Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

April 10, 2015

“The Frozen Chosin”

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

For many years a cap hung in Judy’s research library.  On the front are the words of a special brotherhood, The Chosin FewBelow those words are descriptive terms:  “Chosin Reservoir”  “November 1950 December”  “1st Marine Division”  This cap was given to Judy by her cousin who was a significant part of a battle in Korea.  The cap was recently given to our son, Congressman David Jolly, for his office.

The Battle of Chosin Reservoir was a decisive battle in the Korean War.  After the People’s Republic of China entered the Korean conflict, their forces infiltrated North Korea and surprised the American troops at the Chosin Reservoir area, and a brutal two-week battle in freezing weather commenced.  The American troops were outnumbered 12,000 to 60,000.

The First Marine Division countered  the attack.  Dealing with military enemy, the Marines also struggled to survive the weather.  This period of November and December, 1950 was recorded as the coldest winter in 100 years in North Korea.  Yet what some might have considered to be the darkest two weeks in Marine Corps history, may have in fact, become the Marines Corps’ defining moment.  With their backs to the wall, the men of the First Marine Division pulled together to accomplish the impossible. The area was secured, and the Chinese retreated.  The teamwork of these Marines cemented a band of brothers who came to call themselves “The Frozen Chosin.”  Later years, they were designated as “The Chosin Few.”

Judy’s cousin was special in our lives.  He celebrated our wedding and always visited when he had an opportunity.  He would later, after military retirement, make his experiences available to special operations to liberate the oppressed.  I did not know Nig during those years in Korea, but perhaps this experience at the Chosin Resevoir molded and shaped a spirit that describes him and our service people around the world.

Alagore ”Nig” Hardee remembered well the cold being as much an enemy as the Chinese.  The weather took many casualties.  “There wasn’t much you could do to keep warm.  I don’t know how to explain it other than we were survivors,” he said.  For us, Nig was a hero.  But along with him are all those who fought and died at the Chosin Resevoir.   And we must always remember all those who have served our country through many wars and conflicts.

We are an independent nation today because of these men and women.  There is reason to be proud as an American, but the pride we have in America has been made possible though the sacrifice and effort of those like the “Chosen Few.”



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