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Nineteen fifty-one was the critical year in the Korean War, when the Chinese and North Korean armies driving south – then a surging Red Tide – were stopped cold. And, after the decisive battles of that spring, the First Marine Division attacked north from Chunchon to the Hwachon Reservoir, through Yanggu and on to the Punch Bowl. This is the story of that campaign in the words of John Nolan and six other Marine 2nd Lts, rifle platoon leaders who had arrived in Korea in the late spring of 1951, in time for the savage fighting and heavy casualties in the mountains of the East Central front. This was the operation that Marine legend Bigfoot Brown called “bloody work, the hardest fighting I have ever seen.” The Young lieutenants came from different backgrounds; their common bond was the leadership of Marines fighting at a crucial time in the war. The lieutenants, no longer young, all survived – albeit narrowly – and their views of their experience are summed up in a chapter called Musings. Their lives since leaving Korea have also been widely varied and successful. Generally, they’ve had careers of distinction in education, public service, business, and the National Football League as well as the Marine Corps. These stories are recounted in the final chapter, Afterward, a chapter that includes the after-lives of a dozen other Marine officers and enlisted men who figure prominently in the book.

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