Monday, December 11, 2006

December 11, 1950 Syracuse Herald Journal, Page 1

... the last elements of 25,000 bone-cold, unshaven American Marines and doughboys streamed down onto the Hamhung coastal plain from a series of Red traps near Changjin Reservoir.

A huge fleet stood off Hamhung's port of Hungnam. but whether it would evacuate the weary, outnumbered U.S. 10th Corps units in the northeast remained to be seen. The northwest front was relatively quiet.[snip]

It was evident that MacArthur was concerned seriously about the condition of his forces, particularly the U.S. First Marine Division and units of the Army's Seventh Infantry Division which battled through a frozen, Chinese-lined hell for two weeks on both sides and south of the Changjin Reservoir in notheast Korea..[snip]

The bitter 50-mile retreat -- the longest one of few in the history of the spirited Marine corps -- began Nov. 28. [snip]

A Marine medical officer compared the Leatherneck casualties to those the Corps suffered in taking the tiny atoll of Tarawa in World War II -- 3,168 men. But total Marine and doughboy casualties were higher.[snip]

AP correspondent jack McBeth, the only wire service newsman who was with the trapped force, said more than 4,000 wounded were flown from the snow-mantled airstrip at Koto until two days before the final breakout drive.

Most of the wounded were Marines. There was no estimate of American dead, but MacBeth said the number would be high.

"Two days ago," he wrote, "I watched nearly 200 bodies nosed into a big grave by a bulldozer. There was no time for more elaborate arrangements."

MacBeth called the withdrawal "one of the fighingest retreats in military history." He said the Leathernecks "walked out of 12 days of freezing hell, full of fight after a gory nightmare of death in Korea's icy mountains."

Temperatures at times plunged to 25 degrees below zero.[snip]

In Seoul, the republican capital, United Nations and American officials said they intended to remain in Korea despite the advancing Chinese Communist forces. [snip]

A high ranking Eighth Army spokesman said Sunday no commitments had been made to defend the capital.


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