My father has been deceased for over 12 years now, but rarely a day goes by when I do not think of him. With Veterans Day being November 11, I thought it appropriate to thank him for his service to our country and to thank all veterans.
My father, Royce A. McCarty, Sr., served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Dad did not talk very much about his military service other than the time spent in basic training at Camp Pendleton. I’m sure it was just too much for him given his and his fellow Marines’ experience in Korea.
You see, my dad, then just a 20-year-old kid, was in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. The 15,000 members of the 1st Marine Division were surrounded by 120,000 Chinese soldiers, and they spent 17 days in 37° below zero weather fighting a withdrawal to escape by sea.
On one lone occasion, as far as I know, Dad did open up and wrote this about the experience:
“I walked 17 days with few rations, no clean water and with most of my company sick or killed. Just 68 of us made it to Longsan out of 200. I was a corporal and 20 years old. If I hadn’t done a lot of hunting around Missoula as a kid, I would never have made it on that retreat, hardly any of my buddies did.”
As one member of our family has stated recently, “It is by the grace of God that most of our family is even here.”
Thank you, Dad. Also, to all American veterans, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.