|The BCT emblem|
The first contingent of the 19th arrived in Korea late April 1952 with the last contingent rotating to Korea two months later. Battalion commander was Col. Ramon Aguirre.
The 19th held a segment of the main line of resistance in the Chorwon-Siboni corridor in the west central sector of Korea. It was first attached operationally to the US 1 Corps and then to the US 45th Infantry Division. Armistice negotiations to end the war were being discussed when the 19th went into action against the men of the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (CPV). The men of this famed battalion acquitted themselves well against the CPV.
But their most outstanding combat achievement was in the battle for hills dominating the Chorwon-Siboni area, considered he most vulnerable sector of the UNC’s front line. The battalion was given responsibility for defending Hill 191 (also called Arsenal Hill) and Hill Eerie, comprising Combat Outpost No. 8, on 17 June.
|Preparing to attack a Chinese position.|
The CPV continued pummeling the battalion’s positions the next day in preparation for an infantry assault that was aborted after the 19th returned fire. The intense artillery duels resulted in the deaths of eight Filipinos, including an officer.
|Camp Tiano: Home of the 19th in Korea.|
Under terrific artillery fire, and attacked by a massive force, the battalion stood its ground. Counter battery fire destroyed many of the CPV guns and mortars.
On the battlefield, the battalion fought in a savage hand-to-hand and bayonet melee throughout the evening. At some positions along the Filipino line, the battle looked like the siege of a medieval castle with the Chinese clambering up ladders and the Filipinos shooting them down or pushing them off. Lt. Apollo Tiano led his platoon in a frantic bayonet charge against the advancing Chinese, killing one before being killed himself. His men held their positions.
The Chinese ware fought to a standstill and forced to retreat by a savage counterattack. The fight continued until the morning of the 21st. The retreating Chinese left behind the hulks of two tanks and over 500 dead. Eight Filipinos were killed and 16 wounded in the brutal night battle.
At the end of this gory, four-day battle, a group of Filipino soldiers ascended Hill 191 and, in full view of the Chinese, planted the Filipino flag on its summit. It was a heroic act of defiance that told the Chinese they had lost this battle.
More actions against the CPV followed and the fighting skill shown by the veterans of the 19th drew respect and praise from other UN fighting units. The 19th was the first PEFTOK battalion awarded the South Korean Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation. It also received a Battle Citation from the US X Corps.