Frozen American heroes

Published 9:58 am Thursday, January 18, 2018

While much of the world, and even the western United States is bathed in some unusually warm weather, the south and east is shivering in freezing weather. It is worth remember the brave sacrifice of thousands of Americans decades ago and honor those who are engaging in similar service today.

I’m finishing up Jeff Shaara’s “The Frozen Hours,” which documents the tale of the American forces in Korea, struggling through the winter of 1950. After North Korea’s surprise unprovoked assault on South Korea in the summer of 1950, the American 8th army under unsung hero General Walker stubbornly held a tiny section of the country. General MacArthur launched an amphibious landing behind the North Korean forces and linked up with General Walker to destroy the KPA. Then, MacArthur ordered the invasion of North Korea, which produced the capture of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang by the 8th Army, the ROK, and the taking of much of the aggressor by the U.S. Marine Corps, of course. The marines themselves are concerned about being ordered up a narrow road in bitter cold, with their reports of Chinese soldiers massing in and around their forces being ignored by MacArthur and Almond. Then the Chinese spring their ambush. Suddenly, the U.S. Marines are surrounded by a force several times their size, in a nearly indefensible series of pockets, in temperatures that reached -30. Weapons don’t work. The Chinese always attack at night, and hide during the day from air and artillery assaults. But against all odds, those U.S. Marines make it. Imagine Texans breaking out from several Alamos after being surrounded by a large attacking force from Mexico in the middle of winter and you’ll see how amazing this American courage truly is.

In addition to our armed forces fighting in Afghanistan and other places, we also have heroes here at home. From New York City all the way down to LaGrange, people are running warming centers and shelters, staffed by business owners and some who earn little more than the people who stretch out on those sleeping bags on cots. Without these brave volunteers, our losses from this freeze would be catastrophic. Even if you can’t shoot or even last for long in the outdoor freeze, you can still help save a life these days from the cold.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia.  He can be reached at

His Twitter account is JohnTures2.