Saturday, July 13All That Matters

The Chosin Reservoir Was Absolute Hell On Earth

The Chosin Reservoir Was Absolute Hell On Earth

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  • wearsAtrenchcoat

    “We were ambushed and lost a lot of Marines”, “Went to look for those responsible and found 3 of them. They were captured and executed by bayoneting”

    Is that a first eye witnessing of a war crime?

  • MrmmphMrmmph

    I worked with a loud mouthed guy in the early 80s, who we would jokingly call “the rotting man,” because he looked like a person who was slowly falling apart, various physical ailments and scars from skin cancer. Arrogant SOB was always telling everyone else how to do their job. Another guy who knew him his whole life told us he was a machine gunner of the “Frozen Chosin” who was up there that winter. He never talked about it with us, but he had told his old friend that he was just mowing down waves of people for what seemed like forever. All the old timers described this guy as a mountain of a man, a wall of muscle, which you could almost make out in this shadow we saw in front of us. What we were seeing was the remnants of someone who had passed through hell, and as much as an A-hole he continued to be, I tried to give him some respect when he shot his mouth off, which was often. I don’t think I stopped thinking of him as the rotting man, but I definitely had some thoughts on why he might be coming apart at the seams.

    All of our Dads and my older co-workers were either older guys from WWII or Korean vets, and Red from the 70’s show definitely rang true for me. But they definitely gave this guy some lattitude bacause of who he was and what he had been through.

  • WhiteLama

    Is there any good documentaries, tv shows or movies about the Korean War?

    Because that’s the “modern” conflict I know the absolute least about (probably because I’m Swedish and we weren’t that involved) and I’d like to change that.

  • hawkwings

    My dad was in the Navy during the Korean War. I remember him talking to someone who was in the Army. The Army guy complained about extreme cold like 40 or 50 degrees below zero. My dad’s main story about the cold was when he climbed a tower to repair the ship’s radar that had frozen up. He wasn’t able to fix it. His commanding officer him to come down before he froze to death.

  • climb-it-ographer

    It’s telling how he sort of stutters at one point and corrects himself from saying “guys” and says “communists” instead. You really have to de-humanize people to deal with this sort of trauma.

  • warrant2k

    I was stationed onboard the namesake Aegis cruiser USS CHOSIN (CG 65) homeported in Pearl Harbor in the early 00’s. Every other year we would travel to San Diego to host the survivors during their biannual gathering for a day of ship tours and gatherings.

    Whole families arrived, the vets, their children, grandchildren, friends. We took them all over the ship, them amazed at the technology, sharing stories of their days in the service. Some were in wheelchairs, so we’d get a lifting party and bring them up to the ship, and install ramps in various places so they could wheel over the knife edges.

    Each trip to San Diego there were fewer of them.

    They hosted their reunion at a big hotel in San Diego, and many from the ship volunteered to attend in uniform. I, in my warrant officer dress blues, walked around in awe of these elderly men, telling stories, sharing laughs, remembering those that passed since last time.

    Suddenly a beer was shoved into my hand, and my other hand was clasped by one of them, “Thank you for your service, young man! This is my wife, Ellen!” So now I’m drinking with the funniest and friendliest old men and women ever. Then another beer is shoved into my hand – me not wanting to be rude, happily accepted it. Another beer was making it’s way to me so I put the first one in my pocket so I could get the next one.

    They all wanted to know about me and my career, the ship, general Navy stuff, my family. They were treating me like a celebrity, when in the back of my mind were images of these men, young, frozen, fighting. Very humbling.

    Later, an elderly woman timidly came up to me and asked, “Would you mind if my husband met you?” By now I had been meeting everyone all night repeatedly saying, “Thank YOU for your service, sir.” I happily agreed.

    She led me to a nearby wheelchair, her husband was clearly suffering from several conditions, body slowly moving, aged, wrinkled.

    I took his hand and knelt next to him to be at his eye level. Shakily clasping my hand with both of his he started to say something, but only tears came out. I clasped his with mine, silently, tears came to me, and we both sat there looking at each other, not saying a word, crying. We both understood, no words were needed.

    All I could whisper was, “Sir, you are relieved, I have the watch.”

    I stood, gave him a slow ceremonial salute, his wife hugged and thanked me. Wiping tears away I met some more vets that wanted to meet me.

    It was an amazing honor to share that one evening with them.

    If you see an old person wearing a hat that says “WWII Veteran” or something like that, please take a moment to thank them and ask if you can shake their hand. If you have a few minutes maybe ask them what unit they were in and what job they had in the service.

    While waiting to get my hotdog at Costco, I found out the vet next to me was part of the aircrew of B-17’s.

  • TarkovskyAteABird

    The Battle of Lake Changjin is a Chinese movie about the People’s Volunteer Army dunking on American Imperialists at this battle. It’s the highest grossing Chinese film of all time, made by a trio of master directors, including Chen Kaige (one of the greatest Chinese filmmakers of all time).

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