Welton Ralph Abell

WELTON RALPH ABELL, First Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps Reserve. For extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy while serving with a Marine Infantry Battalion in Korea, from 6-10 December 1950. While serving as company commander of a marine rifle company Lieutenant Abell demonstrated outstanding qualties of personal leadership, bravery and resourcefulness under most unfavorable circumstances. On 5 December 1950, he was serving as a member of a regimental staff. During the afternoon he was given command of a rifle company which for five days had been isolated and suffered heavy casualties. This company which consisted of sixty-four men and one officer had just completed a day’s march through enemy territory in sub zero weather. During the night the company was augmented by one hundred officers and men from special units of the division. This constitued Lieutenant Abell’s command the following morning when his company moved out at first light as part of the advance guard battalion for the division’s move from Hagaru-ri to Koto-ri. Throughout the following twenty-two hours of continuous action in sub zero weather in overcoming successive strong enemy positions which blocked the road, Lieutenant Abell placed himself at the head of his troops and with complete disregard for his personal safety moved under intense enemy fire to areas where the fighting was the heaviest in order to personally direct fire and movement of the men who were inexperienced in infantry tactics. Early in the day all but two of the officers were either killed or critically wounded, thus rendering control more difficult. In the afternoon an enemy movement threatened his flank. After two runners had been wounded in trying to reach one of his squads with a message to shift their fire, Lieutenant Abell personally moved through intense enemy fire in order to dispose his men and direct their fire in such a manner as to block the enemy threat. Throughout this move Lieutenant Abell led by example and by his display of calm courage and confidence where the fighting was heaviest he inspired his men and gave them faith in both his ability and theirs. On 8 December he continued to demonstrate outstanding leadership in the battalion’s advance guard action from Koto-ri. Assigned the mission of seizing and defending a hill he skillfully maneuvered his depleted company and in the late afternoon was ordered to take up a defensive position. While inspecting his lines and encouraging his men he was painfully wounded. In spite of this he continued to excercise command and remained with his company until a strong counterattack had been repulsed. Only then did he return to the aid station for treatment. His fearless action and outstanding achievement contributed materially to the accomplishment of his battalions mission. Lieutenant Abell’s display of outstanding courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Mr. Abell resided in California.

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