Battle of Chosin Reservoir: One Marine’s Survival Story

Good article but no account of the Chosin is complete without reading about F Company's sister unit Dog Seven called Triumph on Hill 1240: The Story of Dog Company, 7th Marines in Korea by R. D. Humphreys https://www.amazon.com/Triumph-1240-Story-Company-Marines/dp/1570873852.

This was my Dad's unit and they also were activated without going to boot camp. By the time the company made it back to Pusan it only had six combat effective men remaining. I highly recommend the book.
My dad told me he was in a Navy UDT during Korea and got shot in the butt running away from a bridge after planting charges. Then again, my dad was one of the biggest BS'rs I've ever known, so... I doubt it.

By contrast, these Marines endured insane conditions to defend a people far from home. God bless you all. Semper Fidelis, indeed.
I spent the better part of a year at Camp Page ( next to Chun Chon) in Korea 1965-1966, I had lots of respect for those who fought in the '50s, even with our winter gear on it made me chilled to the bone ( so much so I volunteered to go to Vietnam) where the weather was more tolerable even with the mud and monsoons. It was a shame that they didn't have the M-14's - so much easier to load and with the 7.62 NATO cartridge it would reach out and touch those ****'s !
In my battalion in sunny SE Asia circa. 1967 we had an E2 who was at Frozen Chosin. He pretty much kept himself to himself, buy after a few cold ones he had some amazing stories from his time in Korea. BTW, he was busted from 1st Sargent to private around 1965 for cold "clocking" (gotta watch my language) a full bird colonel. He was someone you truly wanted to stay on his good side.
When I got off active, I joined the 14th Marines in Chavez Ravine in L.A. a lot of the warrant officers and senior NCOs were vets of the Chosin. Got a lot of good scoop from them, especially in contrast to the Nam, from which I had recently returned.

SLA Marshall wrote an after action report about weapons used in Korea. He seemed to think those overhauled in Japan had the most problems.

As an aside, my unit F/2/1, was stationed outside DaNang at Sea Anchor, a an antenna farm. Being nosy, my FO team searched several collapsed bunkers on the perimeter, and found cases of ‘06 ammo on fabric belts left behind by the French. Sadly, no BARs or MGs to go with the ammo.
I was one year old when the Korean War erupted. I served with the USAF 1968-72, and in Viet-Nam 1971-72. I didn't make it to South Korea until I enlisted in the US Army in 1984 as a Tank Crewman. We transitioned from the M48A5 to the M60A1 shortly after I arrived.
I served at Camp Casey, Dongducheon with B Co 1st Armor attached to the 2nd Inf Div from 1984-85. I would serve there again in 1996-97 with C Co 2nd Armor attached to 2nd ID, but this time in the M1A1 Tank Company as the M1A1 Abrams Tank Master Gunner.
Summers were hot, and winters were cold; sometimes very cold, but not like Chosin Reservoir in November-December 1950 cold. On my first deployment we did a live-fire gunnery exercise at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex (RLFC), north of Pocheon near Yeongsong. It is still south of the DMZ by approximately 16 Miles. It was cold when we left Camp Casey, but it was downright frigid by the time we reached RLFC. The temperature had dropped ten degrees in a couple of hours, and the windchill was wicked.
The Navy expression for cold is "Cold enough to freeze the balls off of a brass monkey", which originated during the wind and sail era when cannonballs and black powder were used. The landlubber version I learned in Korea was "Cold enough to freeze your kundingy off". Kundingy is not a word in Hangul, but it strikes the ear as being Asian. Both sound very painful.
The temperatures at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir are recorded as having been down to -40°f, before factoring in windchill. The worst I experienced in Korea was between 15-20°f. The temperatures at the time of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir were more like those I had experienced in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. We had inflatable Mickey Mouse boots up there too, but parkas with far superior insulation compared to quilted cotton jacket liners and wool blankets.
I would rate the Battle of Chosin Reservoir right up there with Marathon, Thermopylae, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Peleliu. Those Marines deserve the highest respect.
My father in-law was with the 5th Marines in 1950. He is still with us at 93 years young. There are several pictures of him in This Is War and Life Magazine in 1950. He has some really sobering accounts from his experience at the Chosin. He even drove for Chesty Puller when he first got to Korea. Ultimately woke up in an Army hospital in Japan 3 purple hearts later looking into the eyes of a nurse he knew from his hometown.
I had the pleasure of meeting Barry Jones, Howard “Iceman” Mason, and my grandpa Forrest “Fritz” Heistermann at The Riley House in 29 Palms. It was 2009 in February if I remember correctly. All three men were members of the Chosin Few. It was snowing in 29 Palms and the first time in 6 years that the snow had returned. They muttered that they were in the middle of the desert and the snow had found some of the Chosin Few. Of course the thermostat in the Riley House was probably at 85 and I was sweating bullets. When they had been as cold as they were at Chosin and other places what could you say. They were probably still thawing out from that experience.

I was a Lance Corporal at the time and on my best behavior. Expecting a serious and respectful tone. Once the hellos and nice to meet yous were done I asked questions about what to expect from an upcoming deployment to Iraq. Thats when I knew I was in the company of old school Marines. Keep your powder dry, stay off the ridgeline, and don’t be a hero.

The whiskey flowed, we laughed non stop, the stories of Korea and WWII were constant. They were really impressed with the weapons of the Corps due to them getting to go out in humvees and shoot whatever the host unit had for them that day. Of course they talked trash to each other about how they shot that day.

The best time I have had with fellow Marines.
My dad was there. He served in the 1st Marines and spoke very little about it. The most he opened up about it was just before his passing. I think it was the first time he gave me any details at all. He told me that part of his job was identifying the dead Marines and he wept when he told me. I had never seen my dad cry and he was 82 at the time. Here's a picture of him receiving his Bronze Star in Korea.

Dad receiving his Bronze Star.jpg