Chosin

Fifty years ago in the frozen mountains of Korea, the Marines endured a campaign as grueling and heroic as any in history

The deeds of our heroes are based, all too often, on the arrogance of higher authority. The list is long: Xenophon’s Ten Thousand, the Light brigade at Balaklava, Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg, the British infantrymen at the Somme in 1916. Fifty years ago, the United States Marines at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea joined this list. • Marines tell this story alongside those of Belleau Wood, Tarawa, and Iwo Jima. The scene is quickly set. On June 25, 1950, the armies of the People’s Republic of [North] Korea invaded South Korea.

 
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Thomason U.s.m.c.

A TEXAS MARINE WHO DREW BEAUTIFULLY AND WROTE AS WELL AS HE DREW BECAME THE LAUREATE OF THE MEN WHO CHECKED THE LAST GREAT GERMAN OFFENSIVE. ALL BUT FORGOTTEN TODAY, HIS 1926 BESTSELLER REMAINS PERHAPS THE FINEST ACCOUNT OF AMERICANS IN THE GREAT WAR.

“The book is here now: a straight-forward prose account of four battles, with infinite detail of the men and emotions in these battles, reinforced with sketches and impressions drawn upon the field. It is, in the opinion of many of us who ought to know, the finest account of their sons in battle which the American people have received. …” The writer who felt he was qualified to judge a war book was Laurence Stallings, who had been wounded in action in Belleau Wood and whose wildly popular play What Price Glory ?Read more »

Four Months On The Front Line

A former Marine recalls the grim defense of Guadalcanal in 1942

July 1942. Winter in Wellington, New Zealand, brought long, slanting sheets of rain that drenched the U.S. Navy transports looming huge and dark along the city’s docks. The men of the 1st Marine Division labored around the clock to combat-load the ships. The artillery, tanks, and communications gear were distributed among all the vessels so that if one or more were sunk by enemy fire, no vital component would be irretrievably lost. Read more »

Not Forgetting May Be The Only Heroism Of The Survivor”

Years after one of the bloodiest and most intense battles of the war in the Pacific, a Marine Corps veteran returns to Tarawa

WAR IS A COUNTRY no traveler ever forgets. It haunts those who survive the journey as no other experience. The memories of war cling to the mind with astonishing tenacity, and sometimes in the dark of night when the glow of your cigarette is a distant fire on an island most people have never heard of, nothing seems to equal their demand for attention. Why? Possibly because the memories raise so many questions about oneself, particularly the unanswerable one: Why am I the one here to remember?Read more »

“…suddenly We Didn’t Want, To Die”

A Marine Remembers the Bat for Belleau Wood

On the first day of June, 1918, the third great German offensive of the year drove into a tangled old hunting preserve called Belleau Wood. General James Harbord, commanding the Marine Brigade, received an order from the rattled commander of the French 6th Army: “Have your men prepare entrenchments some hundreds of yards to rearward in case of need.” Harbord answered tartly, “We dig no trenches to fall back on. The Marines will hold where they stand.” Read more »

“I’ve Served My Time In Hell”

So thought many a weary Marine after the bloody, interminable battle for Guadalcanal. It was only a dot in the ocean, but upon its possession turned the entire course of the Pacific war

On May 3, 1942, a small detachment of Japanese sailors, the grd Kure Special Landing Force, landed without opposition on Tulagi Island, then capital of the British Solomon Islands. Read more »

The Marine Tradition

The Corps is supposed to be tough, and is. This often confounds its enemies and sometimes irritates the nation’s other services

The United States Marines are a very ancient fighting corps, covered with battle scars and proud of every one of them—so very proud, indeed, that they have developed an extremely high esprit de corps, which has been defined as a state of mind that leads its possessor to think himself vastly superior to members of all other military outfits.