The Breakout Of The 1st Marines From The Chosin Reservoir: An American Epic Of Courage – Part 24

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Fighting with the 2nd Inf. Div. north of the Chongchon River, Sfc. Major Cleveland, weapons squad leader, points out Communist-led North Korean position to his machine gun crew. November 20,1950. (Pfc. James Cox. Source: US National Archives and Records Administration)

At a critical point, a storm with heavy clouds moved in over the battlefield and the planes had to stop attacking for fear of hitting their own troops. Army lines began to bend inward. The Chinese were about to break through. The forward air control officer turned to the commanding general and asked what was going to happen. The general calmly replied, “in about twenty minutes we will all be dead.”

As if heard by Divine Providence, a hole appeared in the clouds and the US ground attack aircraft stacked up over the battlefield now descended and destroyed the massive number of Chinese troops now in the open.

A marine air-observer team guides a marine Corsair in for a strike on an enemy-held hill. The “black Corsairs” were highly praised by army and marines alike for their precision strikes on targets and their extremely close support of forward units. (US Marine Corps photo.)

[Source: The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam. Images courtesy of the US National Archives and the Bevin Alexander.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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