Webb, John B

John Bailey Webb was born on October 8, 1931 in Paoli, Pennsylvania. He attended Tredyffrin-Easttown High School. The high school yearbook describes him as:

        “Jackie – dependable, fun loving guy with a broad grin, fond of girls and cars and always ready to give out with a joke.”

Jackie graduated in 1950 and joined the Marine Corps on July 28th. He received basic training in Paris Island, South Carolina. Jackie was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. His division was sent overseas to Korea to supplement our forces to resist the overwhelming attack by Chinese Forces.
webb
The North Korean Army invaded South Korea in 1950, pushing the Allied forces back to a corner of South Korea, to the Pusan Perimeter. The 1st Marine Division was sent to Korea as reinforcements. With the 1st Marines playing a major role, our forces eventually pushed back the North Korean Army back into North Korea to the Chinese border at the Yahu River. Jackie’s Division operated largely in the Chosin Reservoir area.

On November 28th, the Chinese Army attacked across the border into North Korea. Eight Divisions attacked staged a frontal assault as well as a piercing attack 35 miles behind the Marines with the express intention of annihilating the Leathernecks.

The 10-day battle involved the fiercest fighting of the Korean War, in the midst of extreme cold, and was known as the “Frozen Chosin.” The Marines were cut off by massive Chinese forces and to fight their way out, to the sea to be evacuated by the Navy.General O. P. Smith, Commanding the 1st Marine Division was asked if the marines were retreating, replied that they in a fighting withdrawal through the Chinese lines. He was later reported as saying: “Retreat? Hell, we’re attacking in a different direction.”

The Marines made their way to the coast through 78 miles of mountain roads and the Chinese Army. Jackie’s Division formed a perimeter around the port of Hungnam in early December. The nearby small airfield at Nagaru-Ri, was used to airlift casualties with small transport aircraft, beginning on December 2nd. The seaborne evacuation began a week later: approximately 105,000 soldiers and 98,000 civilians were evacuated before the end of December.

Pfc John Bailey Webb was Killed In Action on December 6, 1951 in the Chosen Reservoir area. 
His mother received notification of his death on Tuesday December 26th, the day after Christmas.

His mother received the letter from his CO (Commanding Officer) which reads in part:

 It is a painful task for me to write this letter, but as the commanding officer of your son Pfc. John Webb, USMC, I feel that I owe it to him to inform his next of kin about the circumstances of his passing.

 John Webb was serving as a member of the assault platoon of my company during the breakout at Nagaru-Ri, Korea, on the 6th of December, 1950. When the battalion encountered the Chinese road-block south of Nagaru-Ri, Pfc. Webb voluntarily began carrying ammunition for the company machine gunner covering the troops attacking Chinese position….until he was struck by snipers bullets.

He has been laid to rest with other gallant Marines who gave their all in defense of their ideals. It was an honor to have the opportunity of knowing your son and having him in my command….

A fine Marine and a good and loyal companion has gone from our midst and we will miss him. Please accept my deepest sympathy in your hour of bereavement.”

He has been laid to rest with other gallant Marines who gave their all in defense of their ideals. It was an honor to have the opportunity of knowing your son and having him in my command….
A fine Marine and a good and loyal companion has gone from our midst and we will miss him. Please accept my deepest sympathy in your hour of bereavement.”

For “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity against the enemy”, John posthumously was awarded the Silver Star with a citation from President Truman. The medal was presented to his mother at ceremonies at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on February 19, 1952. The citation reads as follows:

“On Dec 6, 1950 his unit came under heavy automatic weapons fire. When Pfc Webb saw a friendly machine gun unit was running out of ammunition he volunteered to carry a new supply to the unit. With complete disregard of his personal safety Pfc Webb left a position of relative safety and repeatedly crossed the fire swept terrain in order to complete his task.

His gallantry and fearless actions materially aided in reducing the enemy’s positions. He continued to deliver the ammunition until he was mortally wounded.

His unselfish devotion to duty was a source of inspiration to all who served with him.

Pfc Webb’s heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U. S. Naval Service.”

His gallantry and fearless actions materially aided in reducing the enemy’s positions. He continued to deliver the ammunition until he was mortally wounded.
His unselfish devotion to duty was a source of inspiration to all who served with him.
Pfc Webb’s heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U. S. Naval Service.”

His remains were returned for burial in his home country, in 1952, as part of an exchange with the North Koreans. 

Credits

 
Research by Don Wambold, WCMSC