I am looking for any of these guy’s that were in the Motar Squad that I was in in Korea in 1950-51 Group is A CO.,1st. BN.,5TH. MAR.
I am writing in regards to the Chosin Reservoir campaign. My Uncle, who recently died, was one of 30 Marines left of 203 from the 1st.Batallion, Easy company. His name was Donald McDonald, but everyone called him "Jake". I have attached an article I scanned from the Toledo Blade newspaper written in early 1951. I was wondering if you knew of any other survivors from this battle, or his company, that might have known him. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I also have a December 25 1950 Life Magazine with his picture in it. If your interested, I would be willing to scan the entire article and send it to you.
In 1950, the north Koreans were almost successful in using their military to secure the Korean peninsula. A number of strategic-level events stopped them short, such as the rapid build-up of U.S. forces, the overextension of north Korean supply lines, and the cumulative losses the north Koreans suffered after so many days of combat. The surprise American attack through Inchon and into Seoul severed the north’s supply lines and sent them fleeing. American, Republic of Korea (ROK), and UN forces drove them all the way to the Yalu River. That’s when the Chinese intervened.
I took three photos late April 1953, which developed into quite a story. I was with Dog Company 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division. While we boarded old Japanese built rail cars coupled up to a steam engine, I named the old ?Honey bucket Express? while we were boarding the rail cars old Korean men worked up and down the tracks, oiling all of the moving parts of the engine. Then opening the packing lids on the rail car wheels, and adding oil, letting them close with a loud clang. A tank filled to provide water for the boilers and the coal hopper was shoved full. When that was over one of them swung a signal lantern and we left on a 4 to 6 hour 55-mile ride to the port of Inchon Korea. Where a convoy of ships laid waiting to take us on a MarLEX = Marine Landing EXersizes. She never attained a top speed of over 40-m.p.h. Shortly after we were underway, we ate rations for chow, previously loaded by the service battalion, along with fruit, and treated potable water in five-gallon cans used to refilled canteens. The railcars had rows of wooden seats back to back, bolted down to a bare wooden floor on either side of a center isle there were no toilets, or running water, so we made a number of stops along the way for head calls^, military traffic animal crossings, and other trains. As we traveled through the countryside, Korean people working out in rice fields carried wooden yokes on their shoulders with two buckets hung either side using a gourd dipper, dipping from ?honey buckets?, and pouring it down the rows, it was human excrement.
It was mid autumn 1951 on the Eastern Front at the Punchbowl sector. I was basically a boot-ass replacement in “A” Company 1st Tank Battalion (Our Company Commander was Capt. Schnell), and I was anxiously awaiting my baptism of fire any day now, as our tank company was operating practically every other day with direct fire combat missions.
This is a photo that was taken with my Argus, C-3 camera, some time before July 16th 1953, and the last time I was on line. We were on hill 229; our MLR, our combat Outpost was Kate, hill 128= 2000 yards north, of the trench line at Able Gate. And Our Dog Company 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment Commander was Lt Col. Andrew Geer. Our Company Commanding Officer was Captain Woods, I had been a BAR man in the 3rd squad 2nd platoon 1st fire team for nine months, but had transferred to a 3.5 rocket launcher platoon in May 1953 when the 33rd draft arrived, My good buddy Cliff Kroeber encouraged me to do it. It was an easy transfer handled by Lt. Evans; he knew I had a wife and child waiting for me in Con.US. Before we went on the two MarLEXes = Marine landing EXersizes in May and June 1953 that I have recorded in my diary, and written about in another reflection, I trained on the weapon and became a gunner. Since I had survived a lot of line time for past nine months, and was getting close to being a short timer. Early in the morning after my night watch, I left Able Gate where I was stationed and passed through on my way to the supply point that was on south behind a hill where I would get a 5 gallon can of water; I stopped to say hi to these guys, and took this photo, the five Marines with mud on their bloused pants had been out on one of the patrols that were carried out each night, they probably hadn’t had a lot of sleep, [no we didn’t weekends off, our base pay was $122, $45 combat, $12 overseas; $10 was deducted for insurance each month there wasn’t much need for money since the Marine Corps gave us cloths ammo food, and a place to sleep, so I sent most of my pay home to my wife, Parthene. Keeping enough to buy film and pogy bate from the PX truck when we were off line.
In the mountainous terrain of North Korea during sub-zero winter conditions, along and in the hills surrounding a primitive road barely wide enough for a single modern vehicle to pass, the battle of Chosin Reservoir took place. It has been termed by historians as the most savage battle in modern warfare, and was cited by President Reagan in his first inaugural address as one of the epics of military history.