Sixty years after the Korean War fighting, dozens of local veterans gathered Friday in Oklahoma City to share their stories and celebrate the end of the conflict often called the “forgotten war.”
The armistice that effectively ended the war was signed July 27, 1953. Friday's gathering at the Golden Corral, 520 S MacArthur Blvd., also marked an important anniversary for many of the Marines in attendance. President Harry S. Truman activated Marine Corps reservists in July 1950.
Ray Sherry, 86, and Hershall Burns, 80, both of Oklahoma City, were among those called up. Four months later, they took part in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, one of the most infamous engagements of the war.
A group of about 30,000 U.S., South Korean and British troops was surrounded by 67,000 Chinese.
Temperatures in the mountains around the reservoir plunged to minus 35 degrees.
“Your rations froze,” Burns said.
“You couldn't dig because the ground was frozen. We all had frostbite. The weather was as much of an adversary as the enemy.”
Medical supplies froze and equipment malfunctioned because of the extreme temperatures. Exposing injuries to treat them put the wounded at risk of frostbite.
After a 17-day battle, the U.N. forces broke out and escaped into South Korea, inflicting heavy casualties on the Chinese.