More than 150 Marine veterans and their families gathered for the reunion of the “Chosin Few” on August 17, 2016, aboard Camp Pendleton, California. The survivors of the battle of Chosin Reservoir come together biannually to reconnect and remember their fallen brothers in the intense battle.
Machine gun fire and explosions were constant as the Marines were surprise-attacked by about 120,000 Chinese soldiers, but that wasn’t the only danger. The cold, harsh weather constantly beat frostbite and hypothermia into the Marines at the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. The gruesome battle that claimed the lives of about 800 Marines and wounded around 12,000 total U.S. service members took place 66 years ago and is still a centerpiece in Marine history to this day. The brotherhood of what they call the Chosin Few is a strong bond between a band of warfighting brothers who faced bitter hardships.
The Chosin Few Reunion focuses on the sacrifice and bravery of the service members who fought in the battle. The veterans hold a deep pride towards the Korean War Memorial aboard Camp Pendleton, which specifically recognizes the Marines who fought in the battle. The veterans greatly appreciate the recognition for their trials, but it’s the emotions invoked from seeing their brothers who struggled alongside them that makes the reunion truly meaningful.
The Marine Corps itself is a brotherhood. Male or female, everywhere a Marine goes they have family. Throughout the years this remains the strongest of all bonds in the Corps.
“The Marine Corps is always a family,” said Howard Taylor, a Chosin Reservoir veteran. “Brothers. Brothers in arms. No matter where you go if you see a fellow with a Marine emblem or hat on, you go up to them and say, ‘Hello, brother.’”
The event featured speaker Bob Licker, a Chosin Reservoir veteran and member of The Chosin Few Fraternity. Licker spoke in remembrance of their fallen brothers and the honor of fighting our nation’s battles. The reunion is also an opportunity for the veterans to witness how much the Marine Corps has changed and to witness the new brotherhoods formed in the Marine Corps today as junior Marines follow in the footsteps of those who served before them.
“The Marine Corps now looks very efficient to me,” said Bob Ezell, a Chosin Reservoir veteran.
Veterans had a chance to talk to and share stories with the Marines currently stationed aboard Camp Pendleton, while interacting with and observing static displays of organic infantry weapons, Amphibious Assault Vehicles, Light Armored Vehicles, and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles.
The veterans toured Edson Range aboard Camp Pendleton and experienced the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainor, a computer-simulated range using dummy M-16s for practice.
The equipment and technology of today’s Marine Corps may be far different, but the bonds forged while serving alongside other Marines and the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment remain unchanged.
The famous saying, “Once a Marine, always a Marine” stays true to this day and the legacy of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir lives on through the veterans who have been named the “Chosin Few.”