LTC Don Carlos Faith Jr recovered from Chosin

| December 16, 2012

The folks who I mentioned last night in regards to the movie about the Chosin Reservoir sent us some information on LTC Don Carlos Faith Jr., Medal of Honor recipient and hero of the Chosin battle whose body was just identified and recovered this last October from the battlefield by the Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) field recovery team. Wiki says;

During a desperate drive south by convoy along the only road on December 1st, the 31st Regimental Commander, Colonel Allan D. MacLean was killed so the command of the entire regiment went to Faith. Later the same day, Faith led an attack again a CCF roadblock when he was wounded by a fragment grenade. Faith was loaded into the cab of a 2 1/2 Ton Truck and with Pfc. Russell L. Barney driving it was the only truck to get through the last roadblock. As Barney was driving they were struck by small arms fire by the CCF at which time Faith was hit again and died. At some point Barney had to abandon the truck leaving Faith’s body in the truck. Barney made it back to the safety of United Nations lines where he later reported his account. Like all the dead and wounded who were killed by the CCF and left with all the abandoned convoy vehicles, as none of the convoy vehicles made it to safety, Faith was listed as Missing in Action.

Later Faith’s classification was changed to Killed in Action Body not Recovered. After 62 years in this classification, Faith’s remains were recovered near the Chosin Reservoir by a Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) field recovery team. His remains were identified through DNA and reported to the public by Defense Prisoner Of War – Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) on October 11, 2012.

From his Medal of Honor citation;

Lt. Col. Faith, commanding 1st Battalion, distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty in the area of the Chosin Reservoir. When the enemy launched a fanatical attack against his battalion, Lt. Col. Faith unhesitatingly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire as he moved about directing the action. When the enemy penetrated the positions, Lt. Col. Faith personally led counterattacks to restore the position. During an attack by his battalion to effect a junction with another U.S. unit, Lt. Col. Faith reconnoitered the route for, and personally directed, the first elements of his command across the ice-covered reservoir and then directed the movement of his vehicles which were loaded with wounded until all of his command had passed through the enemy fire. Having completed this he crossed the reservoir himself. Assuming command of the force his unit had joined he was given the mission of attacking to join friendly elements to the south. Lt. Col. Faith, although physically exhausted in the bitter cold, organized and launched an attack which was soon stopped by enemy fire. He ran forward under enemy small-arms and automatic weapons fire, got his men on their feet and personally led the fire attack as it blasted its way through the enemy ring. As they came to a hairpin curve, enemy fire from a roadblock again pinned the column down. Lt. Col. Faith organized a group of men and directed their attack on the enemy positions on the right flank. He then placed himself at the head of another group of men and in the face of direct enemy fire led an attack on the enemy roadblock, firing his pistol and throwing grenades. When he had reached a position approximately 30 yards from the roadblock he was mortally wounded, but continued to direct the attack until the roadblock was overrun. Throughout the 5 days of action Lt. Col. Faith gave no thought to his safety and did not spare himself. His presence each time in the position of greatest danger was an inspiration to his men. Also, the damage he personally inflicted firing from his position at the head of his men was of material assistance on several occasions.

And now he’s at Arlington.

Don Carlos Faith Jr Arlington

Category: Real Soldiers

Comments (17)

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  1. Hondo says:

    Wonderful news, Jonn.

    Rest in peace, my elder brother-in-arms. Welcome home; I’m sorry it took so long.

  2. Doc Bailey says:

    REALLY??? My great Uncle is somewhere out there East of Chosin. You know how I can contact JPAC?

  3. AW1 Tim says:

    Welcome home, Colonel.

  4. Hondo says:

    Doc Bailey: try this link:

    If he’s a maternal-line great uncle, a DNA sample from you might be of use in ID:

    Hope this helps, and that your great uncle can be IDed and returned home soon.

    PS: sorry for the initial typo in your screen name; it’s fixed now. Mea culpa.

  5. Richard says:

    This is amazing. TF Faith had the roughest time of anyone at Chosin. Most did not even have proper winter clothing and the had the highest concentration of enemy attacking them.

  6. Green Thumb says:

    Welcome home, sir.

  7. Doc Bailey says:

    Sadly Hondo its Paternal line so Mitochondrial DNA is out.

  8. Hondo says:

    Doc Bailey: sorry to hear that. However, if you have contact with any of his maternal-line relatives (or their maternal-line descendants) and they’re willing to give a sample, they could help. And the linkage can split several generations before his parents.

    It’s also possible they already have a mtDNA sample for him. The 2nd link has links to lists of names of MIA for which JPAC still needs mtDNA samples for various conflicts, including Korea. You’d be able to check that by examining the list for his name.

    Again: best wishes concerning the recovery/ID/return of your great uncle.

  9. JohnE says:

    Welcome home Sir, thank you for your service and selfless sacrifice. We are a better country because of men like you.

  10. Beretverde says:

    Thank you for the posting. I attended Faith Jr. High and remember reading his MOH citation and seeing his picture in the hallway.

  11. LCDR M(Ret) says:

    Rest in peace, sir. Welcome home.

  12. Charles Stone says:

    While I was at a lecture on North Vietnam in Calisle, PA, on February 7, 2013, I heard that LTC Faith’s remains were found. In 1978 and 1979, I did a lot of research on the Chosin Reservoir Campaign. The Chinese thought they were fighting the Marines, not Faith and MacLean. The 5th Marine Regiment was pulled out of the east side of the reservoir and sent to the west to join up with the 7th Matines. General Smith, the 1st Marine Division Commanding General met with MacLean and Faith and wanted them to stay at Hagaru-ri. But they followed orders and went north. They did have support from the First Marine Air Wing. Faith and his people, including many Korean Augmentees to the U.S. Army created a lot of trouble for the Chinese in the Chinese quest to get at the Marine Headquarters at Hagaru-ri. The Chinese had to be kept away from Hagaru-ri before the 5th and 7th Marines could get back there and plan to go south back to the sea. It is not well known, but from what I have read about General Smith, he knew that if MacLean and Faith had not fought as well as they could, the Marine HQ would have been in BIG trouble.
    To get some idea of how bad things were up there, just remember that it took the efforts of two of the best ever U.S. Marine Regiments and the 1st Marine Air Wing to get the 5th and 7th back to Hagaru-ri from Yudam-ni.
    General Smith never let the Marines spend the night anywhere at less than Regimental strength. That is why they moved so slowly. What ever was out there was going to take combat power to ward it off. Lucky for him that MacLean And Faith were there. Their units were too small, but they helped the Marines to be just big enough. Being in a rush to get to the Yalu River was not a good idea, and General Smith knew it form the word go. He takes no credit for it, but he saved the 1st Marine Division. The reason I think he never took credit for saving the division is because that was the hand of God who helped him out by sending in MacLean and Faith just in time. General Smith did all he could and he knew it, but he also knew that the hand of God helped him too.
    There is a book out about General Smith. I was written a few years ago by his grand daughter. Published by the Naval Institute Press in Washington, D.C. In that book, one can see that he knew what MacLean and Faith did for him.
    Withiut Smith or God the 1st Marine Division would have been gone.

  13. Dave Desiderio says:

    I’m delighted to hear that Don Faith’s remains have finally been returned to our country, to which he gave the last full measure of devotion.

    As a young boy, I was present for the presentation of Colonel Faith’s posthumous MoH to Mrs. Faith and daughter Barbara by General Omar Bradley in June of 1951.

  14. gloria shonrock says:

    i am very happy that lt col. faith was returned to his to his family.. i was under the impression that my father William Franklin Day would never be brought home in my lifetime. i am very happy to announce that my father was identified as of february 13, 2014 5 days after his 89th birthday. he will be laid to rest next to his mother on april 5, 2014. miracles and prayer do come true, please let anyone who has a loved one who is mia to give dna and to contact DPMO for the korean/se asia conferences. they do work.

    • Hondo says:

      Ms. Shonrock: thanks for letting us know.

      I invite you to check the site tomorrow AM – we try and announce the identification of US MIAs from previous conflicts as we receive word of same. Your father will be featured in a short article as one of two US MIAs from Korea who have been recently identified.