Another Christmas is coming, and once again I am reminded of my Marine Corps buddy and what he went through in Korea circa 1950-1951. At the time, America and the U.N. embarked on saving South Korea as the North Koreans invaded, bent on making the whole of Korea communist.

My pal and his unit had some success as they advanced north, but things took a turn for the worse when they reached the Chosin Reservoir. Unknown to his commanders, the Chinese army had entered the fray. The Americans were overrun at once.

What happened next was, as the general in charge said, “We are not retreating, we are just charging in another direction.”

To make matters worse, this was the worst winter in Korea’s history.

My buddy got wounded during the retreat but was still able to walk, and walk he did, along with all his buddies on their way to the sea. They left no man behind, and my wounded friend helped other wounded men under very heavy fire from all sides. They finally were rescued by the U.S. Navy.

Once they were evacuated and made it back to safety, my buddy told me, “Jack, I was worried more about dying from the cold than my wounds.” Then he said, “Hey, I’m alive and going home for Christmas. What better present?”

My friend and I were able to continue our education via the G.I. bill. He re-entered the military and retired as a lieutenant colonel — not bad for a kid who had left school to serve his country.

This Christmas, honor all the men and women serving our country. If not for them and those before them, it’s possible we wouldn’t be having one.

Frank Slason


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