CHANGJIN JOURNAL 04.30.01
|Troops of 41 Commando, Royal marines, move south from Koto-ri after the Treadway bridge is installed where the Chinese had blown a section of the bridge at the Gatehouse in the Funchilin Pass. This was
a cold and clear day in early December 1950. Credit: Courtesy 41 Commando, Royal marines
The Changjin Journal is designed to disseminate
and solicit information on the Chosin campaign. Comments and brief essays
are invited. Subject matter will be limited to history of the Chosin
campaign, as well as past or present interpretation of that history. See
End Notes for distribution and other notices.
Colonel George A. Rasula, USA-Ret., Chosin Historian
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CHANGJIN JOURNAL 04.30.01
IN THIS ISSUE we present the history of the Chosin story. These
background documents were used in the development of the Chosin
Chronology that will soon be posted on the Internet as a link to the
Changjin Journal. We will also be expanding the photo essay that is
now on the Internet. This history of the story has been distributed
via email in four parts and now posted on the web page as one
HISTORY OF THE CHOSIN STORY
Once the Chosin operation ended and X Corps departed North Korea, the
only documents in existence were the command and after-action reports
of the units that had the capability of producing them, that is, had
enough survivors. In due time the units began to reconstruct what
they could of the battle, as was the case in units of RCT 31. There
were a few news articles written by reporters who had been present at
Hagaru-ri, Koto-ri and further south to the coast.
THE NEW BREED
It didn't take long for the first author to take hold of the Chosin
story. Andrew Geer's book The New Breed was published in 1952. This
is a book by a marine about the Marines. A quick read will reveal
essentially nothing about the battle of RCT 31 on the east side of
the reservoir, although it does contain information about Lt. Col.
Beall's group providing aid to wounded and frozen troops on the ice,
details obviously taken from the Beall statement. It is very
interesting to study Geer's handling of the story at a time when little was known about some actions.
COMBAT ACTIONS IN KOREA
When units returned to South Korea the Army's historians were also
arriving. Their mission at the time to interview survivors of Eighth
Army and X Corps units, to begin the process of writing the history
of the war. These early interviews led to the first Army publication
containing some details of the Chosin action and published in the
form of Chapter 6, "Chosin Reservoir," in the Army Historical Series,
Combat Actions in Korea. This chapter contained and was limited to
interviews by Army historian Martin Blumeson of members of the 1st
Battalion, 32d Infantry. This publication obviously formed the basis
for problems faced later in covering the Army history of Chosin, some
authors writing as if the 1/32 action was all there was east of the
reservoir. This could also be said to have been the basis for the use
of the term "task force" when referring to Army units east of the reservoir.
USMC CHOSIN RESERVOIR CAMPAIGN
The Marine Corps, with the 1st Marine Division (reinforced)
participating in the war, published Volume III, The Chosin Reservoir
Campaign, of the USMC Korean War Series in 1957. Volume II covered
the Inchon-Seoul operation, while Volume I covered the Marine Brigade
(based on the 5th Marines in the Pusan Perimeter action.) Two more
volumes would follow providing coverage to the end of the war. When
an alert reader looks inside the cover of this book at a map of enemy
divisions, he will note a blank space east of the reservoir. Roy
Appleman later commented on the coverage of Army actions: "The Marine
volume makes no pretense of covering related Army activities in any
detail, although its records do refer occasionally to them. This book
is an important reference for any attempt to tell the story of the X
Corps in northeast Korea."
SOUTH TO THE NAKTONG, NORTH TO THE YALU
In 1961 the first volume of the Army's Historical Series South to the
Naktong, North to the Yalu was published. The author of this volume
was LTC Roy E. Appleman who was on active duty with the Army's Center
of Military History (CMH). This volume covers the start of the war to
a point just before the CCF attacks in November 1950, with the last
few pages providing a good insight into the CCF buildup before
attacking units in the Chosin area. This is an excellent and
well-documented book. The Army coverage of the Chosin action would
wait many more years.
Then came the dry spell when Chosin survivors were going on with
careers and raising children, some already experiencing the landscape
of Southeast Asia, learning a new acronym - "V.C."
It was in the late seventies and early eighties when survivors were
contacted by Roy Appleman and Eric Hammel - both of them researching
Chosin. During this research period we learned authors did not share
their valuable information with others; not until their own book was
Eric Hammel's book Chosin came out in 1981. His book was the trigger
which motivated Frank Kerr and Jack Hessman to activate "The Chosin
Few." Although Hammel covered the Army unit actions well with the
information he had available, we later learned that the detailed and
time-consuming research by Appleman would pay off in the end.
Hammel's objective was writing books about the Marines; writing is
CHOSIN FEW NEWS DIGEST
Although Chosin Few publications are not official documents of the
services, they have had an impact on members of The Chosin Few. One
of the first documents was the "Fact Sheet" published shortly after
the association was formed. This document, written by a public
relations expert, contained far too much hype and errors in fact that
continue to be heard to this day in the meeting rooms and hallways of
Chosin Few reunions. To complicate the problem, the official
publication of the association has continued to reprint old articles
from newspapers and magazines that also carry misleading statements
and errors in fact. A few members have written articles that borrowed
hype and errors from the past: an example is that Chosin units "were
attacked by 12 CCF divisions consisting of 120,000 men" and we
suffered "5,000 killed and 15,000 wounded." Our purpose in including
the foregoing is to advise researchers and writers to use common
sense and do serious homework, rather than borrow from past authors.
If what they have written can be justified, then use it, and inform
your readers of the source.
THE FORGOTTEN WAR
As time marched on we saw the work of Clay Blair (1987) and John
Toland (1991), among others. Blair's book The Forgotten War is a
masterpiece of supported detail, all 1,136 numbered pages. If you
want a good reference book on the Korean War, this is it.
IN MORTAL COMBAT
John Toland wrote his book In Mortal Combat without footnotes
identifying his sources. A short list was included in Notes in the
end pages. Although we had long believed more than one CCF division
fought east of the reservoir, these many contacts with John Toland -
one of the few historians who conducted research in China - convinced
us that a much larger Chinese force was involved in that action.
Although the books mentioned contain important information (the meat
of the Chosin story) many special category books were also published,
such as Navy, Air Force, and others. These books also borrowed from
past authors, continuing to spread errors, rather than clean
ONE BUGLE NO DRUMS
In 1986 William Hopkins's book One Bugle No Drums told about the 1st
Battalion, 1st Marines that had been at the bottom of the Funchilin
Pass at Chinhung-ni and, after being relieved by Task Force Dog of
the 3d Infantry Division, was committed on 8-9 December to take Hill
1081. Hopkins commanded H&S Company of the battalion. The dust cover
reads "With two hitherto-unpublished secret reports by S.L.A.
Marshall." It is a document worth reading.
EAST OF CHOSIN
The background behind Roy Appleman's research continued to draw
interest. We knew he had left the Army's Center of Military History
(CMH) and was continuing research on his own, with four books on the
Korean War eventually published by the Texas A&M University Press. We
have believed internal problems in CMH led to Appleman's departure.
After a long period of research, Appleman came out in 1987 with his
first book, East of Chosin, that finally opened the door to the story
about Army units east of the reservoir. Today we see East of Chosin
as a prelude to more comprehensive coverage of the Chosin campaign, the
next book on our list.
ESCAPING THE TRAP
Appleman's Escaping the Trap was published in 1990. This is a must
read for all interested in the Chosin operation because, at that time
of his research, it examined the entire Chosin campaign. As we
studied the evolution of the Chosin story during these many years, we
learned there was a need beyond examination, that of explanation. The
question most often asked by survivors has been "why?"
KOREAN WAR ALMANAC
In 1990 Col. Harry Summers published his Korean War Almanac, a
reference book on the war. Since the author had been an historian at
the Army War College, we expected new keys to open rusty locks
securing the Chosin story. Although it's helpful for reference
purposes, we were surprised at such errors as "Only 385 of the task
force's 3,200-man force survived," and that the "31st Infantry
Regiment won two Navy PUCs for bravery at the Chosin and Hwachon
reservoirs." In addition to the 385, about 900 casualties were
evacuated from Hagaru-ri. The units of the regiment that fought the
battle east of Chosin did not receive the original award of 1953;
they received it in 1999 in time for the 50th anniversary.
EBB AND FLOW
Twenty-nine years after the first volume and forty years after the
battle, the Department of the Army's Center of Military History
finally came out in 1990 with its next volume on the Korean War, Ebb
and Flow by Billy Mossman. This is where we catch a glimpse of the
problem involving CMH and Roy Appleman; his two books, East of
Chosin and Escaping the Trap are not mentioned, not referred to, not
used. The primary references cited regarding Chosin are Gugeler's
1954 chapter based on interviews in 1951 of 1/32 Infantry personnel,
and the official Marine Corps history of 1957. A knowledgeable source
wrote: "I do know that Roy Appleman had planned to write Ebb and
Flow. He was criticized for his straightforward comments in South to
the Naktong, North to the Yalu about the 24th Regiment and apparently
taken off the project. This made him very bitter and he proceeded to
write his four volumes about that period. I think they are vastly
superior to Ebb and Flow, which I found extremely disappointing. It
covers probably the most important part of the war." Of interest is
today's CMH web page on the Chosin campaign. We are now able to look
at Gugeler's entire Chapter 6, "The Chosin Reservoir," and many other
documents and excellent maps.
Other books that may be of interest to students of history are
America's Tenth Legion by Shelby Stanton (1989); Miracle in Korea:
Evacuation of X Corps from Hungnam Beachhead by Glen Cowart (1992);
and a long-forgotten history of the 3d Infantry Division originally
published in Japan after the war, and now hard to find.
CHOSIN FEW NEWS DIGEST
As indicated, this has been a brief sketch of books available into
the early 1990s. Other publications that have influenced the
perception of readers within the Chosin Few are the Chosin Few News
Digest and newsletters published by chapters, many with various
formats and purposes. In the digest we noted a tendency to include
old newspaper articles as well as letters expressing fault with the
Army units at Chosin, many of which were out of date because of new
knowledge gained through interviews of survivors.
REUNIONS AS SOURCES
In 1984 the Chosin Few held its first mini-reunion at Crystal City,
across the river from our nation's capital. This was a gala affair
for the Marine Corps. In 1985 the first official Chosin Few Biannual
Reunion was held at San Diego during which David Koegel of the 7th
Marines and George Rasula of the Army 31st Infantry, were designated
co-historians. This was when, as a result of frequent contacts, the
two saw future possibilities for creating an understanding of the
Army role at Chosin. Through contacts with educators and the
educated, they learned that most members knew very little about the
performance of units other than their own. They appeared eager to
learn. It was a matter of disseminating accurate information.
The hype at San Diego was similar to that at Crystal City, so
much so that a colonel of Marines wrote the following in his
evaluation of that reunion: "The central theme of the literature of
the Chosin Few from its inception has been aggrandizement,
self-praise, and hero-cultism. This theme was carried on ad nauseam
at the reunion. It was acutely embarrassing to suffer through . . .
gross overuse of 'hero' at the opening ceremonies (once would have
been too many) ... .
Multi-service aspects. There exists much resentment and
dissatisfaction among non-Marine members, and with good reason. There
was no discernible effort made at the reunion to recognize the
contributions of the various services. If and when such recognition
is given it must be honest and sincere, not condescending. Among
things that come to mind are Lt. Col. Faith's impossible mission, and
what benefit accrued to the Marines as a result of this sacrifice.
There was Army bridging material rigged for drop by Army parachute
riggers, Army artillery support at Chinhung-ni of great benefit to
the 1st Marines, Army participation with the Marines during the
withdrawal, and not the least, Army units that held the ground
between Chinhung-ni and the sea. The Air Force evacuated thousands of
wounded and dead Marines and brought in vitally needed supplies and
ammunition. The Navy furnished close air support and there were many
doctors, dentists, chaplains, and corpsmen with the Marines, not to
mention the ships at Hungnam that took us off the beaches. And what
of Drysdale and his magnificent Royal Marine Commandos? Or the many
Koreans who served in various capacities, including the combat arms,
with Marine and Army units?"
REWRITE OR RERIGHT
In the past decade a more accurate picture of the Chosin campaign
began to take shape. During this time we heard from "both sides of
the aisle," especially when historians began to address the
Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the 1st Marine Division
reinforced in 1953, specifically the Army units that fought the
battle east of Chosin and not permitted to share in the award. In the
background this took on the form of a political issue. One faction
held the position that the Army units were not deserving of the PUC
as stated by Major General O.P. Smith in his 11th Endorsement to the
Navy (see Changjin Journals 04.05.00 and 05.06.00). The other faction
introduced evidence that General Smith's decision of 1953 could no
longer be supported. Although the Chosin Few's chapters provided a
basis for disseminating information, they also formed the political
factions that almost destroyed the association. It was within this
atmosphere that historians continued to search for new knowledge on
which to base a new look at the Chosin story.
Emerging was a need to RERIGHT the story as it was being REWRITTEN.
BIRTH OF THE ARMY STORY
In 1986 at a reunion of the 31st Infantry Regiment, 16 survivors of
Chosin decided to activate the "U.S. Army Chapter of The Chosin Few."
This was the beginning of an organized voice within The Few, not only
to seek more background on what had happened during the Chosin
campaign, but more importantly to formalize the search for and
recording of knowledge through seminars. The "Soldiers of Changjin"
was organized and Changjin became its newsletter with a primary
mission of disseminating information about the Chosin campaign.
During these early years of the Chosin Few, a letter was dispatched
by the Executive Director to the Secretary of the Navy, recommending
additions to the list of units awarded the Presidential Unit Citation
(PUC) for the Chosin campaign. Although the action was not successful
at the time, it did open the door at higher levels by revealing the
problem, one which could result in serious embarrassment. More
research was necessary.
CHOSIN FEW REUNIONS
The Army Chapter initiated a seminar program at each annual reunion.
When survivors of Chosin were invited to tell their stories and
discuss differing points of view, participants quickly learned that
no one had a complete picture. Many recalled only that which they had
seen through the sights of their rifles. These stories were
formalized into articles and published in Changjin, with very few
picked up in other chapter publications or the Chosin Few News Digest.
During the 1990 reunion at Las Vegas the Chosin Few entered a change
of pace initiated by the newly elected president, Colonel Edward L.
"Ted" Magill, JAGC, USAR (Ret). During this reunion Colonel George
Rasula participated in an "east-west" presentation of the Chosin
story with Lieutenant General Al Bowser, USMC (Ret), G-3 of 1MarDiv
at Chosin. During this presentation the audience began to realize
that Army units did play an important role. The technique used for
the presentation gave birth to the concept of presenting the story in
a chronological format - a field test of the "Chosin Chronology." The
seminar resulted in Magill's appointment of Rasula as founder of the
Chosin Few Historical Committee.
During the next two years the Chosin Chronology was prepared.
Published sources were primarily the official Marine Corps history
and Roy Appleman's Escaping the Trap. Additional information was
gathered at reunion seminars along with personal contacts with
members of other military services and outside sources. Equally
important was the talent of Melville Coolbaugh (L3/31/7), a mining
engineer with map-making resources. The concept in designing the
Chronology was to present a day/night description of the action on
maps so as to create an understanding of the relationship between combat actions at various
locations. Most publications in the past had told the story
in separate sections which resulted in a misunderstanding of how one
action influenced another. An important example was how the battle on
the east side of the Reservoir affected the security of Hagaru-ri,
and the resulting security of the 5th and 7th Marines at Yudam-ni.
The Chosin Chronology was presented at the New Orleans Chosin Few
Reunion in 1992. The introduction and summary was presented by Medal
of Honor recipient General Raymond Davis, USMC (Ret). Attenders
recall the General's concluding words: "I learned more today about
Chosin than I had ever known." Yet however informative the
presentation may have been, there was negative reaction within a
small faction of the Chosin Few membership, with some saying "You're
trying to rewrite history." The problem was allowing a myth to grow,
with the realization that myths had to be challenged before becoming
Although the Historical Committee was prepared to present the next
upgrade of The Chosin Chronology at the 1994 Chosin Few Reunion in
Miami, the offer was not accepted. At New Orleans the chair of the
Historical Committee rotated to Major Patrick Roe, USMC (Ret), who
had been a battalion S-2 in the 7th Marines. This was an excellent
choice because his specialty and interest had been the enemy; he was
well on his way in research to write a book. From that point on Roe
and Rasula worked closely, exchanging ideas and further developing
the content and accuracy of the Chosin story. During the next few years they learned
that their research coincided with that of Merrill A. Needham, Ph.D.,
who was researching the Faith clan, including the battle east of
Chosin leading to the death of Lieutenant Colonel Don C. Faith. Both
Needham and Roe had been exposed to translations of Chinese documents
that revealed RCT 31 units east of the Reservoir were attacked by two
CCF divisions and a regiment of a third CCF division, reinforcing
the theory that the primary objective of the CCF was the most direct
route to Hagaru-ri where they would cut off the Marine units at
Yudam-ni. (See CJ 02.04.00)
An effort to correct the PUC problem was also taking place at the
Miami reunion. With continued support from the Board of Directors,
the Awards Committee set the groundwork for an effort to get the PUC
for units of RCT 31 that fought the battle east of Chosin.
Next came the 1996 Chosin Few Reunion in Portland, Oregon. At this
reunion the history seminar was led by Lieutenant General Al Bowser,
USMC, and included presentations by Patrick C. Roe who spoke about
the enemy and Edward L. Magill who covered his experience as a member
of the 57th Field Artillery Battalion east of the Reservoir. His
presentation was so well received that one board member came up after
the seminar with tears in his eyes, saying "We didn't know." It was
after the 1996 reunion when politics erupted once again within the
Chosin Few, an undesirable situation that ended up in Federal Court.
Under this difficult atmosphere the Awards Committee continued its
work. The goal was the 50th anniversary - the year 2000.
Throughout these years the Army Chapter continued with its annual
reunions, the 16 founding members growing to more than 400. Each
reunion included a history seminar at which members participated by
telling firsthand experiences. Many stories were published in
Changjin. During these reunions the Chosin Chronology was presented
at the three combat arms service schools of the Army: the Infantry
School at Fort Benning; the Armor School at Fort Knox; and the Field
Artillery School at Fort Sill. Later it was presented for Naval
Reserve units in New York State and at the U.S. Naval Academy. In
1998 George Rasula presented the Chosin Chronology at the National
Defense College of the Finnish Defense Forces in Helsinki, a country
of his ancestors noted for excellence in winter warfare.
With the approach of the 50th anniversary, the Korean War soon became
a focal point for editors of magazines and newspapers, along with
television program reruns. Ceremonies were being planned for
Washington as well as in Seoul, Korea, to commemorate the beginning
of the war. Soon the Chosin story would follow with its various
versions; on TV it would depend on the military affiliation of the
THE 50th ANNIVERSARY
As we approached the 50th anniversary of the Chosin campaign,
interest was sharpened by new books, magazine and newspaper articles,
and television reruns. We also noted the Chosin Few's 50th
celebration at San Diego, the Army Chapter's PUC ceremony in
Pennsylvania, and the Navy's ceremony and related activities
Washington, D.C. As a conclusion to our four-part history of the
Chosin story, let us look at the past few years and highlight the
publications contributing to the story.
1996 Joseph R. Owen, Colder Than Hell
1999 Martin Russ, Breakout (review in CJ 03.08.00)
2000 James Brady, The Marines of Autumn
2000 Patrick C. Roe, The Dragon Strikes (review in CJ 10.15.00)
2000 Edwin H. Simmons, Dog Company Six
Joe Owen's book is from the viewpoint of a platoon leader and highly
recommended for junior officers. It's a good read on leadership.
Martin Russ's Breakout is a service-bashing classic as noted in our
review. We regret that Jim Brady's novel often took a similar
approach even though neither author was a Chosin veteran. Pat Roe's
book is a must-read for those interested in the Chinese entry into
the war. The novel written by historian Ed Simmons could be described
as the opposite of Brady's; Simmons didn't need to bash others to
tell a fine story.
Anthony R. Garrett, "Task Force Faith: A Failure in Command, Control and
Communications," INFANTRY magazine, September-December 1999, (review
in CJ 01.22.01)
Gina DiNicolo, "Chosin Reservoir," The Retired Officer magazine,
November 2000 (review in CJ 01.22.01)
Allan R. Millett, "Harry's Police Force," Military History Quarterly,
J. Robert Moskin, "Chosin," American Heritage," November 2000.
Rod Paschall, "Reluctant Dragons and Red Conspiracies," Military
History Quarterly, Summer 2000.
Joe Sugarman, "Breakout from Chosin," Airlift/Tanker Quarterly, Fall
2000, published originally in Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine,
June/July 2000 (see CJ 03.30.01)
Blumenson, "Glory and Heartbreak East of the Reservoir," ARMY
magazine, March 2001.
Kevin M. Hymel, "Task Force Faith," ARMY Magazine, March 2001.
Marc D. Bernstein, "Incident at Funchilin Pass," (with sidebar "The
Fate of Task Force MacLean/Faith" by Kevin M. Hymel), Military
Heritage, April 2001 (review in CJ 03.30.01)
The magazine articles run the gamut from minor errors to
misinformation, all having a tendency to borrow from the past. We
noted a connection between ARMY magazine and Military Heritage, two
related articles by the same author addressing that favorite term of
copy-cat historians, "Task Force MacLean/Faith" and "Task Force
We were especially interested in American Heritage article because
the editor made related comments in his "Letter from the Editor -
The Forgotten War." He informed the reader that he cut the article
because David Douglas Duncan's photographs crowded out the escapade
by Lieutenant Colonel John U.D. Page and marine Pfc. Marvin L.
Wassen. This was written in such a way one may think Wassen should
have received the Medal of Honor, not Page. The editor then uses his
page by mentioning two books by Martin Russ and two books by James
Brady. When we asked for the editor's military affiliation, the
response was "why?" We didn't believe an answer was necessary since
his cards were already on the table.
The reader may wonder why we listed "Harry's Police Force" by
Millett. This article, based on Truman's comment in August 1950 about
the Marine Corps, may be the birthplace of service bashing, the
problem of interservice relationships extending far beyond Truman's
statement, heard today in the hallways of reunions involving soldiers
and marines. The article by Rod Paschall, (former historian at the
Army War College) "Reluctant Dragons and Red Conspiracies," provides
the reader with a nutshell similar to Pat Roe's book The Dragon
The article in Airlift/Tanker Quarterly is related to the one in
Military Heritage, both covering the bridge in the Funchilin Pass.
Noted in A/TO is recognition of the 2348th QM Airborne Air Supply &
Packaging Company. Commanded by Captain Cecil Hospelhorn, these were
the riggers who made the airdrop of the Treadway possible.
Recognition is also given to Lieutenant Charles Ward of the 58th
Treadway Bridge Company at Koto-ri who supervised the transport and
installation of the bridge using his equipment and expertise. In the
Military Heritage article there is no mention of the 58th, just that
"at Koto was a U.S. Army engineer unit that possessed two ...
Brockway transporter trucks," that the "Air force unit at Yonpo used
regular G-1 chutes, and the test failed," with no mention of the
Army's 2348th riggers who planned and accomplished the rigging. When
the story enters the scene of the pass all the credit for movement
and installation of the Treadway goes to Marine lieutenant Peppin,
with no mention of Lieutenant Ward, as if he didn't exist. Stories
such as these demonstrate the power of the press, how by omission a
story can be slanted. When one reads stories about Chosin, remember
the last story about the same subject, then think different.
Paul Richter, "Korea War: Once-Maligned Army Troops Honored For Their
Actions in Brutal Attack," Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2000.
Steve Vogel, "50 Years Later, an Army Force Gets Its Due," The
Washington Post, 11 December 2000.
The author of the Los Angeles Times article was able to reach
survivors of RCT 31 while they were attending the Lancaster reunion
where the PUC was being awarded. These long distance phone cons
resulted in important documents being sent to him as background
material. One reader remarked after reading the Times article "The
author did a pretty good job of tackling the subject of regaining
reputation, although he never did take on the question why the PUC
was not awarded to RCT 31 in the first place." We find it interesting
how reporters are able to paint a word picture of a major battle
within the confines of a newspaper article, for it takes more than a
book to understand the whole.
The Washington Post author was also provided background material for
his article and also made use of interviews with familiar names who
live in the greater Washington area, this article built around
retired army Colonel Jerome McCabe of Heavy Mortar Company, 31st
Infantry, and among others retired Marine Colonel Robert Parrott
leading the effort "to push the Pentagon to award the citation." A
key quote came from Merrill A. Needham, Ph.D., relating to General
O.P. Smith's decision that the RCT 31 units be removed, saying "Smith
denied honors to the unit that fought itself to death protecting the
flank of the Marines." The map accompanying the article is the best
yet, a graphic describing how the two Chinese divisions cut off the
31st RCT east of the reservoir and how that action related to the two
Marine regiments at Yudam-ni to the west. Although the map shows
eleven Chinese divisions, General Smith's memoirs report the 1st
Marine Division made contact with elements of six CCF divisions,
although his report probably did not count the two CCF divisions east
of the reservoir opposing the 31st RCT.
These two articles are the first in the country to address the late
award of the Navy Presidential Unit Citation, yet no known
publication has addressed the reasons behind the fact that they were
denied consideration by General Smith, a subject that will be
addressed in future issues of the Changjin Journal.
11 June 2000, Reunion of the Army Chapter of the Chosin Few: Award of
the Navy Presidential Unit Citation to units of RCT 31. Colors of
31st and 32d Infantry Regiments carried by battalions stationed at
Fort Drum as units of the 10th Mountain Division participated in this
SAN DIEGO, CA
December 2000, The Chosin Few 50th Anniversary Reunion, San Diego and
Camp Pendleton. Speakers included, among others, General J. L. Jones,
Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps, and Colonel Edward L. Magill, JAGC,
USAR (Ret), past president of the Chosin Few.
The U.S. Navy Memorial, National Commemoration of the Hungnam
Redeployment and Evacuation of the Chosin Reservoir Campaign, 12
December 2000. Speakers included, among others, Secretary of the
Navy Richard Danzig, Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons, USMC (Ret),
and Colonel George A. Rasula, USA (Ret). In his closing remarks at
the ceremony Colonel Rasula said:
"I would like to take this opportunity to express appreciation from
the Soldiers of Changjin for recognition afforded them 49 years after
the battle of Chosin. The units of RCT 31 that fought the two Chinese
divisions east of the reservoir were never recognized when the
original Presidential Unit Citation as awarded in 1953 to the 1st
Marine Division reinforced. During the past few years a special
effort was launched by concerned members of the Chosin Few to set the
In September of this past year, Secretary of the Navy Danzig signed
the final document approving the Navy presidential Unit Citation for
those units of RCT 31 which fought that important battle east of the
Be it known, Mr. Secretary, that the Soldiers of Changjin -
remembering more than one-thousand MIAs who are still in North Korea
- appreciate this recognition. The long battle of Chosin is now over.
Following the ceremony a symposium "Attacking in a different
direction, the Chosin-Hungnam operations" was sponsored by the U.S.
Navy Memorial Foundation.
INTERPRETATION OF THE CHOSIN STORY
The Chosin story has always rested in the minds of the tellers and
the listeners, all modifying what they say or hear to suit their own
beliefs, be it from a knowledge base or their own political or
service affiliation. The books and magazine articles mentioned have
done just that, they present the author's point of view at the time
of his research, as well as suggesting motivation related to
affiliation or sale of the article. In the Changjin Journal we
continue to be motivated by interest - nothing more - and because of
that we are inclined to look at all points of view and express our
findings as accurately as possible.
This concludes the four-part series on the History of the Chosin
Story. Some of the above mentioned publications will be addressed in
more detail in future issues of the Changjin Journal.
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