Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TFH 6/26: Corporal Paul G. Foster, USA

The United States Army's 45th Infantry Division was originally constituted in 1920 as part of the Oklahoma National Guard. The division saw its first combat during World War II in July 1943 with the invasion of Sicily. They also fought on the Italian mainland and southern France.

The 45th Division was reactivated for service in the Korean War in Feburary 1951. During the combat stalemate between American and communist forces in 1952, the division fought on the static front lines enduring trench warfare reminiscent of World War I.

Sixty years ago today on June 26, 1952, a corporal with the 45th Division's 2d Battalion, 180th Infantry Regiment single-handedly took out two enemy machine gun positions over three hours of intense close combat. His name was Paul G. Foster, and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism.

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 Corporal Paul G. Foster, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with Company F, 2d Battalion, 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. Corporal Foster distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces at Sidamak, Korea, on 26 June 1952. On that date, Company F was attacking Hill 266 through a heavy barrage of small-arms, grenade, and mortar fire from well-entrenched enemy troops. The 2d platoon had pushed forward within thirty yards of the crest of the hill when it was halted by deadly fire from a reinforced machine-gun position on the left. Without hesitation, Corporal Foster ran within twenty feet of the gun position and attacked it with grenades. He continued his aggressive action for approximately fifteen minutes and finally silenced the gun. When a second gun opened fire on the right, he immediately raced across the open ground, vigorously pressed his grenade attack against the hostile emplacement, and hurled enemy grenades hack into their position in rapid succession. Although urged by his comrades to withdraw, he continued his bold attack for three hours, inflicting casualties on the enemy and silencing the gun. During this action, he was knocked unconscious by the explosion of a grenade which had become lodged on his bandoleer. His inspirational conduct and determined actions contributed materially to the successful accomplishment of his unit's mission.

As with yesterday's TFH honoree, Charles G. Little, I wasn't able to find much of the life story of Corporal Foster. Searches online do not yield an obituary or a burial site, so it is possible that he's still alive. I did find a Dr. Paul G. Foster in Massachusetts who graduated from medical school in 1960 and did his internship in the Army. It's remotely plausible (may not be old enough) that this is the same man, but unknown if that's the case.

The 45th Infantry Division was disbanded in 1968. The lineage, record, and traditions of the division are held and kept alive by the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oklahoma National Guard.


  1. Dakota Kulp12:51 AM

    Hi there and thank you for rememebring my great grandfather and his heroic actions. He is still with us and he is 84 years old. He lives in Wiconisco, Pa were he was born and raised. Its only a short travel to Fort Indian Town Gap. If you would like any more information you may contact me at kulpy32@yahoo.com Thanks again I appreciate it.

  2. I'm so glad you found my blog. Please pass along my well wishes and appreciation to your great grandfather!!



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