Chosin Reservoir - Ray Vallowe Research

Chapter 12 - The Tank Withdrawal

Author's Background | Prologue | Chapt 1 - Budget War | Chapt 2 - Inchon | Chapt 3 - Capture Seoul
Chapt 4 - Inchon to Pusan | Chapt 5 - Fateful Journey into N Korea | Chapt 6 - Inter-service Rivalry-1
Chapt 7 - Inter-service Rivalry-2 | Chapt 8 - Press Corps | Chapt 9 - Secret/Classified Mission
Chapt 10 - Circumstantial Evidence | Chapt 11 - Mission Change | Chapt 12 - The Tank Withdrawal
MIA/KIA East of Chosin | Postscript | Important Maps | Declassified Documents| Reader Comments


An Attempt to Unravel this Mystery

"Was it not ironic that Task Force Faith came to its final stop just short of the site of Drake's 31st Tank Company bivouac and the 31st Infantry Rear CP? Thirty hours earlier there had been 16 operable tanks and 325 soldiers in a perimeter within a stone's throw of where the convoy died--they had been there since the evening of November 27. Then on November 30 an order came for them to withdraw to Hagaru-ri. Who ordered that withdrawal to Hagaru-ri?...And why was the order issued?"

- Appleman, East of Chosin, p.322

In the 1950's, there was a popular song titled, "What a Difference a Day Makes." This chapter covers several days and an important difference relating to each one of them--the 7th Division's relocation to East of the Chosin Reservoir.

Movement of Troops

Day One -11/24/50: 1/32 Infantry units in transit
Day Two -11/25/50: 1/31st RCT units in transit
Day Three - 11/26/50: Other units in transit
Day Four - 11/27/50: End of Army units' relocation above Hagaru-ri, to this date. Enemy attacks in force after dark.

Killed in Action - Casualties east Of Chosin

Day Five - 11/28/50: 77
Day Six - 11/29/50: 48

Killed in Action - Casualties in the tank withdrawal

Day Seven - 11/30/50: 82
Day Eight - 12/1/50: 114
Day Nine - 12/2/50: 333

Final Night of Lt. Colonel Faith's task force battle: total destruction of our column of wounded and the final demise of the task force.

Day Six (29 November, 1950) - an extremely eventful and fateful day

What happened before the close of Day Six (unknown to General Almond) relates directly to a fateful and frightful 1st Marine Division reaction concerning Almond's late night X Corps order. That order placed General Smith in full (OPCON) operational control over all Army forces at Chosin. It was an order intended to secure, rather than seal, the fate of Task Force Faith on the east side of the reservoir. The pending Marine removal order of Colonel MacLean's Army tank command that day meant that Lieutenant Colonel Don Carlos Faith's forces would be totally abandoned, isolated, and trapped east of the reservoir. The tank removal order abandoned four miles directly northeast of Hagaru-ri to Hudong-ni, adding those additional four miles to another four miles forward, thereby trapping all 7th Division units of the 1/32nd, 3/31st (-) 57th FA Bn (-). and the 15th AAA-AW Bn(-).  The minus symbols are a military indication of any unit that lacked its full strength. For example, the 1/32nd (Faith's regiment) was a complete unit as originally sent to Chosin. The 3/31st (-) was also a complete unit inclusive of the other units trapped at Hudong-ni behind it. Removing those rear units therefore left 3/31st as an incomplete unit as ordered to Chosin, per OPN O 25. The 57th FA was likewise never complete per OPN O 25 as scheduled for the Chosin Campaign.  It lacked its Service Battery, also withdrawn to Hagaru-ri with the tank command, as well as its own C Battery, and B Battery of the 31st FA BN (155mm Howitzers). The 15th Anti-aircraft Artillery, Automatic Weapons Battalion was only one (D) Company from that 15th AAA-AW Battalion, lacking its battalion support. It was also attached to the 57th FA. Bn per Opn O 25.

Click on each link below to find a map which shows the tank command location between Hudong-ni and Hagaru-ri:

No friendly force remained between Task Force Faith and Hagaru-ri for a total of eight miles. That eight mile enemy trap, already partially in place, was reinforced and consolidated by a reaction over the X Corps OPCON transfer order to the sole command of General Oliver P. Smith, USMC--a transfer of command over the Army task force and all others Army forces within the Chosin Reservoir. Effective as of 292027 November, those 7th Division forces were exclusively under the sole command and responsibility of the 1st Marine Division. [1]  However, prior to that transfer event, one should clarify what division (Army or Marine) was previously in charge of that area of operations.

For that information we must consider the Marine recorded history, a history which is directly in conflict and contradiction to Operation Order #25 (1.b).  The 7th Infantry Division was to seize Mupyong-ni, as written by Colonel Allan D. MacLean in his own regimental instructions concerning his five objectives labeled "A", "B", "C", "D", "E", to be seized without delay toward the town of Changjin. Both sets of objectives were previously assigned to the Marines, but then changed under the latest order of 0 7, 25 November issued by MacArthur.  It was an order that therefore superseded all Marine objectives in the Hagaru-ri area.

The Marine Corps' own history and its own public relations campaign distorts these facts, retaining and locking in their sole objective as Mupyong-ni. [2] We have a conflict of orders. Until that OPCON timeline change, the Marine G-3 had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do concerning that new X Corps order issued directly to and binding on all Army forces. The point is that MacLean's 31st RCT mission east of Chosin, inclusive of Lt. Colonel Faith's 1/32nd Infantry, was firmly locked within a 7th Division, 31st Infantry Regimental Combat Team (RCT) Order #25. That order had absolutely no connection to the Marine G-3 section between OPN 0 7 25 November and prior to 292027 November 1950. Colonel MacLean's mission prior to that timeline belonged exclusively to the 7th Infantry Division as given by the authority of X Corps and its commanding officer. Its later removal from all records, namely OPN O 25, totally and completely removed MacLean's RCT from all active Army history on this side of the Changjin (Chosin) Reservoir. Those men involved within its mission were classified "secret," and listed as merely missing in action. Recall Smith's earlier PUC remarks on excluding this Army force as making no contribution whatsoever to the withdrawal of his remaining forces from Hagaru-ri back to the coast of Hungnam.  Where did the 7th Division force come from and where did they go via this timeline? They were completely vanished, erased, vaporized, and suddenly gone, along with their records and credentials--a phantom force lost to history. They no longer legally existed within this area on Army maps or official Army records.

However, a few of those records were securely transferred and guarded under a classified label within the National Archives just outside Washington D.C. There they remained until they were declassified and OPN O 25 was copied on 9 January, 1979. This now creates an enormous problem between the Army and Navy, indicting that General Almond turned over the full responsibility of a non-existent Army force to the Department of the Navy, via its Marine Corps. How can and should this situation and fiasco be handled? For over five decades, history failed to explain this farce. But it now seems that military history has come full circle in re-establishing those lost or misplaced credentials, now public knowledge through OPN O 25. It would also seem evident that General Almond has his personal revenge at last. The Navy and Marine Corps now have the problem of explaining, correcting, and recording military history within this area. How do they do that? How do they make their records coincide with those of X Corps? There were no credentials or records for this Army forces (until now--the purpose of this research) east of the reservoir. However, the Department of the Navy become fully aware and involved over these facts in this controversy within the upcoming years by extending their own opposition in denying the PUC award to forces east of Chosin for forty-nine years (1950-1999), while at the same time issuing it to the 1st Marine Division. The Department of the Army is on record via a Ninth Endorsement (1952) to included all forces east of Chosin in that PUC Award (see chapter endnote).

The real story and facts may show the Marines Corps in a bad light. Let the chips fall where they may by reviewing a direct report of Marine G-3 records. What did they do with their (classified) copy of OPN Order 25, sent to the Marine SP's per MacLean's order listed as: "(4. b.) C1 V 1st Mar Div SP, Opns Overlay, Annex 1"? This information (1.b) also verifies that it was the 7th Infantry Division's zone of operations, plus this road overlay was to provide prior priority road clearance for all MacLean's forces moving from Pukchong through the Marine road network between Chinhung-ni, Koto-ri, and northward to Hagaru-ri. Any research should include those X Corps orders within their independent Marine Division, as those records of the X Corps Army history should include all X Corps orders to the Marine Division within that same time frame.  It should also be inclusive of that Marine order to replace the 7th Marines by the 5th Marines at Yudam-ni. That move alone left no forces on the east of the reservoir (see General Ridgway's map and Navy maps 17 & 18).  The last two Navy maps verify the full 7th Division was well east of the Pujon (Fusen) Reservoir. Yet, in all fairness, the Navy doesn't really seem to have access to these orders. "A search of the 1st Marine Division G-3 Journal, November 30, 1950, fails to disclose an entry concerning an order of any kind to the 31st Rear CP and the Tank Company at Hudong-ni. Yet that command would be the one authorized to issue it." [3]

The removal of Task Force MacLean (not Faith) made all Changjin history as recorded unreliable. The death of Colonel MacLean prior to the X Corps transfer of his command to the Marine command opens the door to his entire command being referenced as Faith's command from start to finish. Lt. Colonel Faith interacted directly with the Marines; however, it is an existing fact that Colonel MacLean never did. Still, Faith had no individual credentials of his own except through reference within OPN O 25 as well. But Faith commanded his own 1/32nd Battalion at the start, and the two extra battalions at the finish--the 3/31st Infantry and 57th FA.Bn--were remnants of MacLean's larger force of men.

Yet, Colonel MacLean's standing orders left instructions to his tank commander, Captain Robert Drake, to move his tanks forward. Under the changing circumstances, Colonel MacLean's orders remained in effect until rescinded by someone in authority. Faith could not do that.  He was never in command of that tank command unit.  Plus, they remained blocked four miles south of his perimeter. However, the Marine commander's new OPCON order then superseded any prior Army order. The Marine history, while fully verifying this OPCON transfer, still is highly vague on the issue of those tanks returning into Hagaru-ri. Without dispute, they withdrew well during that timeline under Marine operational control.

One should place this in light of those earlier forces that the Marine commander assumed command over-- those (1/B/31) 7th Division forces who were "attached" to Task Force Drysdale earlier (28 Nov) and totally outside of Smith's authority at Koto-ri.  They had their own orders under their own commander and were never "attached" to the Marines--however, they were linked to MacLean's orders. Drysdale's British force had an "attached" United Nations status directly to the 1st Marine Division. [4] This latter is of no big issue except to verify my point of the chain of command.  The commander in charge (in charge being the key issue) has every right to appoint any commander over another unit.  At Changjin, the Marine commander (Colonel Puller) delegated and appointed the British UN commander of a small unit (250 men) to be attached to the Marines, as the leader of his own titled force to break through from Koto-ri to Hagaru-ri. There is no disputing that or the fact that the British commander's newly assigned authority should supersede any ranking Marine commander placed under him, and those Army units as well--again, assuming that the Marine officer placing that Army force in that unit had the legal authority to assign that force to that task. In this case, Colonel Puller did not. General Smith PUC version disputes Colonel Puller's authority to attach that Army unit, supported by Smith's individual disclaimer that the Army force simply "attached themselves" to that column.

But while that may be another moot issue, as that Army force had to move forward towards Colonel MacLean anyway, the Marine command reaction over our tank force behind us is an entirely different issue. Our rear tank and CP command was transferred and "officially attached" to the Marine commander prior to its withdrawal. MacLean's records were "lost," but not those of the units behind him. The rear tank force was placed under command of the Marine commander, and their records of its movements under that Marine G-3 section should fully document the orders given by them. That seems to be lacking, or highly vague. The distance between MacLean's two units was only four miles, and another four miles back to Hagaru-ri. Moving that tank force added those additional four miles to the journey of Task Force Faith. That move severely jeopardized the task force and sealed its fate.  "What commander in his right mind could order such a move in the circumstances without deliberately running the risk of sacrificing the task force, and how could he be willing to take that risk?" Appleman, East of Chosin, p.323.

My attempt to unravel this mystery is to lock in on the mission east of Chosin after the Marine commander (MG Smith) was placed in charge. That timeline from 292028 hours Nov. ‘50 was one minute past the Marine recorded time frame of the change of operational control and full command to them. "At 2027 that night, all troops in the Chosin Reservoir area, including the three Army battalions, were placed under the operational control of the Marine commander by X Corps." [5] Here at long last the Marine commander had total and exclusive control--not only of his own Marine division--but the additional command over all Army units within his immediate area. This brings to mind General Bradley's remarks: "This is no time for fancy Dans who won't hit the line with all they have on every play, unless they can call the signals."

Here, at long last, General Smith was calling the signals.  Almond's commands to him were then merely suggestions and options of what to do. In the end, it would be Smith's call alone to decide what course of action to take--or in this case, to totally ignore. No matter what transpired beyond that timeline (292028 November), the Marine commander and his designated officers were in full and complete charge of all Army forces. This indicates that those Marine officers, delegated to various responsibility within the 1st Marine Division, then had whatever new authority over Army forces as Smith assigned to them. For example, the Marine tank commander, when given authority over the Army tank command, had independent authority of operational control over that force and could place them where he wanted them. He could allow them to remain in place as rear guard support for Task Force Faith, or he could order them back to Hagaru-ri and place them in any defensive position of his choice. Unfortunately, at the expense of Task Force Faith, he picked the second option. As to the question of who ordered our rear tanks withdrawn, that answer has just been given.

Per National Archive reports on the Army CP command: "On the night of 29 Nov the rear CP received orders to withdraw to Hagaru-ri and that we would now be under the control of the 1st Marine Division." [6] It is unclear who issued that order or what later hour of that night it was issued. But we do know that this order was not activated until the afternoon of the next day (the 30th).  Therefore, another question is posed.  Why the delay? In the U.S. Army, "An order calls for instant compliance, a view sometimes difficult for the American soldier to understand.... Once an order was published it could not be changed except by the issuing authority." [7]

Day Seven

Here I restate the question:  Why the delay over the tank force returning to Hagaru-ri? In East of Chosin, Appleman states that the OPCON order was not effective until 0800 of the 30th. Still, the tanks did not move out until around 301600 hours. Again why the eight-hour delay? The answer should lie within the very basic training and knowledge of the lowest private in the Army. One does not surrender his post or command assigned without proper authorization. Captain Robert Drake was a graduate of West Point (Armor, Class of ‘44).  In my opinion, he was not going to surrender his full armor command, plus severe his connection to his own regiment trapped above him, solely on the strength of a relayed, unreliable, radio message. He required confirmation from someone higher in division command.

As it happened, the 7th Division Commander General David Barr arrived that same morning for a scheduled afternoon meeting at Hagaru with CG Almond, MG Smith, and 7th ADC BG Hodes. While some other authors may imply that General Barr ordered Captain Drake to relocate his command at Hagaru-ri, MG Barr was no longer the one responsible as he had lost full operational control over these forces in the Chosin arena. All MG Barr was authorized to do was to explain that prior night's order (in reference footnote 6 above).  It was and still remained a fully lawful order by the new issuing authority. He did not have to detail what Captain Drake was to do next. That action was obvious. Case closed. Legally, that tank command, plus the medical holding team, artillery service battery, and the rear CP forces belonged at Hagaru-ri, as ordered. However, were they really needed there? [8] But new credentials and separation from MacLean's command-for the Army tank command, medical detachment, artillery service battery, and the rear CP forces were established there as part of a new provisional force then fully and physically attached to the 1st Marine Division. The overwhelming fact here was the connection to Task Force Drysdale and the need for more tanks to defend Hagaru-ri. That condition created an emergency for the 1st Marine Regimental commander to rush more forces and equipment to Hagaru from wherever he can get them.

"The reinforcements ordered up from Koto-ri had a difficult time of it on the road.  Only a part had managed to get through, and the night of 30 November brought further heavy attacks at Hagaru and against the Army battalions." [9] This indicates that the entire Task Force Drysdale from Koto-ri was needed at Hagaru. To compensate for the difference of only one-third of Drysdale's force getting through to Hagaru, it would seem logical that the 31st Tank Armor would also be required to fill that void. That would be further indicated by its withdrawal order issued on the night of 29th November that they were needed to "reinforce Hagaru! (see Marine Map 20). RED FLAG: But why not state that up front? This verified Smith's important error in not placing that free battalion of the 5th Marines at Hagaru-ri. Had MG Smith pulled them in there, neither would Colonel Drysdale's force ever have been needed at Hagaru, or would it have been necessary to sacrifice Task Force Faith due to that tank withdrawal from Hudong-ni.

The larger remaining issue

The major-point here is not that a withdrawal order was ever issued to the tank unit in the first place. The point is, why did it not coincide with the same timeline withdrawal notice to Task Force Faith on the night of 29 November? Why the time delay? It was no big secret that the Chinese forces--exclusive of those CCF forces at Yudam-ni--always attacked after dark to avoid close-in air strafing and bombardment of their forces. Any withdrawal would have to be during daylight hours for our use of those planes. To prepare for that breakout, those orders would have to have been issued the prior night. These also should have been issued with the tank withdrawal order. Task Force Faith had much-needed M19 40mm shells erroneously dropped at Hudong-ni. An order to Faith to withdraw first (and only then to the tank company), and then for them both to withdraw to Hagaru should have been the order of the day.

The 29th and the 30th slid into history without Task Force Faith being issued those orders. Why? While Appleman disputes that there was ever a withdrawal order issued by General Smith to Colonel Faith until Faith and his forces were well on the road back towards Hagaru-ri, the Army history within Ebb & Flow records as follows:

"Smith sent withdrawal instructions to Task Force Faith at 1100 on the 1st. By that time Smith had dropped all plans for sending a rescue force to Faith, whose forces had taken strong assaults around their lakeshore perimeter during the night of 30th. Although they had defeated these attacks, it was doubtful they could withstand more. Hence, Smith judged, waiting to dispatch reinforcements to Faith until the Yudam-ni troops returned to Hagaru-ri would be too late." (Mossman, p. 132)

Any intelligent rationalism should conclude that a withdrawal of any friendly force four miles above one's own defensive area would remove that much flank protection above--provided, of course, that one had any plans whatsoever at that time to retrieve that road after reclaiming those four miles surrendered to the enemy. That reason is out of sync with military logic because it would leave the forward unit stranded and deserted, as well as giving the enemy a free staging area a full eight miles between that unit while simultaneously blocking Faith's withdrawal path. This became a reality and tragic end result for Task Force Faith. However, that task force continued to "contribute" to the security of Hagaru-ri, in spite of Smith's (PUC) claim to the contrary. The companion question arises, "Why did Smith not issue an early withdrawal to Fox Company of the 7th Marines in the rear of Yudam-ni defense? Instead, he ordered his forward greater units of three regiments (5th, 11th, and 7th) to fall back and collect Fox Seven on the withdrawal.

One of many unreliable factors within this drama is the lack of records by the Marine G-3.  Entirely too many are connected to "Smith's Chronicles" & "Notes." Maybe that explains why he is separated from the Marines so many times within this drama to his own personal exclusive connection. (Always Smith did this or Smith failed to do that.) While it is understood that orders can be verbally given, their execution can relate to a timeline of events and movements. The 1st Marine tank commander may not have known exactly who issued that tank withdrawal order, but he knew full well when those tanks arrived at Hagaru-ri and were attached to his personal command. Per Army archives, Captain Drake's report stated: "Company arrived Hagaru-ri 301750, was attached to the 1st Marine Division, and immediately placed in the perimeter defense of Hagaru area...." [10] It was still not too late to inform Faith to "prepare to break out" ASAP.  Such a message could have been air dropped with a parachute flare into our area of entrapment, since the reports were that all radio communications to Faith were out--a claim I totally dispute. [11] Better late than never. So why still delay that vital order some additional 17 hours after the tank force was reassigned within Hagaru (6 hours of the 30th and 11 hours of the 1st)?  The answer may well be found within Eric Hammel's reference that "O.P. Smith was not a demonstrative leader.... he rarely gave an order, but always pointed in the direction he thought things ought to be heading." [12]

That quote may have additional credence within Mossman's accounting in the Army history, Ebb & Flow.  It stated, "On 1 December,... General Smith now commanding all forces in the reservoir area, had given the two regiments at Yudam-ni their withdrawal order the previous evening following his afternoon conference with Almond."  [RED FLAG] Smith placed neither Colonel Litzenberg nor Colonel Murray in charge, but merely directed both to "expedite.... movement RCT-5 and RCT-7 to Hagaru prepared for further withdrawal south. Destroy any supplies which must be abandoned during this withdrawal." [13]

Female correspondent Marguerite Higgins stated as well, "The 7th and 5th Regiments were now operating for the first time under joint orders and without benefit of division guidance." [14] Adding to all this command confusion, the Marine assistant division commander was not in Korea at that time. Still, one vital fact remains.  Those Marine forces had received orders twice before 1 December to withdraw from Yudam-ni back to Hagaru-ri. They needed one extra day added to each individual order (28th and 29th) to realign their forces for either withdrawal, and they were engaged within that final withdrawal at 010800 December. (Three additional days to close at Hagaru-ri, on 4 November.) Also, an air drop of supplies and close air to ground support was already in operation on the west side of the Changjin (Chosin) Reservoir. Point of importance: Faith still had three hours to wait for his official withdrawal authorization, plus another two hours for a total of five hours for any air to ground support. Of more importance is the fact that there were no air drops or other supplies dropped prior to our moving out.

Again, why would Faith be overlooked this same date and hour?

What seems so contradictory in all of this is the praise attributed to General Smith by others. In Appleman's East Of Chosin, he rated him highly, saying, "...Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Smith was a model of coolness, caution, and tactical and planning abilities." [15] And as I have stated, General Ridgway--in spite of his own later problems with delays by Smith--seemed impressed by him. Why those discrepancies exist mystifies me. Appleman seems to me to fault Smith's judgment at times (see quotes within this chapter).  Ridgway praised him in spite of the thing he himself detested--failure to move "together, together." Yet all those things were after thoughts of reports by others. Maybe I'm missing something here.  I have previously stated, "A general's persona is complex." It seems that everyone but General Almond admired General Smith, yet all others were outside of the arena where the critical action and the main performance was being played out in a real life drama. And only within that real arena can it be fairly and accurately judged for history.

Afternoon conference at Hagaru-ri

On this same fateful afternoon at Hagaru (30 November), generally speaking the "stars" were out in force. Per Marine history: "On the afternoon of the 30th a command conference was held at Hagaru in the Division CP. Generals Almond, Smith, Barr and Hodes were informed at the briefing session that a disaster threatened the three Army battalions..." [16] RED FLAG - As outlined below, those three Army battalions no longer included the entire 31st RCT, the new, renamed Task Force Faith having been reduced to three Battalion Combat Team (BCT) strength only. What is so significant about this? The Hudong-ni force four miles to the rear was already in the process of returning to Hagaru under prior withdrawal orders while this meeting was being conducted. [17] "Blowing the ammo and ration dump"--and no one from the Marine command informed General Almond of that fact. Nor is it recorded that General Almond was informed that Hagaru had just been reinforced by those remnants of Task Force Drysdale, an increase of tanks by 17 heavy Pershing tanks from Drysdale's force, added to those assigned to the 5th & 7th Marine Regiments, tank platoons of at least four tanks each (17 + 8 = 25 + Drake's 16 = 41 tanks at Hagaru-ri). The timeline for that meeting started at 1410hrs (2:10 p.m.).  It ended after 1 hour and 20 minutes, or 1530 hours. [RED FLAG] Two hours later at 1730 hrs, all Hudong-ni 31st Army units had closed on Hagaru. There were then some forty-plus tanks at Hagaru. However, none of these were ever ordered back to assist a breakout by Task Force Faith the next afternoon, thereby severing that rear guard connection to Task Force Faith and making this following statement totally irrelevant.

"Almond directed Smith and Barr to draw up a plan and time schedule for extricating the Army battalions east of the Reservoir. These two generals agreed, however, "that not much could be done until the Yudam-ni Marines arrived at Hagaru," and the conference ended on an inconclusive note."

This last part adds a continuous connection within this meeting, but in reality the decision between the two generals occurred after Almond had left the meeting. [18]"Almond directing General Barr and Smith to draw up a plan for extricating the cutoff units...have the plan ready for him by six o'clock (1800hrs) that evening.." Considering that Almond left at 1530 hours, also that the cut-off units included the tank command, however, two hours later at 1730hrs, the rear CP and Tanks from Hudong-ni were secure at Hagaru, and Faith was totally cut-off. (RED FLAG] Thirty minutes (1800) later was the deadline for the plan to be submitted to Almond for the total withdrawal. As this day ended, so did any decision about assisting Task Force Faith. Conclusion: "Not much could be done."  Translation: Nothing was done.

Solution: So what could have been done that wasn't? (1) Assure that the Marine air controller located at Hagaru insure the next day's (1 December) scheduled priority air drop of ammunition be delivered prior to the breakout of Task Force Faith instead of being re-routed to the Marines west of Chosin. Task Force Faith was out of 40mm and extremely low on .50 caliber ammo for the quad 50's, both essential self-propelled weapons. These were reduced to using two barrels (instead of four) on the night of 30 November. All men were scrounging for all types of much-needed ammo. After all else, it was reported MG Smith assured MG Barr that LTC Faith would have "air priority," but this is a claim that cannot be fully authenticated.

(2) A second alternative: Hagaru forces merely use our tanks and turn their guns, which were under full Marine operational control, towards Hill 1221.  That hill was within extreme range of those 76mm tank guns or our two 31st tanks that had 105mm mounted cannons. The latter two 105mm weapons were definitely within range. An artillery air observer plane was overhead for observation and should have been used for coordination and accuracy of rounds.

(3) Consider, too, the Marines were using their six tubes of 105mm howitzers from H/11 at Hagaru for fire missions at extreme range to cover 7th Regiment Fox Company at Toktong Pass, providing shells to defend them during nighttime hours. That extreme range was seven miles.  The distance to Hill 1221 was only four miles--well within a ‘comfortable range' of all those 105mm weapons. The average destruction of artillery by a long range weapon was listed as 60 percent of all enemy casualties in all wars.  It was criminal negligence on MG Smith's command not to use them as support of Task Force Faith on his withdrawal to Hagaru. [19] Using only two of the six tubes from Hagaru would not have deprived "F" company (reorientation) of coverage they could and should have gotten from their other 11th Artillery Regiment batteries at Yudam-ni.  There were 48 total pieces there, minus those six-105mm tubes at Hagaru.  Some units were self-propelled 155mm.  We know there were eight tractor-pulled 155mm with a 10 mile range abandoned at Toktong Pass. MG Smith should have required H/11, FDC to connect to the frequency of that forward artillery liaison plane over Task Force Faith and that ground observer at Hagaru, gaining contact with Faith at 1500 hours afternoon of 1 December--that one operator received the message to withdraw.

Click on the link below to view the breakout route of Task Force Faith 1 December 1950. Again, note the location of Hudong-ni, as well as the fact that the final break up of our task force was also at Hudong-ni:

It meets and beats all requirement that NO force of any kind was required to leave Hagaru except howitzer shells. It meets and beats criticism that no forces were available for any attack from Hagaru to assist us--this without depriving Fox Company of four howitzers standing by to cover them. Those two howitzers added to the two tank units would have equalized four tubes each for Fox Company awaiting link-up from 1/7 Marines already outside their perimeter. Fire missions were suspended that night anyway, for fear of dropping shells on Lt. Colonel Davis' nighttime rescue operation. Here was a partial solution to Almond's orders: merely reorient those two weapons during daylight hours--a plan which could have been in operation within 24 full hours of planning, well before needed.  No one suggested this plan of assistance.  Rather, they simply write it off as waiting for the Marines to return from Yudam-ni. [20] Any assistance would have saved our own ammo. Ironically, those eight 155mm howitzers with their prime movers later at Toktong Pass, ran out of diesel fuel, and were abandoned on the withdrawal from that point 4 December, and later destroyed via air strikes.

Indeed, those units--and in fact the worth of the Marine 11th Regiment artillery--was called into question by the Marine priority system used west of the reservoir by some Marines themselves. The 3/5 battalion commander took issue over the neglect of the 11th Regiment artillery to cover and supply cover support to his 3/5 battalion. "Every time he called for artillery the priority was elsewhere." [21] This indicated that artillery was oriented someplace else.  If one eliminates support for F/7 and 3/5, it just adds more confusion over that so-called Joint Command at Yudam-ni. Lt. Col. Carl Youngdale, equal in rank to Murray, indicated that the 7th Marines had "priority status". Very little notoriety is given to the 11th Marine Regiment. There was a failure to acknowledge that there were three regiments instead of only the two infantry ones.

Furthermore, it is not pointed out that three regimental commanders were maneuvering for leadership and no one commander had exclusive authority over the other one. That asinine "senior officer" status in Marineland was not an issue in the Army ranks.  The man assigned command was in command ‘period.' Colonel MacLean commanded the entire 31st RCT with attached units of the 32nd. Yet MG Smith failed to act in this case to appoint either one of those three commanders as top dog in command at Yudam-ni. To hell with the concept of "senior status." It didn't work for Drysdale's command authority, and Colonel Litzenberg had scrapped that concept with his acceptance of that "joint command."  He was the senior officer--the only full colonel on the scene.

The only artillery unit out of the brawl was How Battery at Hagaru, directly supporting Fox Company. Since all artillery 11th Marine units were in position to cover Fox Company as well from Yudam-ni, why weren't those guns used? This question would be entirely none of my business if the Marines on the west side had not been so critical of our operations on the east side.

Mission change for Lieutenant Colonel Faith--Order to Withdraw

The strange part of this entire campaign was the attempt to praise ALL officers with credit over disobedience of their orders. This was not only an excepted practice, most officers were involved and all others were invited to join the club. Ironically, this extended to Task Force Faith--the insistence that he left his assigned area without proper authorization. The strange part is that the charges were by some of those very Army officers within his own command.


A) Ebb & Flow, page 132: Smith sent withdrawal instructions to Task Force Faith at 1100 on the 1st. By that time Smith had dropped all plans for sending a rescue force to Faith, whose forces had taken strong assaults around their lakeshore perimeter during the night of the 30th. Although they had defeated these attacks, it was doubtful they could withstand more.

The Navy history verifies this as well, as "On the morning of 1 December, therefore, the Army troops were ordered to break out to the southward at the earliest possible time, and were advised that while no troop assistance could be given, owing to the situation at Hagaru, maximum air support would be provided." (Chapter 9, Part 2)

B) Fact in contradiction: Appleman's book, East of Chosin (p.196) and Escaping the Trap, (p.134) via those officers named as present on morning at 011100, December 1950. Lt. Col. Faith stated that he was ordering the withdrawal on his own intuitive. The source for the confusion of Lt. Col. Faith over his order to withdraw on his own is based in Marine history via a footnote on page 243 of Volume III, The Chosin Reservoir Campaign. [RED FLAG] Based on the research by K. Jack Baur, PhD, the footnote 20 reads as follows: "The sources for the operations of Task Force Faith, unless otherwise noted, are: Statement by Capt. Edward P. Stamford , n. d, 2-15; Statement of Dr. Lee Tong Kak, n.d;" (Captain Stamford reported at that meeting 12/1/50 Faith's decision to break out.)

C) Fact in contradiction - Rebuttal: No order reached Faith until 011500 December when the force was in the clear on the way back to Hudong-ni. All communications, other than through Captain Stamford who was the Marine TACP controller, were out to any and all sources between Faith and Hagaru. However, there were communications to Faith through that TACP link shortly before Faith announced his decision. This dispute proves one vital fact: There were relay communication links to Faith.

D) Fact in contradiction to rebuttal - 14 Apr 1953 Eleventh endorsement on MajGen O.P. Smith's letter, serial number 9532 of 3 Mar 1952 Section 6: "b. On 30 November Task Force Faith was advised by the 1st Marine Division that it was now attached to the 1st Marine Division, that it should make every effort to improve its situation by working toward Hagaru-ri,.... Shortly after acknowledgment of this order radio communication went out."

We have many more conflict of statements.  Remaining with this issue, there was a related withdrawal order to Faith--although disputed by some Army officers within Faith's own command--that our withdrawal order was on Faith's own initiative. My opinion is that he would never do that, but he would have been justified if he had done it. While Marine History does not record any communication to Faith from the 1st Marine Division, there is one recorded that happened in the afternoon on 011500 December while "in the clear." But memory of past events fade with time. As exaggerated in the old joke about how far one's parents had to walk to school in the snow, the mileage and depth increases as the years pass from that timeline. Likewise, to forget details under pressure in any event is easy without some direct fixation connecting that event.  Non-events are discounted. Faith is not here to tell his side of the story, so all he may have said is hearsay. To state that this was his direct decision would not have been necessary, especially in light of those same officers around him urging him to do it.  It implies wishful influence on one's own suggestion and input. Plugging in the information that MG Smith stated was issued on the 30th, makes "by working toward Hagaru-ri" a standing order.  But we do have three reports of communication links to Faith's command--the one on 30 November, and two other radio links between 010900-011300 December. It is recorded that the one sent on the 30th was "acknowledged" as well.

To state that all communications links were totally cut off is not an accurate statement. The TACP connection was an active two way channel between nine o'clock and shortly before dark when our controller destroyed his radio link to the supporting overhead planes. The 1st Marine Division had an air-to-ground control station dispatcher at Hagaru. That dispatcher could easily monitor the open channel at anytime to communicate or relay with our forward controller. As stated and never denied, the Hagaru dispatcher knew what Marine radio equipment our forward air-to-ground controller had, and therefore knew his frequency as well as his call sign. What was also never denied is the oddity that our TACP controller did not ask for or request that dispatcher's frequency. That was his one single function above all others--his main field of expertise.

There was the prime importance and advantage of having that TACP controller from the Marine Corps rather than one from the 5th Air Force TACP group. One from this latter group was assigned to the 3/31st Infantry, but he had become a KIA casualty earlier.  However, this does not seem to be the link we had to work with on the breakout date. That morning had heavy cloud cover and fog overcast. The air-to-ground connection was not to the 1st Marine Air Wing (MAW), which was already heavily engaged in covering the Marine withdrawal that very same morning starting on the west side of Chosin. Those Marine pilots were not monitoring Stamford's frequency. They were locked in on the activity at Yudam-ni.

The evidence suggests that the Marine dispatcher assigned our air to ground cover to the aircraft carrier group Task Force 77. That Marine dispatcher at Hagaru-ri had to also divert whatever air drops of supplies that were destined for us. Our supplies were diverted hours earlier to the Marine side of the reservoir. Those supplies were dropped early morning with sorties over Yudam-ni commencing at 010800 December. The air-to-ground defense at Yudam-ni also was under way at this time. [22]

E) Fact in contradiction as to Marine air priority:  As outlined in Appleman's Escaping the Trap [23], General Smith had promised General Barr that full air support would be provided. Because the danger to the 3/5 Marine Battalion was so great to protect the realignment of forces, it required air support early morning of 1 December at Yudam-ni. That same morning, eight Corsairs supported "F" Company to Rocky Ridge, while C-119 Flying Boxcars dropped supplies in that Fox Company area. Task Force Faith received NO air drops. My point in stating this is that Marine Fox Company remained stationary while Faith was on his move to a breakout. Also at 020200 December, the Marine forward air controller requested two night fighters around "F" Company.  Three additional ones were provided, making a total of five. [24] It appears that none of those night fighters had been requested by our TACP controller. A significant point can be found in this latter action with regards to the CCF timeline (020200) within their mopping up mode of operations, thereby completing the Task Force Faith total convoy disaster on the east side of the reservoir.

Our air connection was switched to the aircraft carrier group from the Sea of Japan, whereas the air-to-ground support for the Marines originated from Yonpo air strip and the Badoeng Strait. It is a logical concept that a shift of our air-to-ground units to the Navy also shifted the burden of control to the Naval TACP dispatcher aboard ships. However, those flights were "weathered out" and the Marine Air Wing was required to supply that action anyway, after the loss of five hours and any needed air supplies packaged for Faith and his forces. Those ammo supplies directed towards Faith were consequently diverted during the time delay from Task Force Faith to the Marine side of the reservoir.

But this point, recorded by Appleman, cannot be overlooked.  Air-to-ground support for the west side of the reservoir at Yudam-ni had already commenced and been in continuous operation since eight o'clock for all Marine forces on their side of the reservoir. Why and where was that so-called "priority" air-to-ground support that is recorded to have been provided for us?  Between eight and one o'clock, a full five hours of vital daylight time was lost, and during that timeline there was no air drop of precious supplies and ammo because they were being dropped elsewhere across the reservoir. Who diverted those exclusive flights to that side of the reservoir? As reported, our controller had contact with an overhead naval carrier air pilot at nine o'clock. His channel was open and could well be monitored by any one of those planes from MAW. But as recorded, they apparently were not on line to Captain Stamford's frequency, our coverage being transferred to the Navy carrier squadrons.

There is a connecting link.  Appleman reports in East of Chosin and Escaping the Trap that on 1 December, a lone plane from the USS Leyte made contact with Captain Stamford and said that he would return with a flight of planes to cover ground defensive cover if the weather cleared. [25] This Task Force 77 was restricted at the time by Fifth Air Force to reconnaissance and interdiction missions only. The problem within this version is verified via Navy recorded history as follows:

Mission Change - Land to Sea

History of United States Naval Operations: Korea by James A. Field, Jr.

Chapter 9: Retreat to the South

[Part 1:] On 1 December the weather over eastern Korea was very bad. Morning flights from the carriers met a solid overcast over the plateau and were diverted to the EUSAK area, where three missions totaling 23 aircraft found satisfactory control, successfully attacked large concentrations of enemy troops and abandoned friendly equipment, and blew an ammunition dump at Sinanju. But the weather which had altered their employment also prevented their return to base, for the task force had been obliged to cease flight operations late in the morning. Unable to get home, the aircraft landed at Wonsan, were kicked out again owing to rumors of a deteriorating ground situation in the neighborhood, and finally spent the night at Kimpo.

[Part 2:] "On the 30th, following General Harris' first request for carrier air, Task Force 77 had sent 39 sorties to the reservoir, of which 14 struck at Chinese troops surrounding the isolated Army units while 25 attacked the enemy in the hills about Hagaru. By bad luck, however, [RED FLAG] the next day brought bad weather both at the reservoir and in the Sea of Japan. Although aircraft from Badoeng Strait and Marine shore-based squadrons got through to napalm the Chinese enemy, the early flights from Task Force 77 were weathered out of the reservoir, and in late morning the force was obliged to cancel operations. At midday, the Army troops began their southward movement with 20 fighters overhead, but in the course of the afternoon a combination of heavy attacks and enemy roadblocks fragmented the column, most officers and key NCOs became casualties, and as darkness fell the force dissolved. It had almost made it in: the disintegration took place only four and a half miles from Hagaru; but although a number of stragglers were brought in across the frozen reservoir, total casualties reached almost 75 percent."

Note the phrase, "Marine shore-based squadrons got through to napalm the Chinese enemy."  No soldier of Task Force Faith needs any renewed remainder of our own fateful napalm event. One part of a friendly mission misdirected.  It was an honest error, but nevertheless the napalm was dropped short on the leading force of our task force.  It is a friendly fire mistake that is burned into the memory of each surviving task force member for the rest of our lives. However, that error was not by the Navy fighters. Its timeline placed the Marine air cover at 011300 hours. Again, a central mystery.  Why did we have to wait for MAW cover?

As mentioned above, the fear of the weather staying overcast denied us the benefit of any air drops of much-needed food, medical, and ammo supplies--not only for what we expended during the night just ending, but for the road trip which remained directly ahead. That air-to-ground cover eventually had to be supplied anyway from the MAW. But those ammo supply planes had already dropped their supplies and left the area. That ammo was our life saving ingredient to fight our way back to Hagaru-ri. Without it, any breakout plan--whether there was one or not--would justly be criticized for what it really was--an effort in futility. It was a disaster waiting to happen from Day One. Planning on day eight--our fourth day of entrapment--could not possibly correct all of the roadblocks and obstacles put in place by Marine friendly forces eight miles behind us. In reality, due to that Marine delay in air cover, we traded daylight for moonlight.  That was not a fair or beneficial exchange for Task Force Faith. The moonlight only highlighted our positions.  We were silhouettes in the moonlight, walking in the snowy white backdrop of the Chosin Reservoir.

Statement: "Close support requests beyond the capabilities of the 1st Marine Air Wing were to be reported to the Fifth Air Force." [26] On 28 November, the forces available to General Harris consisted of MAG 12 with two fighter and one night fighter squadrons at Wonsan, MAG 33 with one fighter and one night fighter squadron at Yonpo, and a fighter squadron in Badoeng Strait. [27] FAFIK on 1 December cut existing red tape, gave General Harris autonomy in the conduct of air operations in support of X Corps, and instructed him to proceed without reference to Fifth Air Force except when reinforcements were needed. The first days of December saw a steady shift of the fast carrier effort toward complete concentration in the X Corps zone. (That exception rule was not followed.  Instead, it was passed on directly to the Navy, thus bypassing that Fifth Air Force notification order.)

Fact in contradiction: 1st MAW failed to inform Fifth Air Force it needed help, as required.  Up on the plateau, following the attacks of the 27th and 28th, comparative quiet reigned.  But the enemy controlled the roads.  Marine and Army units had been separated into a series of isolated perimeters. In this situation, Marine air commander General Harris had strongly recommended to ComNavFE a sustained effort by the fast carriers in the X Corps zone, and had stated that Fifth Air Force concurred in this proposal. But an evening dispatch from FAFIK on the 29th indicated that such concurrence applied only to that day's operations.  In view of the "critical condition" in the EUSAK area, it asked for a divided effort for the next few days. [28]

United States Air Force - A slight mission change

"During the time that the 7th Marines was heavily engaged in combat with the CCF 124th Division, a controversy between General Almond and General Partridge over the control of the 1st Marine Air Wing came to a head. Under existing procedure, the Fifth Air Force Joint Operations Center at Seoul controlled the assignment of missions to the 1st Marine Air Wing. General Almond felt that during a period of active ground combat when the local ground tactical situation could change drastically within an hour or two, he, the local commander, should have complete command over the air units supporting the ground troops. On 4 November, General Partridge flew to Wonsan to hold a conference with General Almond on the subject. General Almond won his point.  The Fifth Air Force ordered the 1st Marine Air Wing to assume direct responsibility for close support of X Corps without reference to the Joint Operations Center. Close support requests beyond the capabilities of the 1st Marine Air Wing were to be reported to the Fifth Air Force." [29] Without reference to the Joint Operations Center would place any close support under the Marine air operations center at Hagaru.  By not intervening in the Marine monopoly here, Almond had placed more faith in the Marine Corps (to equate air support) than General Smith ever had in him. That was a huge mistake on Almond's part, and his Army forces paid with their blood in that time lost.

While highest praise was given to the 1st MAW, the confusion caused by MG Harris' involvement doomed the MAW's independent actions. On 1 January 1951, the Fifth Air Force reclaimed their original operational control over the 1st MAW. Whether the Marine Corps liked it or not (and understandably, they did not), their air-to-ground control was returned to the authorization of the Fifth Air Force. The Department of the Air Force's "priority" authority was abused and misused, therefore it was recalled. General Smith tried in vain to recover at least one squadron in South Korea. When he appealed to General Ridgway, he learned Lesson 101 in the military chain of command. General Ridgway merely replied, "Sorry...I don't command Fifth Air Force." Case closed. Like Smith, he never commanded the MAW.

What was Smith's "new" plan for compliance with Almond's order to assist Task Force Faith on his withdrawal? Was it (as all evidence suggests) redundantly delayed or simply ignored? That question remains without a firm answer. Yudam-ni Marines did not return to Hagaru until 3-4 December. The General Barr reference, "both general's agree..," has no place in this.  Barr was either in a Joint Command with Smith, or he was merely an observer at Almond's conference involving his own concern, over his remaining authority?

If General Barr was in Joint Command, then he could have delegated his authority to his ADC Hodes and nothing would had changed, except it would have countermanded Almond's total operational control to Smith. MG Barr merely recalled BG Hodes from Chosin to avoid any conflict of interest between Hodes and Smith. So we have another Catch 22 (irrational decision) here. If MG Barr is blamed for the withdrawal of the tank command, he had to share joint command with MG Smith to do that.  Each man was equal in rank because of different chain of commands.  Again, this is a moot point. No indication was given to Barr regarding that "Joint Command" authority.  Without it, Smith did not need Barr's agreement--or disagreement--one way or the other.

One of the strange and unsolved mysteries in all of this is whether or not General Smith accepted General Almond's directive that he was in full charge of all forces in the frozen Chosin area. The reality seems to be that he did not accept full command of all three battalions east of the reservoir, since there are no clear (only controversial) records to support that he issued any orders directly concerning our force there. [30] Nor have any reports connected directly to the Army units benefiting or "contributing" to his own Marine divisions security directly or indirectly--totally disregarding the use of our tank connection. Indeed, much to the contrary, MG Smith disputed this over the PUC Award for the remainder of his life. [31]

While reports seem to be manipulated to imply that Smith issued a "withdrawal order" to Task Force Faith, and granted a "priority order" to use "his own" air cover, these two things are lacking in any detail within Marine Corps recorded history. But that acceptance or non-acceptance of a Marine commitment for this Marine commander to command an Army force directly overlapped and bound the Department of the Navy--the Mama & Papa of the Marine Corps--in my opinion just as surely as if those Army forces were aboard any Navy ship at sea. However, the controversy over MG Smith's apparent withdrawal order to Faith is of importance here to lock in that question, added to his constant interference between the Department of the Navy and the Navy's own acquiescence to Smith's position after his death (1977). Merely to now continuously maintain their own 22-year denial of the PUC award is a relevant issue.

Below are the numbers (per day) recorded in history over the "commitment" Task Force Faith made to the Changjin (Chosin) Campaign. It is for each reader to judge for him or herself whether that commitment we made on the east side of the reservoir was or is worth any honorable mention of any kind to Task Force MacLean-Faith or those men being eligible to qualify for any type of an award. As the Marine public relations officer stated with regards to Lt. Colonel Don Faith receiving the Medal of Honor, Faith received it for simply "doing his duty, and not very well at that." [32] Thus, you the reader of this research may calculate the situation from these new facts and decide for yourself whether or not there is justification for these men to receive recognition for their role in the Chosin Reservoir campaign.  I hold fast to the personal knowledge that we did the best we could with what we had to work with.

In closing this research, let me restate one thing that I have repeated several times within these pages. The group listed in the Days One through Nine made no claim to any fame at Chosin.  Nor did we receive any for being there. That may be unjust, but that is nevertheless the reality. But that reality stretched farther than it should have. For example, why the innuendos and degradation over our task force integrity? Where did it originate from and why is it included within such a tragic and fateful event of defeat?

It certainly did not come from the CCF enemy, for they honor our captured regimental standard in their capital museum as a military trophy.  If not from the enemy and not from the Army survivors of the Chosin campaign, the answer must originate from the Marines.  Then one must consider what was their purpose in shifting blame to someone else.  I view it as their own guilt trip, not ours. We Army veterans do not need to justify the demise of our truck convoy of wounded due to our tank removal ‘contribution" to the Marine withdrawal. Instead, the Marine Corps should step forward and justify why those tanks were truly needed at Hagaru-ri and admit who truly bears the larger part of the responsibility, particularly considering the circumstances created by General Smith in his own failure to locate his replaced 5th Marine Regiment at Hagaru-ri instead of at Yudam-ni. Why did he fail to relocate this loose regiment at his weakest point at Chosin?

Also, I pose two other speculative questions to consider, given the years of established publicity on the Marine Division being the sole force at Chosin.  Consider these scenarios. (1) What if the 7th Division had delayed their relocation by 24 hours? (2) What if the 5th Marines had not been replaced by that delay? The Marine code is that they take care of their own.  What a difference a day would make in additional air support to them on the east side of the reservoir.

For another reference to a "Phantom Force," see:  There is a list of 844 Army KIAs casualties by date. The list is from the American National Battle Monument Commission.  (The Marine total is 556 KIAs, per Navy History.) See the internet source below:

Navy History (Review Chapters 8 & 9.)

Casualties due to the tank withdrawal:

Day Seven - 11/30/50 - 82
Day Eight - 12/1/50 - 114
Day Nine - 12/2/50 - 333.  This was the final night of the Task Force battle, resulting in the destruction of the column of wounded and final demise of the task force.

Unaccounted for and officially added for closure:

Day Ten - 12/3/50 - 58
Day Eleven - 12/4/50 - 9
Day Twelve - 12/5/50 - 4
Day Thirteen - 12/6/50 - 119*

Total = 844 KIAs (See KIA East of Chosin page located on the index of links in this research paper.)

*Of special note above regarding those KIAs or MIAs on December 3-6, 1950: Of these 119 men, 111 of them were exclusively from the 57th Field Artillery Battalion. The dates were chosen only for some closure.  It can be justifiably assumed that those men were casualties at that final roadblock at Hudong-ni on December 1 and 2. The 57th Field Artillery (my outfit) was officially disbanded, pending a reorganization, after that date. Of this group, 98% percent were from Task Force MacLean-Faith's forces.  The rest were located around Hagaru-ri.

The force east of Chosin paid a tremendous price in lives lost for being there. Therefore, we will not yield that page in military history to anyone who wishes to capitalize upon our action or continuously seek to claim it as their own. I believe in a quote attributed to Five Star Admiral William "Bull" Halsey which said, "There are no extraordinary men...just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with."  Lieutenant Colonel Faith was forced to deal with his own extraordinary circumstances east of Chosin, and he played out the hand that fate had dealt to him as best he could.  In the end, he gave his own life in that endeavor. What more could the Marine public relations officer who degraded Faith's Medal of Honor expect of him?

Remember also that the lowest ranking line soldier or Marine had no idea whatsoever what his immediate higher command authority was doing behind the front lines. Hopefully, this research may shed some light on the action behind that higher echelon activity and that it may bring some small sense of closure over this forgotten Army battle east of Chosin, especially to those related to thee men who lost their lives there. That tragic event cannot be undone.  The dead cannot be restored--only their remains can be reclaimed. History must be revisited with this in mind and a fresh look at past written history to finally unravel those mysteries that remain. Remember, too, I did not create all the reported discrepancies in past histories. I have merely highlighted them in my research.

To all those men assembled at Chosin, regardless of their service branch, I salute you for your personal service, sacrifice, and hardship in that Frozen Chosin campaign.

Units listed in the Army 9th Endorsement (See Changjin Journal 05.06.00):

  • 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry (Chinhung-ni with Task Force Dog which relieved the 1/1 Marines at that location) - did not receive PUC
  • Company D, 10th Engineer Combat Battalion (Hagaru-ri) - received PUC 1953
  • Companies B and C, 13th Engineer Combat Battalion - Company C attached to RCT 31 received PUC 1999; Company B did not receive PUC
  • Battery D, 15th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion (East of Chosin with 57th FA Bn part of RCT 31) - received PUC 1999
  • 31st Infantry Regiment (less Company E and 1st Battalion, except Company B.  This was the base unit of RCT 31 east of Chosin and Koto-ri - All units ( except 1/31 less B, and E2/31) received PUC either in 1993 or 1999
  • 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry (east of Chosin with RCT 31) - received PUC 1999
  • Battery A, 50th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion (Chinhung-ni attached to 1/1 Marines) - did not receive PUC
  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 52d Transportation Truck Battalion (Chinhung-ni Task Force Dog) - did not receive PUC
  • 57th Field Artillery Battalion (east of Chosin with RCT 31) - received PUC 1999
  • 58th Engineer Treadway Bridge Company (element at Koto-ri carried air dropped bridge components to blown bridge site in Funchilin Pass) - did not receive PUC
  • Company A, 73d Engineer Combat Battalion (Chinghung-ni with Task Force Dog) - did not receive PUC
  • 92d Armored Field Artillery Battalion (Chinhung-ni with Task Force Dog; fired in support of 1/1 Marines) - did not receive PUC
  • 185th Engineer Combat Battalion (less Company A - Koto-ri) - received PUC 1953
  • 2d Platoon, 512th Engineer Dump Truck Company (Koto-ri) - did not receive PUC


[1] Appleman, East of Chosin & Escaping the Trap, stated this order was not effect until 0800, next morning.

[2] See Hammel, Chosin pages, 211-212.  Here there is a report that this mission for Mupyong-ni was reinstated by (suggestion) of X Corps to the 1st Marine Division.

[3] Appleman, East of Chosin, p. 322.

[4] See Ebb & Flow, page 29, Chart 2 - Organization of UNC Ground Forces in Korea 23 November 1950, ( )

[5] X Corps 01 19, 29 Nov 50, page 238, Marine G-3

[6] Captain George A. Rasula, Assistant S-3, 3/31st Battalion, source, enclosure, National Archives interview.

[7] General Omar Bradley, A Soldier's Story, page 138

[8] Per Marine history, on the evening of the 30th at Hagaru-ri, "The enemy had shot his bolt." There were no more threatening attacks against Hagari-ri after this night.

[9] History of United States Naval Operations: Korea by James A. Field, Jr., Chapter 9, Part 2

[10] Captain Robert Drake, Enclosure 8, National Archives

[11] An artillery battalion was rich in communications equipment and expertise, in both radio & wire maintenance.

[12] Chosin, Eric Hammel, page 143

[13] Note 8, page 131, Msg, CG 1st Marine Div to COs 5th and 7th Marines, 1920, 30 Nov 50

[14] War in Korea, 1951, p.188

[15] East of Chosin, page 340

[16] Marine History, page 238

[17] Nov 30 - "During the afternoon we started our withdrawal, blowing the ammunition dump and burning the ration dump." Archives, Capt. Rasula

[18] See Roe, The Dragon Strikes, p.358

[19] The report that the withdrawal order from Smith was received 011500 Dec. via a forward observer's jeep indicates that the means was there to call in accurate fire mission from that observer.  Artillery liaison planes were flying over head as well. Col. Anderson, archive report

[20] Other authors' interpret Almond's order to "gain contact" with Task Force Faith by one regiment withdrawing from Yudam-ni for that purpose. However, Smith's order in that withdrawal from Yudam-ni was for those two regiments to "Expedite... movement RCT-5 and RCT-7 to Hagaru prepared for further withdrawal south." (See footnote 12.) But our task force was northeast.  Thus, Smith had no intention of sending any force eastward at the time he issued this order.

[21] Russ, Breakout, p.306. LTC Taplett, commander of 3rd Battalion 5th Marines.

[22] This is covered in detail in Appleman's book, Escaping the Trap.

[23] Appleman, Escaping the Trap, pages 217, 223, and 232.  First, we needed that ammo. Our breakout was delayed from 1100 to 1300 hours for air to ground support on our side of the reservoir. Action on the west side was already under way. This disputes the "priority status" promised by General Smith for Task Force Faith.

[24] See Appleman, Escaping the Trap, p.223

[25] USS Leyte (CV 32) facts, history, Leyte.  After two weeks of preparation, departed 6 September 1950 to join TF 77 in the Far East to support United Nations Forces in Korea. Leyte arrived Sasebo, Japan, 8 October 1950 and made final preparations for combat operations. From 9 October through 19 January 1951, the ship and her aircraft spent 92 days at sea and flew 3,933 sorties against the North Korean aggressors.

[26] Appleman: South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu, page 744, June-November 1950

[27] US Navy History, Chapter 9, Part 2

[28] Ibid, US Navy History

[29] Appleman, South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu, page 744

[30] He did, however, supersede his authority by "attaching" B/31 to Drysdale's Task Force, a point he denied in the PUC Award by rejecting them, saying that they "attached themselves to this force."

[31] See

[32] Captain Capraro's statement per Martin Russ, Breakout, page 334, on another Marine officer being more worthy of that award.

Author's Background | Prologue | Chapt 1 - Budget War | Chapt 2 - Inchon | Chapt 3 - Capture Seoul
Chapt 4 - Inchon to Pusan | Chapt 5 - Fateful Journey into N Korea | Chapt 6 - Inter-service Rivalry-1
Chapt 7 - Inter-service Rivalry-2 | Chapt 8 - Press Corps | Chapt 9 - Secret/Classified Mission
Chapt 10 - Circumstantial Evidence | Chapt 11 - Mission Change | Chapt 12 - The Tank Withdrawal
MIA/KIA East of Chosin | Postscript | Important Maps | Declassified Documents| Reader Comments

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