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Re: Rewriting History
In the past I have exchanged e-mails with you covering the Chosin battle and at no time did I ever mention that the army and marine units that fought their way to the harbor were cowards. Only an idiot would call any soldier, let alone a division, cowardly based on what they did or did not do in one particular incident. What happened at Chosin speaks for itself. If the Chinese had a few more "victories" like Chosin the war would have ended much sooner.
I recall an e-mail message you posted some time back in which you stated that the soldiers of the 65th Inf. Reg was in their warm beds at Hungnam and did nothing to aid the Marines. Your insinuation was that efforts to set the record straight as to the role that the 65th played in the successful extraction of the Marines was a lie. Whether you want to believe it or not soldiers of the 3rd Division, in the form of Task Force Dog, were at the Funchilin Pass, just south of the Treadway Bridge, as the marines streamed to the safety of Hungham. Col. Thomas A. O'Neil, CO, 15th Inf Regt., led this Task Force. His son, with whom I have spoken, tells of his father recalling that they had to fight their way out because they also became surrounded after the marines went through their lines. The 65th's 2nd battalion, as part of TF Dog, were located at just south of Sudong and at Majon-dong. Members of the 65th watched as the marines march through their lines towards the safety of Hungham. Members of the 65th were not sleeping at Hungham. They were dying, along with other army troops, holding the line while the ships were being loaded. The 3rd Div was the last to embark and the 65th was there.
One veteran of the 65th wrote, to another site, of getting R&R in Japan with his buddy shortly after Chosin. They ran into a group of Marine Officers and he tells that those brave marines would not let them buy a single drink. They treated those P.R. soldiers like they were heroes.
Now let me tell you that I have spoken to veterans of the Korean War and they all admit that there were time that the situation called for them to make a hasty retreat. In other words, they ran for their lives. But they returned to battle and killed the enemy. Were those men cowards? Maybe in your eyes. I never had to endure the horror of hearing bullets flying by my head, wondering if my next breath would be my last. But my stomach actually knots up when I think about it. So to my way of thinking, and you have the right to disagree, a soldier that returns to battle, to that horror, after previously succumbing to that fear, is no coward.
Now I don't know if you have a need to believe that the Marines could have gotten on the ships without the help of the X Corps. If so, you are totally wrong. The Marines, after destroying several Chinese divisions, were in no condition to embark under fire. BUT THAT DOES NOT TAKE AWAY WHAT THEY DID. THE MARINES DO NOT NEED TO BE ELEVATED BY DEVALUING THE STRUGGLES THAT OTHER TROOPS EXPENDED TO ENSURE THAT EVERYONE GOT OUT THROUGH HUNGHAM.
With all due respect, take that huge log off of your shoulders. I am only suggesting that it is important to understand what would make 90+ soldiers of a regiment with an excellent record to retreat from the enemy. To ask this question is not meant to excuse or divert away their responsibility as soldiers. Perhaps you should read the Army's report on the court-martial.
Take care of yourself. I enjoy reading your other e-mails.