| February 12, 2012

I may be late to this, but I just watched the 2010 documentary “Chosin” which is completely narrated by veterans of the battle, both Marines and Army. This is easily the best documentary I’ve ever watched.

They describe how they weren’t ready for war, many were Reservists who hadn’t even been to boot camp when they climbed aboard ships to cross the Pacific. Their boot camp training was done on the ships. Each veteran graphically describes the battle at Chosin Reservoir from their particular perspective. They don’t hold back with their language or descriptions.

But I think their stories have value for today’s veterans returning from the current wars. They tell about their difficulties relating to the civilian world when they come back from their war – the same difficulty we all have. It may ring some familiar bells. The veterans also relate what they think of their service and express pride in South Korea and the place it holds in the world today.

The documentary is on Netflix, and I urge everyone to give it a look, especially the newest veterans among us. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Category: Historical, Veterans Issues

Comments (18)

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  1. CI says:

    Thanks for posting this. I haven’t seen it yet…but I will now.

  2. I can’t say it is a wonderful story… haven’t watched this particular video in any case. I can watch documentaries about WWI, WWII, and even some few that deal with the current wars. But Korea and VN cut too close to the bone for me.

    That’s just me. “Heartbreak Ridge” is as close as I can come.

    Sorry Jonn, caught me in a moment.

  3. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    I saw it with my brother, a Jarhead too, and we laughed with them and even got ‘soggy eyeballs’ a couple of times. My paternal Uncle Ray and my maternal Uncle Inez were in Korea and neither would ever talk about it until the last few years of their lives. Must have really been FUBAR there.

  4. OWB says:

    My Dad didn’t have much to say about either Korea or WWII until I returned from Desert Storm. Evidently, I was then cleared to hear.

  5. Just A Grunt says:

    My father-in-law is a Marine Korean war vet. Made landings at Inchon and Suwon and was at the Chosin reservoir. Picked up a couple of Purple Hearts along the way. We have had one or two conservations about it. It is memories he keeps locked away especially the withdrawal from Chosin. The bits he has talked about make it hard to imagine anybody could have come out of that thing sane.

    On the other hand, since he was in artillery he likes to joke about using the Army’s positions as registration points for the guns to adjust fire from. His reason. Sooner or later they were going to be calling fire in on their position anyway.

  6. DaveO says:

    On my list – thanks!

  7. Winter Soldier says:

    Fantastic movie, and it goes quite well with This Kind of War by T.R. Fehrenbach, which goes into how the Army shrunk and had budgets cut after WW2, and training standards relaxed. History tends to repeat itself…

  8. BooRadley says:

    I started to watch this the other day but the kids already two movies running on Netflix. I’m going to watch it now.

  9. Ken says:

    Our Marine Corps League Detachment sponsored a showing of this film as part of a Korean War Vet Recognition Event in 2010. Present were about a dozen of the “Chosen Few”. They pretty much agreed to a man that it was the best Chosen documentary they had ever seen. Most of them wanted their own copies to help explain to their families and friends what is was like.

  10. Doc Bailey says:

    Somewhere out there the body of PFC Max Leon Bailey is buried in a mass grave. It has always been my strong desire to find out when he died, but failing that, to bring him home, and bury him with honor.

    This video was a gut punch. To think of what our soldiers went through, all cuz they were ill prepared, and command didn’t listen to the intel.

  11. Marine_7002 says:

    I recently read “Give Me Tomorrow”–/dp/0306820447/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329095703&sr=1-1 . An incredible story of one company of Marines at Chosin. Recommend it most highly.

    Thanks for the heads up on the documentary, Jonn. I’d heard it was in the making, but I didn’t know it was out.

    @10 Doc: have you checked to see if his unit’s members have an association and reunions? Web site(s)? Anything we could do to help your search for information about him?

  12. OldSoldier54 says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Jonn. I’ll be ordering it.

    Anybody read “East of Chosin” by Appleman? I got the reference from a comment in a post about a year ago, that had turned into a shlong measuring contest between the jarheads and the doggies.It’s about the 31st RCT, Task Force Faith.

    I haven’t had time to read it completely. It’s grim. And heart breaking.

    And unless we can turn that marxist in the White House out in November, we’re headed in the EXACT same direction.

    Which makes me want to chew H-columns.

  13. Thanks for the great review! Very much appreciated. Our team interviewed 186 Chosin vets to make the film, and it was those gentlemen who really made it possible. We could not have told the story half as well as they did. Truly an honor to sit with each and every one of them.

    On a side note- @9 Ken: if folks are looking for a copy of the film, it is available at and Portion of the proceeds are donated to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and Wounded Warrior Project.

    Thanks again for the review and Semper Fi!

    Anton Sattler
    Producer- CHOSIN

  14. Finrod says:

    Incredible documentary. I can only hope, that I was ever half the warrior these guys were.

  15. Marine_7002 says:

    @12 OldSoldier54: there is an interesting study at titled “The Death of RCT 31” that you may want to read. Seems to be an objective and well-written analysis of what happened. It’s a five-part document, look on the left side of the page about halfway down.

  16. Sig says:

    My grandfather was in Korea, but talked about it until after I came back from Afghanistan. Most of his stories revolved around stupid officer decisions, utterly pointless movements, and brief moments of terror. Not much has changed since then.

  17. OldSoldier54 says:

    Thanks, brother. I’ll check it out.