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Col. Percy W. Thompson, I Corps G-2 officer, raced to the 1st Cavalry Division's 8th Cavalry Regiment headquarters to brief the commanding officer, Col. Hal Edson and his staff, who had just moved into the Unsan area. Unsan was just 50 air miles southeast of the Yalu River and a crossroads in the central part of the country.
Thompson was certain that Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) had entered North Korea and were massing for an attack against the 8th Cavalry. Unfortunately, the senior officers of the regiment took Thompson's suggestion with "indifference and disbelief."
Supported by the Republic of Korea (ROK) 15th Regiment, 1st ROK Division, the 8th Cavalry had arrived at Unsan "still wearing summer uniforms and ... in a cavalier frame of mind." With the North Korean People's Army (NKPA) rapidly crumbling before U.N. troops, everyone was convinced it would be an easy task to defeat it and be home by Christmas.
By Nov. 1, 1950, however, numerous fires had mysteriously ignited in the Unsan area, causing concern among the regiment's officers and men. Col. Harold K. "Johnny" Johnson, commanding the 5th Cavalry Regiment, saw the smoke as well. Realizing something was amiss, he rode over in his jeep to visit the 3rd Bn., 8th Cav, CP (Command Post.)
He discovered to his horror that his former battalion, now led by Maj. …