1935)