To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chosin- The Forgotten Victory

The first time I heard of the Chosin Reservoir in Korea it was from a friend, SSGT James B. Kraus, whose father and uncle served there. SSGT Kraus told me how his father, "Flew nap of the earth dropping bombs to protect his brother." This was coming from a man who spent 20 years in the Navy and currently serves in the Army National Guard, and whose family has been awarded various medals and decorations in World War II and Korea (to include the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor, numerous Silvers Stars and several others.) I knew Chosin was an important part of American history, yet I knew nothing specific about it.

Being well-adjusted to the 21st century, I Googled Chosin, yet I still didn't "get it." I was unable to understand how or why Chosin was important.

Shortly after my conversation with SSGT Kraus, I discovered the documentary made by Brain Iglesias from first-hand accounts of Marines who survived Chosin. Watching the documentary, I was speechless. After watching it a second time, I was humbled not only by the human spirit, but the Marine spirit. The "Esprit de Corps." The experiences recounted in the documentary were simultaneously amazing, intense, heartbreaking, and shocking. I was beginning to understand the importance of Chosin.

The Korean conflict (a declaration of war was never issued) began June 25th, 1950 when Communist North Korea invaded South Korea. By November 1950, in the frigid 25 below temperatures, 15,000 Soldiers and Marines were in position for battle at Chosin. They had not anticipated the 120,000 Chinese soldiers who had entered into the conflict on the North Korean side.

Hearing the survivors speak, their voices full of emotion as they remember what they lived through, and the names of those who didn't make it home, is not something one easily forgets. I could never find the words to properly portray the experiences of the men who where there, which is why this documentary is a beautiful and critical contribution to American history. Showing true perseverance, duty and honor, approximately 50% of the men fighting were casualties. Some had rifles (their ammo long since expended) strapped to their legs for splints. Out of the original 15,000 men, 3,000 were killed in action and another 6,000 wounded, and 12,000 sustained frostbite of varying degrees to their hands and feet.
The memories and experiences shared in this documentary are not toned down or censored in any way. There were many stories that left me absolutely speechless. Many were sufficiently graphic that I will wait before I share this program with my sons. But I guarantee you I will share it. I encourage you to see this powerful documentary and to share it with everyone you know.

Please visit for purchase and a preview of the 2010 GI Film Festival Winner "Chosin." It is well worth mentioning that a portion of the proceeds from each DVD purchased goes to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.

Captain James J. Kraus Jr. 
January 1923 - August 1994

1 comment:

CI-Roller Dude said...

Some folks who study history think that the Chosin is where McArthur screwed up the Korean war. Some think if the US had stopped before they got that close to China, the war would have ended there.

So many of our losses were from the cold...and don't ask what our engineers used to fill in the holes in the road when the pulled back....

Those troops did a hell of a job stopping the red rush.