“Chosin Few” Veterans Visit USS CHOSIN
Two Veterans from the Battle of Chosin Reservoir Visit Warship, Share Battle’s Importance with Sailors
Daron Weber, ENS, Public Affairs Officer
PEARL HARBOR – Nearly 50 years have passed since the hard-fought Battle of Chosin Reservoir, a decisive battle in the Korean War. But to two former Marines who survived the bloody conflict, it means remembering the battle and sharing its importance with crew members onboard USS CHOSIN (CG-65).
“It should go down as one of the three major battles ever in the United States Marine Corps.” explained Manert Kennedy, 80, a former Marine Staff Sergeant and survivor of the battle, to a handful of CHOSIN sailors. “It was a significant effort in stopping the domination of communism in the Far East.”
The Battle of Chosin Reservoir was a brutal 17 day battle in freezing conditions located in the northeastern part of Korea. As many as 60,000 Chinese forces surrounded and ambushed 30,000 UN forces. Though nearly doubled in troop size, the UN forces broke free while inflicting crippling losses to the Chinese.
According to Kennedy, then assigned to 2nd Platoon, Dog Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Regimental Combat Team, there were approximately 17,000 survivors of the bloody conflict. Only 1800 are alive today.
Kennedy was accompanied by LtCol Tom Kalus, United States Marine Corps (ret), for the CHOSIN visit on April 30th.
Kalus and Kennedy took part in a small tour – going through the crew’s mess, missile deck, and engineering spaces. What they really enjoyed most was sharing some American War history with the crew.
“All of us Chosin survivors are very proud to have a ship named after our campaign and we love sharing the battle’s impact with Sailors, and reminding ourselves of the battle’s role in American history,” said Kalus.
The Battle of Chosin Reservoir is fixture in the culture of CHOSIN. Pictures, paintings, plaques, medals, and other relics of the battle are sprinkled throughout the ship’s passageways and messes. The ship’s motto is “Invictus”, which is Latin for “unconquered”.
“It’s important we never forget about the battle, and it’s also important that we never forget about human resiliency and the grit and determination of the Navy-Marine Corps team throughout our nation’s history,” said CDR Steve Bienkowski, Executive Officer of CHOSIN. “Having the Chosin survivors visit our ship reminds us of that.”