Joe Owen tells it like it was in this evocative, page-turning story of a Marine rifle company in the uncertain, early days of the Korean War. His powerful descriptions of close combat in the snow-covered mountains of the Chosin Reservoir and of the survival spirit of his Marines provide a gritty real-life view of frontline warfare. As a lieutenant who was with them from first muster in California, Owen was in a unique position to see the hastily assembled mix of some 200 regulars and raw reservists harden into a superb Marine rifle company. From steamy rice paddies to frozen mountaintops, the action and narrative move fast as the company learns to fight under enemy fire, eat frozen rations, and keep moving forward when its wounded and dead go down. There are examples of Medal of Honor gallantry; bitter, bloody losses; enemy night assaults; foxhole fights; and patrols through Chinese lines. This book includes the accounts of many Inchon-Seoul and Chosin survivors, woven together and told proudly by one of their own on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the war. In addition, the author provides a rare behind-the-scenes look at the frantic race to prepare American fighting forces for combat in Korea and offers lessons in leadership for today's Marines and soldiers.
Joseph R. Owen, 1st Lieutenant, USMC (Ret.), commanded the mortars and a rifle platoon in Baker, 1/7, one of the rifle companies that spearheaded the breakout from Chosin Reservoir. A 1948 graduate of Colgate University, he served on active duty in the Marine Corps from 1943 to 1946 and from 1948 to 1952. Owen has been active in Baker, 1/7, reunions and has written articles on the company's wartime experiences for the Marine Corps Gazette and short stories for Leatherneck Magazine. Now retired from his own marketing business, he and his wife divide their time between Skaneateles, New York, and Naples, Florida.