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Offline Flyin6

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Tootsie Roll Marines
« on: February 09, 2019, 10:00:13 AM »
Here's an interesting back story you may not have heard about the battle of Chosin Reservoir.

The 68th Anniversary of the Korean War "Chosin Few".....

The Tootsie Roll Marines On November 26, 1950, 10,000 men of the First Marine Division, along with elements of two Army regimental combat teams, a detachment of British Royal Marine commandos and some South Korean policemen were completely surrounded by over ten divisions of Chinese troops in rugged mountains near the Chosin Reservoir. Chairman Mao himself had ordered the Marines annihilated, and Chinese General Song Shi-Lun gave it his best shot, throwing human waves of his 120,000 soldiers against the heavily outnumbered allied forces. A massive cold front blew in from Siberia, and with it, the coldest winter in recorded Korean history. For the encircled allies at the Chosin Reservoir, daytime temperatures averaged five degrees below zero, while nights plunged to minus 35 and lower.

Jeep batteries froze and split. C-rations ran dangerously low and the cans were frozen solid. Fuel could not be spared to thaw them. If truck engines stopped, their fuel lines froze. Automatic weapons wouldn't cycle. Morphine syrettes had to be thawed in a medical corpsman's mouth before they could be injected. Precious bottles of blood plasma were frozen and useless. Resupply could only come by air, and that was spotty and erratic because of the foul weather.

High Command virtually wrote them off, believing their situation was hopeless. Washington braced for imminent news of slaughter and defeat. Retreat was hardly an option; not through that wall of Chinese troops. If the Marines defended, they would be wiped out So they formed a 12-mile long column and attacked.

There were 78 miles of narrow, crumbling, steeply-angled road and 100,000 Chinese soldiers between the Marines and the sea at Hungnam. Both sides fought savagely for every inch of it. The march out became one monstrous, moving battle.

The Chinese used the ravines between ridges, protected from rifle fire, to marshal their forces between attacks. The Marines' 60-millimeter mortars, capable of delivering high, arcing fire over the ridgelines, breaking up those human waves, became perhaps the most valuable weapon the Marines had. But their supply of mortar rounds was quickly depleted. Emergency requests for resupply were sent by radio, using code words for specific items. The code for 60mm mortar ammo was "Tootsie Rolls"but the radio operator receiving that urgent request didn't have the Marines' code sheets. All he knew was that the request came from command authority, it was extremely urgent and there were tons of Tootsie Rolls at supply bases in Japan.

Tootsie Rolls had been issued with other rations to US troops since World War I, earning preferred status because they held up so well to heat, cold and rough handling compared to other candies.

Tearing through the clouds and fog, parachutes bearing pallet-loads of Tootsie Rolls descended on the Marines. After initial shocked reactions, the freezing, starving troops rejoiced. Frozen Tootsies were thawed in armpits, popped in mouths, and their sugar provided instant energy. For many, Tootsie Rolls were their only nourishment for days. The troops also learned they could use warmed Tootsie Rolls to plug bullet holes in fuel drums, gas tanks, cans and radiators, where they would freeze solid again, sealing the leaks.

Over two weeks of unspeakable misery, movement and murderous fighting, the 15,000-man column suffered 3,000 killed in action, 6,000 wounded and thousands of severe frostbite cases. But they reached the sea, demolishing several Chinese divisions in the process. Hundreds credited their very survival to Tootsie Rolls. Surviving Marines called themselves "The Chosin Few," and among themselves, another name: The Tootsie Roll Marines. Join me in sharing their story and some Tootsie Rolls
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Offline cudakidd53

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2019, 09:33:28 AM »
 :grin:  I once used Tootsie Roll as bait in a mouse trap of a particularly skilled mouse who could clean out every other bait used without tripping the trap!  Chewed up some and mushed it into the trip plate - next day, dead mouse!
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Offline cj7ox

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2019, 08:52:39 AM »
Good story!
~Sean M. Davis

“The citizens of a free state ought to consist of those only who bear arms.” ~Aristotle

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Offline Flyin6

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2019, 10:12:07 AM »
Sean, You operate any with Marines? I have to say, they are darned fine soldiers. I got to operate a bit with them over the years, attended one of their aviation schools, flew the MARSOC guys in Afghanistan, and later, the regular Marines all over southern afghanistan. For your run of the mill, day to day guys, they all act like 82'nd, 101st or 10th mountain infantry.
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Offline Atkinsmatt

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2019, 11:51:35 AM »
At one time, I was assigned to D co. 10th Eng Bn.  They were attached to the Marines during the Chosin Reservoir episode.  While we were deployed once to Kuwait before OIF, he introduced himself to the unit by sending 3 very large cases (24x24 inch boxes) of Tootsie Rolls.  His letter of introduction came after the boxes.  His letter explained the tootsie rolls but didn't make it to us first.  Upon redeployment he meet us at our home station.  His name is Frank Kestner.  He was a PFC at the time and retired as a Major.  It was humbling to meet this warrior.  Here is a link to the book Kubles Mongrels detailing the unit actions during that time.  It makes for great reading.

https://books.google.com/books?id=vO1QjySfQVYC&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=frank+kestner+10th+engineer&source=bl&ots=P_-mnZGQe3&sig=ACfU3U0xmus9cR2cf5LecsiuNtjn01aO_w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiT28et0rbgAhVCn-AKHXqMBGsQ6AEwC3oECAIQAQ#v=onepage&q=frank%20kestner%2010th%20engineer&f=false
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Offline cj7ox

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2019, 05:49:36 AM »
Sean, You operate any with Marines? I have to say, they are darned fine soldiers. I got to operate a bit with them over the years, attended one of their aviation schools, flew the MARSOC guys in Afghanistan, and later, the regular Marines all over southern afghanistan. For your run of the mill, day to day guys, they all act like 82'nd, 101st or 10th mountain infantry.

My first deployment (OIF3 05-06), our entire brigade served under II MEF. I'm proud to wear their patch on my right shoulder. Good folks to serve with. I've never had an issue serving with Marines, but that doesn't mean I don't give them a good ribbing. ;-)
~Sean M. Davis

“The citizens of a free state ought to consist of those only who bear arms.” ~Aristotle

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Offline BobbyB

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2019, 08:19:30 AM »
My first deployment (OIF3 05-06), our entire brigade served under II MEF. I'm proud to wear their patch on my right shoulder. Good folks to serve with. I've never had an issue serving with Marines, but that doesn't mean I don't give them a good ribbing. ;-)

3rd deployment (05-06) my BN was split between RCT2 out of Lejeune and the other half was assigned to USASOC. After a spell of up and down the Euphrates river valley we went back together under USASOC. So I have the RCT2 patch and some others.. lol
« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 08:20:12 AM by BobbyB »
So, Bobby...being the calculating trained warrior NCO that you are.  Take the appropriate action, Execute!

Offline cj7ox

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2019, 08:44:11 AM »
My first deployment (OIF3 05-06), our entire brigade served under II MEF. I'm proud to wear their patch on my right shoulder. Good folks to serve with. I've never had an issue serving with Marines, but that doesn't mean I don't give them a good ribbing. ;-)

3rd deployment (05-06) my BN was split between RCT2 out of Lejeune and the other half was assigned to USASOC. After a spell of up and down the Euphrates river valley we went back together under USASOC. So I have the RCT2 patch and some others.. lol

Nice!
~Sean M. Davis

“The citizens of a free state ought to consist of those only who bear arms.” ~Aristotle

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Offline Flyin6

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2019, 10:13:34 AM »
Us Army wearing Marine combat patches...We've already seen dogs and cats livin' together, and boys married to boys...So I hate to think what's coming next???

Marines wearing Air Force patches??????? :shocked:
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Offline wyorunner

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2019, 04:13:11 PM »
Us Army wearing Marine combat patches...We've already seen dogs and cats livin' together, and boys married to boys...So I hate to think what's coming next???

Marines wearing Air Force patches??????? :shocked:

Marines don’t wear patches other than Name and US MARINES

Offline dave945

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Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2019, 08:48:51 PM »
I thought the name and Marines tapes were so we knew where to direct them back to.  Air Force patches on marines, lots of pictures so they can understand them. Don’t worry, I worked with marines and said the same things.


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« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 08:50:06 PM by dave945 »

Offline BobbyB

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2019, 07:11:28 AM »
Us Army wearing Marine combat patches...We've already seen dogs and cats livin' together, and boys married to boys...So I hate to think what's coming next???

Marines wearing Air Force patches??????? :shocked:

I said I had it, NOT that I wore it.

I only wore 1 combat patch, and when I didn't wear it, I was generally wearing my EIB.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 08:47:28 AM by BobbyB »
So, Bobby...being the calculating trained warrior NCO that you are.  Take the appropriate action, Execute!

Offline cj7ox

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2019, 07:36:22 AM »
Us Army wearing Marine combat patches...We've already seen dogs and cats livin' together, and boys married to boys...So I hate to think what's coming next???

Marines wearing Air Force patches??????? :shocked:

Big D, when the Commandant of the Marine Corps requests an ETP from the Army Chief of Staff for a unit to wear their patch, you do so. And we're a National Guard Brigade, at that.  :wink:
~Sean M. Davis

“The citizens of a free state ought to consist of those only who bear arms.” ~Aristotle

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Offline Flyin6

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2019, 10:37:51 AM »
Oh I get it gents
And
I have some prior experience with this
Way back when I was an NCO, I went to NCOES as an E5
One of the guys in the class, another sergeant was getting permission to wear his Marine Corps unit patch on his Army Fatigues (at that time) I just remember all the ruckus he had from a chest of medals and no combat patch at a dress greens inspection.
CM
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Offline TexasRedNeck

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2019, 12:26:48 PM »
Explain that “ruckus” for us non mil types?


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Offline Flyin6

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Re: Tootsie Roll Marines
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2019, 11:05:25 PM »
Explain that “ruckus” for us non mil types?


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Sure-
So the man was wearing combat awards, a Combat Infantry Badge, and all manner of things he earned in Vietnam as a Marine. But since he was now a soldier in the Army, he had no Army unit patch to wear on his right shoulder. We wear the unit we are assigned to on our left shoulder, and the unit we served in combat with on our right shoulder. The once Marine, once soldier didn't yet have permission to sew a non-Army unit patch on his right sleeve so he was standing inspection wearing all these combat awards with no combat unit patch.

The senior sergeants did not like that very much...
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