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Shannon and Scalph, 7th Div, 31st Reg, I Co, Chosin Few --Surviving The Walk To Hagaru-ri


Shannon/Smith, ©2001
Cpl Servis(KIA), Prokov(KIA), Scalph, Tremblay(KIA)


Lewis Shannon, and Floyd Scalph survived the first few nights of attacks at the Chosin reservoir. They met at hill 1221, where Colonel Faith had already been Killed in Action on the route out of the reservoir. The 31st RCT was on one tiny road out. One road mainly used by the natives for thier ox carts, not for vehicles. All the men who could walk, were walking. And the majority of the men were walking wounded and all felt the effects of the zero degrees below temperatures. The severely wounded men were packed at least 4 men high in the trucks as they made their way through enemy fire, mountainous terrain, blown bridges, extreme cold for both vehicles and men ...Lewis Shannon, and Floyd Scalph survived the first few nights of attacks at the Chosin reservoir. They met at hill 1221, where Colonel Faith had already been Killed in Action on the route out of the reservoir. ...
The Chinese had already hit the convoy of men and trucks from the advantage point of the higher elevation point of Hill 1221. Floyd met Shannon after the hairpin turn, they came together on the road, Floyd didn't have any gloves on. From what most men say - there were not any gloves as supplies for the men. The men used extra pairs of socks to protect their hands from the freezing below weather that was the least of their problems.

Shannon states "Floyd told me about his wounds then raised his hands above my helmet and said my hands are freezing, then he struck my helmet three times, it sounded exactly the same sound as metal striking metal. I unbuttoned his clothing to place his hands close to his body for warmth. I asked if he could move his fingers? He said, "Hardly". I said keep to move your fingers. He then said, "Are we going to get out of here?" I replied, "Stay with me, we will get out of here even if it kills us." It was so true, I don't regret I said that". "It was becoming night and the chinks had backed-off and our air support stopped. Two soldiers on the said to each other, I will stay with the trucks and the wounded on board and try to move down the road, why don't you get some volunteers and try to reach the First Marine Division at Hagaru-ri and ask for assistance to get us out of this mess. When I heard this conversation, I quickly said, "I volunteer". Let's go Floyd. Floyd was air evacuated from Hagaru-ri on 2 or 3 December 1950.

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Floyd maintains after 50 years that it was Shannon who saved his life and dozens of other walking wounded by leading them to safety to Hagauru-ri, on the night of December 1, 1950. The following is the recommendation of the citation for the award of the silver star for Lewis Shannon.

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"PFC Lewis D. Shannon, Company I, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, United States Army, distinguished himself by exceptional heroism on 1 December 1950 at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. When his regiment was ordered to break out of an encircled postition it had held for 4 days against repeated onslaught of two Chinese divisions, there were over 600 wounded men who had to be evacauted by truck on an icy, single lane road, blocked at numberous choke points by Chinese forces firing down from steep adjacent hills. When the convoy reached a hairpin turn near the site of a blown bridge spanning a ravine, it could make no further progress. Intense Chinese rifle, mortar and automatic weapons fire from a steep adjacent hill repeadly struck the trucks, killing or again wounding many of the helpless men inside. Wounded members able to get out of the trucks struggled onto the roadway where some lay exhausted and in excruitating pain in temperatures that had plunged to 25 degrees below zero. Disregarding his own safety under a rain of fire from the adjacent hillside, PFC Shannon repeatedly leaped from his protected postition in a ditch, dashing into the roadway to help countless wounded men under intense fire before approaching Chinese infantry reaching the trailing vehicles. Knowing the wounded men lying along the road would be killed if they remained in place, Shannon, helped as many as he could to cover, goading, dragging, or holding them up to get them to safety any way he could. As darkness fell, Shannon and a small group of others provided a protective screen for the walking wounded, reconnoitering safe passage through Chinese lines and engaging the Chinese in sharp firefights where necessary to keep them away from the wounded who were struggling slowly, painfully to the safety of a Marine base several miles to the south. PFC Shannon's exceptional devotion to his fellow soldiers saved countless lives under the most extreme conditions. His selfless actions bring great honor to his unit, the United States Army, and to his country."
NOTE - Lewis Shannon passed away on August 18, 2001.

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