The Breakout Of The 1st Marines From The Chosin Reservoir: An American Epic Of Courage – Part 27

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The photography of David Douglas Duncan

David Douglas Duncan in 1950

Marine Capt. Francis Ike Fenton looking grim after learning his first sergeant was killed and his unit is out of ammunition during a heavy North Korean counterattack along the Naktong River in August 1950.

LIFE photographers Carl Mydans (L) and David Douglas Duncan (R) relaxing during a lull in the Korean war.

As I wrote in my previous post about the US Marines at the Chosin Reservoir: One of the most important advantages the Marines possessed over the Chinese was an intangible moral strength common to elite units.

Combat photographer David Douglas Duncan seems to have captured this essence in many of his photographs of Marines at war. There is an authenticity to his photographs which comes from the natural bond of trust he had with Marines, having been a Marine himself.

A weary, exhausted Marine wrapping himself in a sleeping bag against the cold and clutching a can of food during a retreat from fierce fighting around the Changjin Reservoir in December 1950.

[Images courtesy of Life Magazine and Time Magazine.]

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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:

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