Siewert, Jack R. 1924–

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Siewert, Jack R. 1924–

PERSONAL:

Born May 8, 1924.

CAREER:

Retired U.S. Army officer. Military service: Career military, now retired; as a first lieutenant, served in Korean War as a tank platoon leader, 64th Tank Battalion, 1951-52.

WRITINGS:

Outpost Kelly: A Tanker's Story, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jack R. Siewert was born May 8, 1924. He spent the majority of his career in the United States Army, serving in the Korean War as a first lieutenant and a tank platoon leader with the 64th Tank Battalion. Now retired, he offers readers an accounting of his experiences in the war and with his platoon in his military memoir, Outpost Kelly: A Tanker's Story, which was published in 2006. The book focuses on a single battle in particular, which took place during July 1952, even as the United Nations and the North Korean government strove to come up with a solution that would end the Korean War. Along the area that would eventually become the border between North and South Korea, numerous battles took place on a fairly constant level, altering the line of demarcation slightly with each effort, one way or the other. Outpost Kelly was one of the battles along that line, and it was a combined effort of the 15th Infantry Regiment with the assistance of Siewert's platoon. Siewert discusses the events of the battle, including how a mission that was meant to be a temporary effort on the part of his men ultimately became a far more complex operation that called upon him to do more extensive planning. As the battle progressed, Siewert's platoon was required to provide direct-fire support to the 15th Infantry while maintaining their position. Siewert himself found that he had to think on his feet and improvise more than once in an effort to maintain ground and to continue to offer protection and support to the infantry. While much of the story focuses on the military maneuvers and resulting situations, Siewert includes information about outside forces that also served to act upon the troops, such as the harsh terrain and the monsoon-like weather, as well as problems maintaining equipment and with receiving outside intelligence. The initial three-day assignment gradually stretched out over two weeks, but eventually the troops successfully retook the outpost. Raymond Puffer, reviewing the book for Kliatt, praised Siewert's effort, which he found to be "refreshingly free of self-conscious angst and melodrama," as well as "an instructive manual for others, in or out of the military." Lance K. Calvert, writing for Military Review, commented that "Siewert brings us the underreported history of the hill fighting in the latter stages of the Korean War." Calvert went on to conclude that "perhaps someday we will gain the historical benefit of a view of the battle for Outpost Kelly from the North Korean perspective."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Siewert, Jack R., Outpost Kelly: A Tanker's Story, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 2006.

PERIODICALS

Kliatt, March 1, 2007, Raymond Puffer, review of Outpost Kelly: A Tanker's Story, p. 35.

Military History, January 1, 2007, Thomas Zacharis, review of Outpost Kelly, p. 72.

Military Review, January 1, 2007, Lance K. Calvert, review of Outpost Kelly, p. 118.

ONLINE

University of Alabama Press Web site,http://www.uapress.ua.edu/ (June 24, 2008), author profile.