The Chosin Reservoir

A friend of many years was a First Lieutenant, Dog Company, Composite Battalion, Seventh Marines. When they were forced to pull out of their positions at Chosin Reservoir, the Company commander held a hill with part of the company, giving command of the rest of the company to my friend. The Company commander and his men held the hill until everyone got out, and won the Medal of Honor posthumously. My friend, the sole surviving officer of Dog Company, and about thirty or so survivors of the Company were the point for a convoy of 400 wounded Marines trying to get to Hungnam and the sea. Somewhere along a twisting mountain road the convoy came under mortar attack from some Chinese who had come down the back side of the hills. We have all seen what happened to the Second Division when they were caught on a mountain road and came under mortar attack. The handful of Dog Company riflemen went into the hills and pushed the Chinese off in a fierce firefight. In the engagement my friend was wounded, but the convoy of wounded was now able to move. They reached Hungnam and the hospital ships. My friend won the Navy Cross. Generals can plan, Generals can anticipate, but it takes men to fight and die for each other.

In bitter cold, the frozen ice
The Yalu crossed at night
The Chinese came with bugle calls
As flares turned dark to light
The First Marines recoiled when hit
Outnumbered, they pulled back
And piled the wounded onto trucks
And took a mountain track
To Hungnam and the waiting ships
But somewhere down the track
Chinese mortars waited them
There was no turning back
The remnants of Dog Company
Exhausted, short on means
Took to the hills and drove them off
Because they were Marines
Yes officers can draw up plans
The whole thing nailed down tight
But plans are notions in the air
Without the men who fight

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