Dec. 20, 1950
WITH THE 1ST MARINE DIV. IN KOREA (Delayed)-His
feet were too frozen to make the long march away from the Chosin reservoir
sector so the big, nameless sergeant, almost tearful, was hauled aboard
a truck loaded with others like him. The frozen roads were jammed with
men and trucks and small groups of Korean refugees, and the enemy waited
to pounce on the convoy.
IN ONE of these areas, a Korean woman carrying her
small son was hit. The big sergeant's truck drew alongside. Desperately,
the woman looked at the marine driver, talking rapidly in her native
tongue and holding out the child. The driver, intent on maneuvering
his clumsy vehicle along the busy route, did not see her.
WITH an impatient grunt of pain, the big sergeant
moved to the side of the truck. Leaning over, he took the child from
the woman. Its feet were frozen and its hands cracked and bleeding.
For nine long hours the sergeant sat without moving. He cushioned the
child's body against the bumping, jarring truck with his own. He had
placed the boy inside his parka. When enemy mortars halted the column
and machinegun bullets whined, the sergeant pushed his chin down against
the boy's head and sucked on his dead pipe.
WHEN THE column moved again, it drew white phosphorous
shells in the light of enemy flares. The sergeant sat his ground.
When it was finally over, the big sergeant moved his body for the first
time. Lifting the boy from the truck, he hobbled across the snow to
an aid station.