North High School Wall of Honor
Charles Nelson Ritchie
Class of January, 1951
Research done by Claradell Shedd, class of 1953.
Charles Nelson Ritchie
Charles graduated from North High in January, 1951. At the time, his next of kin was Mrs. Blanche Ritchie, 703 15th Street, Des Moines, IA. His service number was 55309813.
Charles Nelson Ritchie
Year   Rank   Status
January, 1951   Graduated x Graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
1951-1952   Employed x Claims Agent; Bruce Motor Freight, Des Moines, IA.
February3,1952 x Family x Married Esther L. Rowley, North High Class of January, 1951.
Dec.8, 1952 x Drafted/
US Army
x Drafted into US Army in Des Moines, IA
date x Basic Training/
x Camp Roberts, CA. *23rd Infantry Regiment. 7th Armored Division.
June,1953 x Enroute x Troop transport bound from San Francisco to Korea via **USS General John Pope (T-AP-110). USS General John Pope (AP-110) was in Korea campaign from July 7-11, 1953.
July 19,1953 x Stationed x In Korea. 23rd Infantry Regiment. Assigned to Regimental Headquarters in Korea, handling correspondence, et. Camp was about 10 miles from the front. Could hear artillery and see flares. Assigned to Motor Pool duties. Dispatcher: July 19, 1953.
Aug.17,1953 x Stationed x Assigned to Staff Section, S-1. Clerk. Handled everything concerning personnel.
Dec,1953 x Hospitalized x ***Contracted hemorrhagic fever, which was a very serious disease. At that time, 2 our of 7 survived. In 48th Hospital, Seoul, Korea. Recovered and went back to the Regiment on February 24, 1954. During that period, they burned all belongings such as camera, film pictures, clothing, etc. That is why there are no photos of Charles during his field duty in Korea. On a pass, he and friends woiuld go to Seoul. He was in Japan on R&R.
Oct.12,1954   US Army/
x Fort Carson, CO.
1954 x Transferred x Transferred to Army Reserve, Iowa Military District to complete eight years of military service.
date x Employment x Worked at Armco Metal Products and Pittsburgh Des Moines Steel.
date x Employment x Des Moines Steel Fence Company.
date x Civilian x Volunteered at Generation's delivering meals to shut-ins. Died 06/27/06.

*23th Infantry Regiment
In Korea the 23rd Infantry Regiment served initially as the “fire brigade type unit” and was moved to counter enemy thrusts. Just after the 2nd Infantry Division relieved the 24th Infantry Division along the Naktong River, the communists attempted to overrun the Naktong Line. The attack was stopped in the Changyong-Yongsan sector in a battle, which lasted from the 1st to the 15th of September. Company C was overwhelmed by a North Korean Division and ninety percent of the Company was killed, wounded, or captured. The 23rd Infantry Regimental Combat Team joined the other Combat Teams of the 2nd Infantry Division and made a phenomenal break out of the perimeter against determined resistance and chased the communists north and west. During the drive north, the 23rd Infantry Regiment helped to liberate many of the prisoners’s of war at Namwon Prison. Moving north in November, the Division had advanced to within 50 miles of the Manchurian border when the Chinese Communists entered the fight. Hoping to trap the Eighth Army northwest of the Chongchon River, the Chinese attacked by the thousands. The mission of the 23rd Infantry Regiment was to keep the withdrawal route open over the Chongchon River and protect the right rear flank of the Eighth Army. As the rear guard of the 2nd Infantry Division, the Regiment suffered casualties amounting to nearly one-third of their strength but performed its mission enabling the Eighth Army to withdraw in order.

The Chinese winter offensive was halted at Wanju. From Kunu-ri to Wonji the 23rd Infantry experienced 84 consecutive days of enemy contact, the longest stint of combat of any regiment during the Korean War. On 11 December, a French Battalion, Le Batallion De Coree, was attached to the 23rd Infantry Regiment, for the battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong. In the epic battle of Twin Tunnels, the 23rd Infantry Regimental Combat Team routed the enemy at bayonet point and defeated two regiments of the 125th Chinese Communist Division. At Chipyong-Ni, five enemy divisions attacked the 23rd Infantry Regiment. Surrounded and outnumbered, the Tomahawks defeated the Chinese, inflicting 5,000 casualties. The battle marked a turning point in the war and was the first major defeat suffered by the Chinese.

On April and May, the 2nd Infantry Division located on No Name Line halted the communist spring offensive. Following a spectacular defensive struggle against 10 enemy divisions the 2nd Infantry fought for 30 days before they secured the ridge. The communist attack to retain control of Heartbreak Ridge lasted until the end of the following month, when finally the Division was relieved for a well-earned rest.

Among the first divisions to see combat in World War II, the 24th sustained minor casualties when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The division was charged with the defense of northern Oahu, where it built an elaborate system of coastal defenses. In May 1943 the division was alerted for movement to Australia and by September of that year, it had deployed to Camp Caves, near Rockhampton on the eastern coast of Australia. The 24th was part of the assault forces that landed on Dutch New Guinea, where it fought its way to the Hollandia airfield. After occupation duty in the Hollandia area, the division was among the assault forces on Leyte. From there the division went to Luzon and eventually formed an element of the assault forces in the Southern Philippines. During World War II the division adopted its nickname, "Victory Division." After serving in five campaigns and being decorated by the Philippine government, the 24th left Mindanao on 15 October 1945 for occupation duty in Japan.

When the North Koreans attacked South Korea in June 1950, elements of the 24th Infantry Division were the first to arrive in Korea, where they fought a delaying action against overwhelming odds. The delay permitted the United Nations to build up its forces near Pusan, and the division was awarded the Presidential Citation (Army) for its actions. Over the next nineteen months the division fought in seven campaigns and was twice decorated by the Republic of Korea. In February 1952 the "Victory Division" returned to Japan where it served as part of the Far East reserve. In July 1953 the division went back to Korea to restore order in prisoner of war camps. The following year the division returned to Japan, where it served until February 1955. At that time the 24th deployed to Korea for another tour of duty.

When the United States reduced and realigned its divisions in the Far East in 1957, the 24th left Korea, eventually replacing the 11th Airborne Division in Germany. While in Germany, in addition to its standard infantry mission, the 24th fielded airborne units for about two years. The division remained in Germany until 1969 when it redeployed to Fort Riley, Kansas, as part of the REFORGER (Return of Forces to Germany) program. As the Army withdrew from Vietnam and reduced its forces, the "Victory Division" was inactivated in April 1970 at Fort Riley.

Basic Training;Camp Roberts,CA Discharged; Camp Carson, CO
USS General John Pope (T-AP-110) - San Francisco to Korea
coming: USS General John Pope; T-AP-110Awards, Citations, and Campaign Ribbons
Top Row: American Campaign Medal ; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (3)
Second Row: World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp); National Defense Service Medal
Third Row: Vietnam Service Medal (5); Philippine Liberation Medal (2); Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
**USS General John Pope (T-AP-110)
After shakedown General John Pope sailed for Newport News 5 September 1943 with over 6,000 troops and civilians bound for Greenock, Scotland; and, after disembarking her passengers there, returned to Norfolk, Virginia 25 September. From 6 October to 19 November she made a troop-carrying voyage to Brisbane, Australia; and, after touching Townsville and Milne Bay, put in at San Francisco on the latter date. Underway again 10 December with over 5,000 troops for the Pacific fighting, General John Pope debarked them at Noumea 23 December and returned via Pago Pago to San Francisco 10 January 1944 with 2,500 veterans.

In the months that followed, General John Pope sailed in support of the giant amphibious offensive on New Guinea's northern coast, spearheaded by Rear Admiral Barbey's famed VII Amphibious Force. On a 3 month round-trip voyage out of San Francisco, beginning 23 January, she took troops to Guadalcanal, Auckland, and Noumea, and brought 1,300 men back to San Francisco 9 March. General John Pope then embarked another full complement of troops, including the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment, and sailed 6 April for Noumea and Oro Bay, New Guinea.

The spring of 1945 saw a round-trip troop-carrying voyage begin in San Francisco 26 March, which took her to Manila, Leyte, and Biak before returning 21 May. General John Pope next stood out from the Golden Gate once more 2 June 1945, this time bound for Marseilles, where 5,242 troops were embarked and taken to Manila.

Reinstated on the Navy List 20 July 1950, General John Pope was assigned to MSTS 1 August. During the Korean War she carried American troops to Japan and Korea to take part in the giant effort to hold back the Communist invasion. Following the war, General John Pope continued to sail to Japanese and Korean ports on troop rotation duties, finally being placed in reduced operational status at Seattle 14 May 1955. The veteran transport was returned to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Olympia, Washington, 5 September 1958.

***Hemorrhagic Fever during Korean War (48th Army Portable Surgical Hospital, Seoul, Korea)
From online comments taken from:
The viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are a diverse group of animal and human illnesses that are caused by four distinct families of RNA viruses: the Arenaviridae, Filoviridae, Bunyaviridae, and Flaviviridae. All types of VHF are characterized by fever and bleeding disorders and all can progress to high fever, shock and death in extreme cases. Some of the VHF agents cause relatively mild illnesses, such as the Scandinavian nephropathia epidemica, while others, such as the African Ebola virus, can cause severe, life-threatening disease.

The 48th was called to duty again during the Korean War when on Nov. 24, 1952, the 8228th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital was redesignated the 48th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

Mary T. Burley began serving with the 48th as a nurse in April 1953 just northwest of Seoul. She served with the unit for 15 months, treating mostly soldiers suffering from hemorrhagic fever. "The first patient I saw who went on the artificial kidney was near death," Burley recalled. "The next morning he sat up in bed and read a magazine!"

Stan McCluskey was also part of the 48th in Korea. He began serving with the unit in June 1953. "I was sent to the 48th MASH as the only person in the pharmacy. This was already a large hospital, qualifying for evac hospital status. But processing was slow, and we were only staffed as a MASH unit -- at least the pharmacy. I was on duty or on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"The 48th MASH was considred a very elite unit with top quality personnel," McCluskey recalled. "There was a lot of concern working with patients who had a disease of unknown origin or cure [hemorrhagic fever]. Everyone took their responsibilities very seriously and there were no complaints about the long hours."

Hemorrahagic fever is now often referred to as "Korean hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome." It is classed as one of the hantaviruses. The virus is carried by field mice and passed to humans via the mice's dried excreta. The disease produces a wide range of symptoms including headache, nausea, sore throat, blood seepage from weakened vascular walls, delirium, kidney failure and fluid accumulation in the lungs.

US Army Seal

7th Armored Division

Charles Nelson Ritchie
Sergeant First Class
23rd Infantry Regiment
7th Armored Division
US Army

Combat Infantryman's Badge

Charles Nelson Ritchie
23rd Infantry Regiment

Sergeant First Class

United Nations Service Medal/Korea; Korean War Service Medal; Korean Defense Service Medal w/Bronze Star; National Defense Medal; Army commendation Medal; Good Conduct Medal

United Nations Service Medal/Korea; Korean War Service Medal;
Korean Defense Service Medal w/Bronze Star; National Defense Medal;
Army Commendation Medal; Good Conduct Medal
The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of all North High School graduates can be found online at Charles Nelson Ritchie's class page can be viewed at
11/23/10: Died 06/27/06.
Music: "Wind Beneath My Wings"
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