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    MSC Ship’s Crew Salutes Namesake Army Hero, MOH Recipient

    Army Lt. Col. John U.D. Page

    Photo By Katie Lange | Army Lt. Col. John U.D. Page. Army photo... read more read more



    Story by Leslie Hull-Ryde 

    Military Sealift Command Far East

    As the nation observes Memorial Day, one Military Sealift Command crew reflects on the heroic, selfless service of its ship’s namesake.

    MV Lt. Col. John U.D. Page (T-AK 4543) is named for the Army officer whose actions at the Chosin Reservoir plateau during the Korean War helped save American lives and dismantle enemy forces. During several enemy engagements November and December 1950, Page’s consistent, decisive actions helped advance U.S. objectives. On Dec. 10, he ran headlong into enemy fire, not only providing cover for the troops he was with at the time but also degrading the enemy’s force structure and strength.

    “His intrepid action so surprised the enemy that their ranks became disordered and suffered heavy casualties,” according to his Medal of Honor citation.

    “Heedless of his safety, as he had been throughout the preceding 10 days, Lt. Col. Page remained forward, fiercely engaging the enemy single-handed until mortally wounded.”

    The captain of the ship which now bears Page’s name says few people possess the “determined courage” of the Princeton University graduate who also served during World War II.

    “Our day-to-day work does not require this type of valor,” said Capt. Paul Bonney, master of MV Page.

    “We are not tested as he was, and the best we can do to honor his memory is be ready to serve when and where it is required while maintaining a vessel that he and his family would be proud of.”

    Each year, Memorial Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices of those, like Page, killed in action – and that of their families. The crew of the ship named for the Army officer doesn’t commit just one day a year to honoring Page.

    Throughout the ship, crew members see constant reminders. For example, a plaque describing Page’s heroism hangs prominently on a wall in a main section of the ship through which the crew routinely passes.

    “What is striking about Lieutenant Colonel Page is his relentless desire to serve,” Bonney said.

    “As a crew, we realize that if we can bring a mere fraction of this desire to our day-to-day duties, we can maintain a vessel worthy of the name: Lieutenant Colonel John U.D. Page.”

    MV Page is part of Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron 2 and provides the U.S. Army with critical supplies and equipment throughout the Indo-Pacific region. The ship’s crew is made up of contracted mariners.

    Maintaining mission readiness and the continued commitment to selfless service while sustaining Army units are Page-like qualities embodied by the crew. During a recent drill with other U.S. Navy and Military Sealift Command ships, MV Page enhanced its navigational tactics and procedures and bridge-to-bridge communication practices.

    “While meeting all MSC operational criteria, the vessel’s overall condition is improved day by day, month to month, year after year,” Bonney said.

    “Our primary mission is to be prepared to ‘deliver the spear’ at a moment notice. Our recent training was a strong display of this inherent readiness.

    “I like to believe that a brilliant soldier such as Lieutenant Colonel John U.D. Page would have appreciated the precision that was on display during this training.”

    Bonney says that MSC ships’ namesakes are “an elite group.” Currently, 34 MSC operating around the globe bear the name of Medal of Honor recipients, many of whom lost their lives in combat. They will certainly be remembered on Memorial Day and throughout the year.

    “The goal is and has always been to make the family of the MOH recipient proud of the vessel,” Bonney said.

    For more information on Page, who was born in the Philippines but grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, go to the Congressional Medal of Honor website at

    Lt. Col. John U.D. Page Medal of Honor Citation

    Lt. Col. Page, a member of X Corps Artillery, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty in a series of exploits. On 29 November, Lt. Col. Page left X Corps Headquarters at Hamhung with the mission of establishing traffic control on the main supply route to 1st Marine Division positions and those of some Army elements on the Chosin Reservoir plateau. Having completed his mission Lt. Col. Page was free to return to the safety of Hamhung but chose to remain on the plateau to aid an isolated signal station, thus being cut off with elements of the marine division. After rescuing his jeep driver by breaking up an ambush near a destroyed bridge, Lt. Col. Page reached the lines of a surrounded marine garrison at Koto-ri. He then voluntarily developed and trained a reserve force of assorted army troops trapped with the marines. By exemplary leadership and tireless devotion he made an effective tactical unit available. In order that casualties might be evacuated, an airstrip was improvised on frozen ground partly outside of the Koto-ri defense perimeter which was continually under enemy attack. During two such attacks, Lt. Col. Page exposed himself on the airstrip to direct fire on the enemy and twice mounted the rear deck of a tank, manning the machine gun on the turret to drive the enemy back into a no man's land. On 3 December while being flown low over enemy lines in a light observation plane, Lt. Col. Page dropped hand grenades on Chinese positions and sprayed foxholes with automatic fire from his carbine. After 10 days of constant fighting the marine and army units in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir had succeeded in gathering at the edge of the plateau and Lt. Col. Page was flown to Hamhung to arrange for artillery support of the beleaguered troops attempting to break out. Again Lt. Col. Page refused an opportunity to remain in safety and returned to give every assistance to his comrades. As the column slowly moved south Lt. Col. Page joined the rear guard. When it neared the entrance to a narrow pass it came under frequent attacks on both flanks. Mounting an abandoned tank Lt. Col. Page manned the machine gun, braved heavy return fire, and covered the passing vehicles until the danger diminished. Later when another attack threatened his section of the convoy, then in the middle of the pass, Lt. Col. Page took a machine gun to the hillside and delivered effective counterfire, remaining exposed while men and vehicles passed through the ambuscade. On the night of 10 December the convoy reached the bottom of the pass but was halted by a strong enemy force at the front and on both flanks. Deadly small-arms fire poured into the column. Realizing the danger to the column as it lay motionless, Lt. Col. Page fought his way to the head of the column and plunged forward into the heart of the hostile position. His intrepid action so surprised the enemy that their ranks became disordered and suffered heavy casualties. Heedless of his safety, as he had been throughout the preceding 10 days, Lt. Col. Page remained forward, fiercely engaging the enemy singlehandedly until mortally wounded. By his valiant and aggressive spirit Lt. Col. Page enabled friendly forces to stand off the enemy. His outstanding courage, unswerving devotion to duty, and supreme self-sacrifice reflect great credit upon Lt. Col. Page and are in the highest tradition of the military service.



    Date Taken: 05.28.2021
    Date Posted: 05.28.2021 05:13
    Story ID: 397680

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