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1st Cavalry Sgt. Steven D Koonter- Early 1960s Korean Occupation/Fort Knox Group


36thIDAlex

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Hello all,

 

I've had this stuff for about a year or so now and felt like I ought to post it here on the forums. This group of items belonged to my grandfather Sgt. Steven D. Koonter.

 

Koonter enlisted in 1960 with a high school buddy and was promptly assigned to a training unit of the 2nd ID at Fort Benning. Soon after he was assigned to the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, who at that time was assigned security duty on the Korean DMZ. He hitched a ride on the USS Mitchell to Korea and soon became the heavy weapons operator of his platoon (still the BAR at this time). He served a brief stint as an MP and mortar crewman before eventually finding his place in the camp kitchen.

He became one of the primary cooks and worked a lot with the "KPs" aka Korea citizens volunteering with the US Army. During this time he was part of a watch rotation on the Main Battle Position (MBP) which was basically a series of trenches and bunkers built into the hills directly facing the DMZ. He has told me stories of how there were nights that he could see massive North Korean convoys transporting ordnance and other military hardware into hollowed out caves and mountains directly opposite of them on the other side of the border. He said the scary thing was how they always went in but never seemed to come out.

He participated in a number of field training exercises including what he called North Korea's "yearly threat" where every few months NK would amass a large army near the border just to appear like they were about to attack. Every single time the invasion proved false and would turn into their yearly show of strength.

 

In 1963 Koonter returned to the US and was stationed with C company, 54th Infantry Reg. at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Here he served as an MP, a mechanic in the motor pool (he was very into cars at the time and still is today) and eventually, the company supply Sergeant. During his stint at Fort Knox, he met my grandmother and managed to get discharged after the birth of my mother in 1965, only weeks later a number of men in his unit would be transferred to Vietnam.

 

I have always been very close with my grandfather and over the course of the last year have been finding a number of his things he saved from the military scattered throughout his basement. Below are some photos of the most important things a link to a photo album I digitized from his service in Korea. There are lots of very interesting photos that show a lot of lesser seen equipment being used, as the Army was still transitioning from Korean war stuff to the newly developed Vietnam gear.

 

Thanks

 

The link to his photo album: https://goo.gl/photos/3bPUN8F6END7sz1x9

Here is a brief sampling of the photos he took that I digitized. He is the one wearing headgear in each photo.

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The fully patched M51 field jacket that he received during his time at Fort Knox

post-167017-0-67620300-1519254135.jpg

GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard              ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR                      ACW               Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR                  ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID       WWI                WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co.           WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID    WWII              WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70                     WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div         Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div     Vietnam

 

Contact me with items from the 36th Infantry Division or any IDd uniforms of European Theater Infantry Divisions

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His Ridgeway cap with the 5th Cavalry Insignia

 

post-167017-0-94314500-1519254359.jpg

 

 

An M51 Overcoat from Fort Knox

 

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For some reason, the Army issued him some WWII Navy foul weather gear as his rain equipment. He decided to keep it for post-service use

 

post-167017-0-81361800-1519254371_thumb.jpg

 

GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard              ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR                      ACW               Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR                  ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID       WWI                WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co.           WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID    WWII              WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70                     WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div         Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div     Vietnam

 

Contact me with items from the 36th Infantry Division or any IDd uniforms of European Theater Infantry Divisions

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Vehicle Medical Kit with all of the original contents he saved from the supply depot

 

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Photos of his 54th infantry cap insignia, a pillowcase he brought home (the same design as the cover of his photo album), his Fort Knox patch, and dog tags

 

post-167017-0-22923400-1519254476_thumb.jpg

GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard              ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR                      ACW               Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR                  ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID       WWI                WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co.           WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID    WWII              WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70                     WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div         Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div     Vietnam

 

Contact me with items from the 36th Infantry Division or any IDd uniforms of European Theater Infantry Divisions

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Photograph from the day he was promoted to Sgt. at Fort Knox, he is the far left kneeler

 

post-167017-0-29735500-1519254612.jpg

 

 

 

The Fort Knox newspaper from the day he was promoted, I like the art of the title

 

post-167017-0-13882000-1519254695_thumb.jpg

GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard              ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR                      ACW               Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR                  ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID       WWI                WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co.           WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID    WWII              WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70                     WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div         Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div     Vietnam

 

Contact me with items from the 36th Infantry Division or any IDd uniforms of European Theater Infantry Divisions

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  • 2 weeks later...

1965, that would be the 4th Battalion 54th Infantry as we see, this unit was Ft Knox School Troops, I think it was sometime in 1966 that the 194th Armored Brigade (Sep) was transferred from Ft Ord California and reassigned to Ft Knox, here the 4/54 Inf was simply assigned to the brigade.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Para504-505

Alex,

 

I am the current Command Sergeant Major for 2-54 IN at Fort Benning, GA. 2-54 IN is the last BN of the 54IN regiment on active duty. Do you have info or items on any other 54th infantry unit?

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