The Chosin Few reunites allied survivors of the 1950 battle of the Chosin (Changjin) Reservoir fought that November – December in the North Korean mountains near Manshura.
Founded April 22, 1983, and formally recognized as the non-profit association by the Internal Revenue Service, the Chosin Few has over 3,000 (January, 1990) members from all U.S. services, plus South Koreans, former British Marine Commandos, and former Royal Australian Air Force members. The name stems from the fact that so few were engaged at Chosin or survived.
Chosin pitted about 15,000 allied ground troops, mostly the 1st Marine Division and a Regimental Combat Team from the Army’s 7th Infantry Division, against 120,000 Chinese in ten divisions who had been ordered to annihilate the allies “to the last man.”
The 15,000 allies suffered 12,000 casualties, including more than 3,000 killed and 6,000 wounded, plus thousands of severe frostbite cases from the -30 degree temperatures. They emerged from the ordeal with a Presidential Unit Citation for “… decisively defeating seven enemy divisions together with elements of three others.”
Historians have termed Chosin the most savage battle of modern warfare. They compare it to Tarawa, the bloodiest battle of World War II, in terms of the ratio of casualties to Americans engaged, also 15,000. Some 1,000 were killed and 2,300 wounded in the fight. Of the island’s 5,000 defenders, 4,500 died.
President Reagan cited Chosin as among the epics of military history in his first inaugural address. Time Magazine described it as ” … unparalleled in U.S. military history…an epic of great suffering and great valor.” The press has likened it to the Alamo or Custer’s Last Stand because of the seemingly hopeless odds.
The Chosin fighters, by decimating and check-mating the Chinese forces in the mountains, enabled the evacuation of 100,000 North Korean men, women, and children by sea, the last on Christmas Eve. The U.S. Government formally described the humanitarian feat as “… the greatest rescue operation in the history of mankind.” Never in recorded history have combatants rescued so many enemy civilians in the midst of battle. Those refugees who “voted with their feet against communism” are now living free, many in the United States. They are the living legacy of the Chosin Few. Those Koreans will never forget the men of the Changjin.
Allies from 17 nations fought for and won the freedom of the Republic of Korea during the three years of fighting from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. This marked the first time nations fought under the flag of the United Nations. During the so-called “Forgotten War,” 54,246 Americans were killed. Total allied losses were 297,389 dead. Note: Public school history books devote a page or less to the entire Korean War. A truly Forgotten War!
Current Primary Objectives
To reunite the survivors of the Chosin Reservoir campaign into one body for sharing companionship and the everlasting remembrance of those who did not survive.
Recovery of 8,177 Americans missing in action, compared to 2,486 MIA’s for the full accounting of the 389 still officially listed as prisoners of war, involves close cooperation with the U.S. officials and direct negotiations with the North Korean government.
To ensure that our fallen brothers and all allies of the war are no longer, and never again, forgotten the International Korean War Memorial in Angel’s Gate Park in Los Angeles, California, was erected. Dedication of the memorial was in October/November of 1994. A major fund raising drive for the $3.5 million necessary to construct the memorial is currently in progress. All funds are by public donations.
Contact: Harley J. Trueblood
Founder, Past President
The Indiana Chapter, The Chosin Few
343 Redbud Blv. So.
Anderson, IN 46013-1077