Russell Alan Sieder
Second Lieutenant, United States Army
American Battle Monuments Commission:
Russell A. Sieder
Second Lieutenant Sieder was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.
He was leading a patrol near Unjang-ni, North Korea on April 16, 1953, when it encountered a superior enemy force. He courageously lead his men until mortally wounded by hostile machine gun fire.
For his leadership and valor, Second Lieutenant Sieder was awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
KOREA HERO HONORED
Posthumous Award of Silver Star Made To Second Lieutenant R. A. Sieder
NEW YORK, New York - November 28, 1953 – The posthumous award of a Silver Star Medal was made yesterday to Second Lieutenant Russell A. Sieder of Westfield, New Jersey, who was killed in action in Korea on April 16, 1953.
The medal was presented to the lieutenant’s father, Everett N. Sieder of Fredonia, New York, an Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, by Lieutenant General Withers A. Burress, First Army Commander, in his Governors Island officer.
On April 16 Lieutenant Sieder led a reinforcing group against an enemy force that greatly outnumbered his.
“Shouting orders and offering his men encouragement,” the citation says, “he ran about the fire-swept terrain, firing his weapon and directing the fire of his men. He continued to courageously lead his men until the fire of a hostile machine gun mortally wounded him. His inherent leadership and heroic sacrifice enabled his men to successfully force the foe to withdraw.”
The lieutenant’s action has been credit with
having saved the lives of many men rescued by his advance. One of
the rescued men, Private First Class John S. Brown of Elizabeth, New Jersey,
attended the ceremony.
Second Lieutenant Sieder lived in Warrenton, Virginia, as a young man, and attended school there while his father, Major Everett Sieder, was stationed at Vint Hill Farms Station, the United States Army Security Agency base nearby.
Commissioned in 1952, Lieutenant Sieder arrived at the front in Korea on February 15, 1953, where he was assigned to the Third Infantry Division. He was killed in action on April 16, 1953, while leading his men in an effort to rescue a reconnaissance patrol that had been ambushed by Chinese Communist forces near Unjang-Ni.
According to the official Army account, Lieutenant Sieder was leading the third element of the recon patrol, which was operating in no-man's land west of an enemy-held hill known as "Jackson Heights." The first and second elements were ambushed and nearly overrun by a large number of Chinese troops. Hearing gunfire and seeing the first two elements pinned down by the enemy, Loeutenant Sieder quickly moved his men into position. Although greatly outnumbered, they began firing on the Chinese troops, keeping the second element from being overrun.
Said the official report, "Shouting orders and offering the men encouragement, he ran about the fire-swept terrain, firing his weapon and directing the fire of his men. He courageously led his men until the fire of a hostile machine gun mortally wounded him. His leadership and sacrifice enabled his men to successfully force the foe to withdraw." Lieutenant Sieder was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his bravery. The medal was presented to his parents.
Lieutenant Sieder is remembered in Warrenton,
where his name is listed on the Fauquier Veterans Memorial as a casualty
of the Korean War.
A Remembrance Of Russ Sieder: By Gordon Twaddell, July 2008
It was the Spring of 1950 when I met Russ Sieder. We were both Rutgers students. The circumstance of our meeting was very unique as it led to a life-long experience that I will never forget, and without a doubt a plus in Russ’s too short of a life.
This all began when about 20 Rutgers Students had planned for a road trip of some 5,000 miles to Fairbanks, Alaska, in order to earn some of the high wages that we could expect to find there during that Summer break. Each car that carried us all, left at different times, from different places, so the four of us, including Russ and I, never saw or met any of the others until we reached Fairbanks.
That trip took us 14 days of day and night driving to finally reach Fairbanks. The last of those miles, some 1500 of them called the Alaskan Highway, involved driving over a “washboard gravel road” that had developed a layer of fine dirt powder that would linger in the air for a mile or two after being wafted there by an infrequent car driving over it. Another feature of this drive was that we were driving a 1936 Ford Phaeton with its torn canvas top that was never up and over us during the entire trip, so we were subjected to the weather the entire way. The car was not in good condition to say the least, and we had to stop several times to make a fix along the way. As you can expect, we were all completely covered with dirt and silt when we arrived. It was a trip that was an experience in itself, to say the least!
The arrival at our destination however, was only the beginning of our problems. There was a strike of workers in Fairbanks at the time, so we could not find any work! The four of us and about 5 others of the original 20, or so that met in Fairbanks took up residence in a single car garage in the back of the YMCA that had taken pity on our situation. We had little money and no prospects for any immediate relief, such that “day olds” at bakeries were a daily request.
It was then that Russ asked me to join him in a trip by the Alaskan Railroad to Denali National Park. Russ said that he would “stake” me as I had no money, if I would go with him. His purpose was to try and locate and spot a certain pigeon that was of a species only found in the Park. I had no idea that he had this interest in ‘bird watching.'
Fortunately, at our arrival in Denali, a contractor
who was constructing some small housing near the rail head hired us for
a day if we helped out by tarring the foundations of some of those houses.
This more than paid for our trip, thank goodness, and also gave us a couple
of good meals over a fire that included great coffee and sourdough pancakes!
We also discovered that there was a truck driver that worked out past the
Eastern part of the Park, something over 100 miles away, who made weekly
trips to the rail head for supplies. He agreed to take us out into
the Park as he headed back, drop us off, and would pick us up the following
week to take us back on his return trip to the rail head.
It must have been only an hour or so later, when we picked a spot and left the truck, and began our adventure. It started almost immediately when we both climbed up rock wall, next to the road to view a golden eagle’s nest that was about 6’ wide and 6’ deep! There was even a snow white chick on the nest at the time that was the size of a chicken, and he began chirping at us. That’s when we looked up to see “Mama” wheeling about some 1,000’ overhead, giving us the eye, so we climbed down very quickly, to say the least, and began our “trek” into the open land in front of us. Actually, we were dropped off near a very wide glacial stream bed as we had asked as we could see around us, as well as being able to be seen more clearly, and besides walking was the easiest here.
This was the start to our week together in early June, of 1950, that was filled to the brim with such sightings and experiences that are really too much to document here. But I will cite a few.
We climbed rather quickly to a point above the tree line when we had noticed a bear’s prints over our own footprints as we had made a circle! We had sighted a Grizzly not much before that and remembered what the Park Ranger had told us when meeting up with one of these bears! He had said, “ this is the ‘cubbing’ season, so never! ever get between a mother and her cub!” …. and also “be up on high ground such that if chased, you can run down hill, ‘they’ have trouble stopping in that circumstance” ….. I think he was kidding, but to us, he had made it clear in any case that avoiding them is the only solution. But that incident made us fully aware that the nearest human being and any possible help was some 50 to 100 miles away! …. And GPS had not been invented yet!
We did climb very high on occasion, and on one of them we encountered a small group of Dall Sheep. The adults stayed back from us while the “youngsters” came right up to us! But the large rams with their “roll around” horns were obviously wary, and seemed ready for action if we did anything to hint any harm to the little ones. We thought that since most predators wouldn’t have climbed to where we were, we must seem more of a curiosity to them rather than a threat.
We came upon a kind of narrow “pie shaped” split, or cut out of a mountain that was filled with singing birds! The sides of this “cut” were so steep that we had to crawl on our bellies to get near the edge, there was such a scary drop, and the ground was not predictable. The sides of this cut were almost solid rock and this just exaggerated and reverberated the sounds of these birds! I never have heard of, or seen anything like this giant echo chamber since!
We watched thousands of Caribou down below us in this very wide glacial stream valley as they were on the move Northward. They were as far as the eye could see! But when we turned to our fire and had our “dinner” and coffee, and then returned to watch the extensive herd below, they had all disappeared! It seemed impossible that so many could have passed by in such numbers in such a relative short time! They were like ghosts!
We fished for Grayling at Wonder Lake and were fortunate to catch a few. It was a great supper treat for us. But Wonder Lake was such a treat in itself. The water is so crystal clear that although it must have been 20’ – 25’ deep (purely a guess on my part), we could clearly see the fish on the bottom. It was like looking into an Aquarium. But the overwhelming attraction of Wonder Lake is that it is from this setting with Mt. McKinley in the background that most pictures of that year-round completely snow covered mountain are taken. An absolutely stunning scene! I likened it to looking up at a tall three story white house from across a rather narrow street.
There are so many more unforgettable experiences that I could describe during this week for Russ and myself, but I hope that just these few are sufficient to “paint the picture.”
However, finally when we inevitably returned
to Fairbanks, we found that the strike had ended, a good thing! But
it ultimately and unknowingly separated Russ and I for the rest of our
lives. I never saw him again, but I hope that this experience with him
gives the reader the sense of feeling that I have for Russ and the loss
I feel for his much too early death. He was adventuresome, very curious
about nature’s gifts, somewhat of a risk taker, but very confident in his
abilities as well. It goes without saying that I would not have had
this “once in a lifetime” experience if it were not for Russell Sieder.
Posted: 20 July 2008 Updated: 28 July 2008