From Iwon to Chosin:
 A Photo Essay

We present here a photo essay beginning before the landing of RCT 31 units at the beach of Iwon, about 100 miles northeast of Wonsan. This essay is designed to provide the viewer with an appreciation for the terrain and related conditions that existed in northeast Korea. During their peacetime assignment in Japan many soldiers took advantage of the inexpensive cameras in the Post Exchange. Many of these photographs were taken by Captain Joseph C. Rodgers, a medical service officer of Medical Company, 31st Infantry, whose medical detachment was assigned to the 2d Battalion, 31st Infantry, a unit which made it into the Koto-ri on 1 December and remained in defense of that perimeter until the breakout. Unless otherwise noted, the original photos are color slides.

Click on any photo to see a larger one

3OfficersFuji.jpg (45005 bytes)
This photograph was taken a few weeks before the regiment loaded out of Yokohama for Korea. Right: Major Lester K. Olson, regimental S-3 (operations officer) who was seriously wounded during the action south of the Suwon airfield and evacuated. Center: Lieutenant Colonel William Reilly, commander of the 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry, seriously wounded the night of 27-28 November at the Inlet east of the Chosin Reservoir and one of the few to be evacuated from that action. Left: Major Berry K. Anderson who at the time of the photo was S-3 of the 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry. After Major Olson was wounded he was transferred to the position of regimental S-3, promoted to lieutenant colonel in early November 1950, and at the Chosin Reservoir was senior Army officer present in command of the "Provisional Battalion" attached to the 7th Marines for the breakout.  All officers in the photo are deceased. 
Photo by (then 1st Lt) George Rasula. 

GR-04_(1).jpg (73926 bytes)
Photo GR-04 (1)
The troopship MARINE LYNX discharges soldiers of the 2d Battalion, 31st Infantry, to an LST which will carry then to the beach at Iwon, North Korea. Photo courtesy George Rasula.

GR-08_(2).jpg (52088 bytes)
Photo GR-08 (2)
Captain George Rasula and 1st Lieutenant Frank Bunn of Headquarters, 31st Infantry, aboard LST at Iwon harbor. Note the reversible parka shell being worn, inside being white. Under this was worn the standard field jacket with pile liner, wool shirt and winter underwear, similar to that worn by the 10th Mountain Division in WW II. Note also the trigger-finger mitten shells, in which was worn the wool mitten also with trigger finger. Soldiers who were with the regiment the previous winter in Hokkaido received training in winter survival as well as use of skis and snowshoes. Photo courtesy George Rasula.
GR-02_(3).jpg (62691 bytes)
Photo GR-02 (3)
LST heading for beach at Iwon. Note the rugged mountains in the distance, terrain into which this battalion was about to enter. Photo courtesy George Rasula.
JR2-48_(4).jpg (50430 bytes)
JR2-48 (4)
Troops debark from LST using main ramp to beach at Iwon. All landings in northeast Korea were unopposed. Photo courtesy Joseph Rodgers.
JR2-47_(5).jpg (70153 bytes)
JR2-47 (5)
Units of 2d Battalion, 31st Infantry, begin march inland from the beach at Iwon. Eventually trucks will carry them north to Pukchong, then west into the area northeast of the Fusen (Pujon) Reservoir. Photo courtesy Joseph Rodgers.
JR2-63_(6).jpg (45810 bytes)
JR2-63 (6)
Rugged terrain seen by troops as they motored north to the Pukchong area. Photo courtesy Joseph Rodgers.
JR2-65_(7).jpg (38700 bytes)
JR2-65 (7)
Oxen pulling supply sleds into mountains near the Fusen Reservoir. Photo courtesy Joseph Rodgers.
JR2-71_(8).jpg (73440 bytes)
JR2-71 (8)
Early snows following by melting caused streams to swell, creating crossing problems for units as they moved into roadless terrain. Photo Courtesy Joseph Rodgers.
JR2-67_(9).jpg (52832 bytes)
JR2-67 (9)
Lone soldier walking ox with sled used to carry supplies into snow-covered terrain being traversed by units of 2d Battalion, 31st Infantry, near Fusen Reservoir. Photo courtesy Joseph Rodgers.
JR2-56_(10).jpg (60655 bytes)
JR2-56 (10 )
Captured North Korean soldiers. Note the camouflage dress on soldier at the right who probably had been a sniper. Photo courtesy Joseph Rodgers.
JR2-74_(11).jpg (45247 bytes)
JR2-74 (11)
North Korean father and son. Photo courtesy Joseph Rodgers.
GR-05_(12).jpg (53795 bytes)
GR-05 (12)
Village of Untaek, North Korea, east of the Fusen (Pujon) Reservoir on 14 November 1950 when temperature was 14 degrees below zero F. RCT 31 headquarters was in a schoolhouse at this location prior to its move to the Chosin Reservoir. Photo courtesy George Rasula.
GAR-06_(13).jpg (25970 bytes)
GR-06 (13)
The officerís mess in the Untaek schoolhouse command post of RCT 31. Of interest is the map of South America. Seated having a C ration lunch is Captain Frank Fife, the headquarters commandant, who eventually ended up at Koto-ri. In the rear studying a map is Major Hugh Robbins, the RCT adjutant and a Chosin survivor, who went with Colonel MacLean to the RCT assigned sector at the Chosin Reservoir. Photo courtesy George Rasula.
JR2-78_(14).jpg (55250 bytes)
JR2-78 (14)
After the units of RCT 31 were ordered to the Chosin Reservoir, the 2d Battalion, 31st Infantry (2/31), was the last unit moved from the Fusen Reservoir area. Here they are shown boarding narrow-gauge railroad cars for part of the move south toward Hamhung. Photo courtesy Joseph Rodgers.
JR2-80_(15).jpg (56197 bytes)
JR2-80 (15)
Marine helicopter crash in the Funchilin Pass. Photo courtesy Joseph Rodgers.
JR2-82_(16).jpg (65344 bytes)
JR2/82 (16)
The gatehouse in the Funchilin Pass with partially blown bridge, as this photo was taken during the move north by 2/31 Infantry on 30 November 1950. The bridge was eventually replaced by a Treadway bridge on 9 December during the breakout from Koto-ri. Photo courtesy Joseph Rodgers.
JR2-81_(17).jpg (53267 bytes)
JR2-81 (17)
Four large pipes carry water from the Chosin Reservoir downhill from the gatehouse to the power plant in the valley below.
JR2-84_(18).jpg (42975 bytes)
JR2-84 (18)
Winter tent camp inside the perimeter at Koto-ri which was manned by units from the 2d Battalion, 1st Marines (including Colonel Pullerís 1st Marine Regiment command post); 185th Engineer Battalion, X Corps; 2d Battalion, 31st Infantry. 7th Infantry Division; and other company-size and smaller units.


One-click Table of Contents
Schedule All-day Conference Fulltext resources News On the Web Links to Military History Nymas Newsletters About NYMAS Contact us

Return to the New York Military Affairs Symposium start page