'Chosin Few' Honored with Memorial

'Chosin Few' Honored with Memorial

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Jed Boal ReportingThe Korean War is often called the "Forgotten War”, but Utahns who fought in one of America's fiercest battles will never forget. Today veterans of the Chosin Reservoir Campaign and their families gathered at Hill Air Force Base to dedicate a memorial to those who died and those who survived.

It's been called the most savage battle of modern warfare. In the fall of 1950, 15-thousand American Forces battled endless waves of Chinese soldiers and temperatures that hovered around forty below in the month-long Battle of Chosin Reservoir, a 78-mile retreat.

John Cole, The Chosin Few: “There were no tents, no escape from the cold, 24 hours a day...moving all the time from one fore fight to the next."

Young Marine John Cole of Roy says they kept loading and shooting, but the enemy was relentless. They brought out the wounded, but had to leave many dead behind.

John Cole, The Chosin Few: “I feel bad about that because you don't go off and leave your buddies."

They are called the Chosin Few and today dedicated a memorial to the 47 Utahns known to have fought there. The monument rekindled thoughts of the sacrifices their comrades made.

Alvin Merrill, The Chosin Few: “They're carrying on not only a tradition but a love of freedom and a love of God."

The terrified soldiers were filled with adrenaline to fight with honor, fight for the men beside them and fight to survive.

Jerry Eitner, Utah Chapter of the Chosin Few: “When you know your life could end as a 21-year old kid, there's a lot to think about."

Hundreds of family members honored the Men of Chosin to applaud their courage.

BrigGen.Robert McMahon, Ogden Air Logistics Command: “May we remember today...and may we never forget that freedom is not free."

The Chosin Few received the most honorary medals awarded for a single battle in US history.

Jerry Eitner, Utah Chapter of the Chosin Few: “No one who was there will ever forget it. No one who was not there can ever know what it was really like."

Three thousand were killed, thousands more injured, many with severe frostbite. But the Chosin Few do not consider themselves heroes, then or today."

Jerry Eitner, Utah Chapter of the Chosin Few: “Nobody knew how serious it was at the time. We knew it was not what we wanted to find there, but not heroic at any point. But history has proven us wrong in that respect."

As one speaker put it, they've led different lives the past five decades, but will be forever intertwined as the Chosin Few.

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