A First Team Trooper's Korean War Legacy
by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kelsey Miller
September 10, 2021
As the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division heads
towards its Centennial birthday on September 13, 2021 ... observing its
storied past illustrates for those who currently serve the legends
who came before.
of the 1st Cav. Div. like 92-year-old Capt. (Ret.) Frank Maloney
(left), a veteran of the Korean War, have paved the way for new
generations to forge their own legacy.
The Korean War, sometimes referred to as
“the Forgotten War”, is a tremendous part of history and holds many
“firsts” for the 1st Cav. Div., also nicknamed the “First Team”.
After World War II, in September of 1945,
the 1st Cav. Div. was the first to lead forces into Japan’s capital
city, earning the division’s distinction of “First in Tokyo”, and
spent the next five years in Japan on Occupation Duty.
During this time, Capt. (Ret.) Frank Maloney was preparing to join
As a young man, Maloney served as a Bugler
in the Boy Scouts and was later approached by a Scout Master who
asked him to join the State Guard, which he did for a few years,
“When I graduated high school in 1946 at age
18, I went into the regular Army and enlisted for an 18-month tour,”
said Maloney. “Since I had already had experience in the State
Guard, I went right through the 13-week basic training. I promoted
to Corporal right out of basic and was assigned as a drill
instructor for about 18 months, at which time I was then appointed
to Officer Candidate School.”
Maloney attended the only Army
OCS at that time in Fort Riley, Kansas.
“I graduated and was
assigned to Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. After three
months there I was sent overseas to Japan, where I joined the 1st
Cav. Div. at Camp Drake.”
Maloney was a brand-new 2nd Lt.
assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, “Garryowen”.
At that time, the Army was made up of those who elected to stay
in after WWII, who were in their 30’s, and not in the best shape,
and privates who were kids, 17 and 18-years-old, he said.
“The First CAV was really about the best. The 7th Cavalry was an
outstanding outfit. We were “Garryowen”, and we let everybody know
it. We were very proud of that, and we took a great deal of pride in
In June of 1950, North Korea invaded South
Korea and the 1st Cav. Div. prepared for another battle.
went in in the middle of July 1950 and made an amphibious landing at
This was the Korean War’s first amphibious
By the end of July, the division began offensive
operations to the north and crossed the 38th parallel on October
9th. As they continued their maneuver to North Korea’s capital, the
division was the “First in Pyongyang”.
“The First Cav. Div.
led the way through Seoul and eventually most of the North Korean
army was wiped out,” said Maloney. “We did tremendous damage to the
enemy. We lost an awful lot of men. I know I was one of very few
officers left in my battalion.”
After a year and a half of
continuous combat, the division began its return to Japan, and
established a defensive presence in the northern island of Hokkaido.
During the war, Maloney was wounded and lost vision in both
eyes. He was flown to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, where
he stayed in recovery for approximately a year. The doctors there
were able to save one of his eyes.
“One of the things in the
hospital that I realized was there was a tremendous amount of esprit
de corps amongst the Soldiers and officers there. There were a lot
of them who wanted to get back and many of them did. Many of them
went back to Korea.”
Maloney received the Silver Star Medal,
the third-highest military decoration for gallantry in combat, for
his actions on Aug. 13, 1950, near Mo-Dong Korea.
received two Bronze Medals, a Purple Heart and the Combat
Infantryman Badge, and was promoted to the rank of Captain.
“I wanted to stay in the Army,” Maloney said. “I loved it and I had
a lot of friends who were still alive.”
In 1951, the Army
sent him to the University of Texas at Austin where he taught ROTC
and assisted in other programs there.
doesn’t end with his service in the Korean War. After his service,
he completed law school and was licensed in Texas and again in
“I practiced law up until I retired a few
years ago,” Maloney said.
He served on the Court of Criminal
Appeals in the state of Texas and taught law for many years.
Additionally, his son is a Major who now serves in the 1st Cav. Div.
“I grew up hearing stories about the 1st Cav. Div. and what
a great unit it was and how much pride the unit has,” said Maj. Ed
Maloney, son of Capt. (Ret.) Frank Maloney and the 1st Cav. Div.
deputy officer for information operations. “The unit is still full
of pride, and it is really a great deal for me to get to serve in
the same division that my dad did.”
Remembering the Korean
War and all his comrades is emotional for Maloney.
under Gen. Hobart Gay, Gen (then Lt. Col.) Billy Harris, Gen (then
Capt.) John Hill, and the intrepid Lt. Col. Peter D Clainos. Others
I served with were Charles McGee, Hugh Hoffman, ‘Ug’ Fuson, John
Wadsworth, Tom Hazzard, Pete Peterson and many other great 1st Cav.
Div. Soldiers, he said.
“The Regiment really had a lot of
heroes in that war,” he said. “They were all magnificent Soldiers
and some of them were never mentioned. That was an entirely
different war. There was an awful lot of guts shown in that war and
they fought like tigers. I think they should be very proud of what
we did in the Korean War, very proud.”
Capt. Frank Maloney is
now fully retired and resides in Austin, Texas, spending his summers
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