Veterans Corner May 14, 2017

Local Veteran Recounts a “Korean War” Experience



May 14, 2017 Veterans Corner by Ronald Verini

With all the recent press and talk about activities in Korea, we were talking around the coffee table lately about how many of our local folks saw action during the Korean War.

The conflict escalated into open warfare in June of 1950 when North Korean forces, being supported by China and the Soviet Union, moved into the South. The UN Security Council then called this an ‘invasion and act of war’ and dispatched UN forces to Korea, of which the United States provided over 85% of the UN military personnel.

Glen Crosby was one of our local men who were involved with the early battles of the war in Korea while serving in the US Marine Corps. Glen’s story, which follows here, is titled “Escape From the Frozen Chosin”.

“”What I am really doing here is to give you an overview of my most crucial campaign of my life – and I’m very lucky to be a ‘survivor’ of it rather than a ‘victim’ of it. Make no doubt about it I am not a hero. But I did my job. I am very proud of my Platoon (all 60 of us) from the 1st Combat Service, for we were very instrumental and essential in saving the lives of over 2,000 Marines and over 1,000 Army Soldiers in the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea, from November thru December 1950. I have decided to use a small unit with a big Heart and lots of determination for my story.

My Unit of 60 Marines from Ordinance & Maintenance, 1st Combat Service, supplied these men of this small unit. We worked day & night rigging parachutes for Air drops of ammunition, medical, food and fuel supplies. They were a Company strength of 246 men, Company F Second Battalion 7th Marine Regiment, known as Fox Company 7th Marines. The ‘Mission’ given to them on Nov. 27, 1950 was to occupy the summit of ‘Taktong Pass’ and keep open a 14 mile stretch of road (the main supply road) between Hagaru and Yudam-ni, 225 miles deep into N. Korea with a cold Siberian winter coming on. The Unit (isolated from the Division for several days) consisted of 9 Officers, 8 Navy Corpsmen, 73 Corporals & Sergeants and 156 Privates and PFC’s, and they were supplied with only 2- 81mm Mortars, 2-Heavy 30 caliber air-cooled machine guns, 30-BAR’s 30 caliber Browning automatic rifles, 90-M1-30 caliber rifles, many cases Hand Grenades and assorted pistols.

So now after dark on Nov. 27, 1950, 12 Chinese Divisions having 10,000 soldiers each, established a 30 mile front surrounding Fox Company 7th Marines and the other Regiments and Army Divisions in the area. The odds were really lopsided, 120,000 Chinese/Korean troops vs. 17,000 US Troops. Fox Company 7th Marines fought every day from November 27th to December 5th, and what began as 246 Marines and Sailors was now reduced to 60 effective fighters. The missing 186 were either Killed or Wounded in Action or from frozen limbs. Had it not been for our 60 Marines and the men of the US Air Force Combat Cargo Command, working in snow and -15 degree temps to drop supplies to these Troops, the death and wounded count would have been so much greater. We saved a ton of Marines and Soldiers and also almost 100,000 North Korean refugees. God Bless those guys from ‘Fox Hill’.” Glen Crosby, then Corporal USMC

(Folks, due to the fact of a space limitation for the column, Mr. Crosby’s story has quite a bit more information, so if you would like to read the whole story it will be available down at the Veteran Advocates Office Monday thru Friday 10 am to 3 pm.)

There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion. General William Thornson.