Wednesday, May 30, 2012

TFH 5/30: PFC Robert J. Avington, USA

The United States Army's 7th Infantry Division was based in Japan on occupation duty following World War II. When war broke out in Korea in 1950, the 7th was depleted by sending its soldiers to reinforce the 1st Cavalry Division and 25th Infantry Division on the Korean peninsula. The division received a priority for replacements arriving from the United States and participated in the Inchon Landing with the 1st Marine Division.

The following May during intense fighting after the Chinese Communist intervention on behalf of the North Koreans, the 7th Division's 31st Infantry Regiment found itself on the defensive against the enemy attacking hordes. One brave soldier, Private First Class Robert J. Avington, repelled three enemy attacks with his machine gun while ignoring his own wounds to an arm and his head. For his gallantry in action, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

From Military Times' Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Private First Class Robert J. Avington (ASN: RA-13273276), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with Company D, 1st Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Private First Class Avington distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces at Hwachon, Korea, on 30 May 1951. On that date, the machine-gunner in his squad was seriously wounded, when Private Avington, despite a wound in his arm, placed the gun back in operation and successfully turned back an enemy attack in force. Aiding the seriously wounded gunner as best he could, he refused aid for himself and sent for a litter to evacuate his comrade. The enemy again sent a wave of troops to rush his position, and the remaining element of the hostile force attempted to isolate him from assistance by pouring heavy fire on his position. He again poured a relentless stream of fire into the on-rushing horde and, while reloading his weapon, was grazed on the head by rifle fire and thrown back from his gun by concussion grenades. Crawling back to his gun, and pausing only to throw out enemy grenades which were lobbed into his position, he again halted the hostile assault with his accurate fire. Several of his comrades sprang forward to render assistance, but Private Avington, although bleeding profusely from the head and arm, again refused evacuation and demanded more ammunition for his weapons. When the enemy launched third assault against his position, though nearly unconscious from loss of blood, he again directed a devastating stream of fire on the assaulting force until they fled in wild disorder. His determined and heroic action resulted in more than 150 dead Chinese Communist troops, numerous others wounded, and in saving the platoon position from being overrun.

I couldn't find any records to indicate otherwise, so I believe PFC Avington to still be living. 1st Battalion, 31st Infantry is currently inactive. The headquarters of the 7th Infantry Division will be reactivated by the Army this October as a training command.

1 comment:

  1. I have received an email from the grandson of Robert Avington; he is indeed still living.

    Once again, I am so happy and honored that a relative of one of these great men has found their way here. We owe all our heroes so much, and I wish I could do so much more than what I do here.



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