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Lillian Kinkela Keil was one of the most decorated women in WWII and the Korean War, with 11 battle stars, four air medals and more than 450 air evacuations in Europe and in Korea. Starting as an air stewardess, where one had to be a registered nurse at the time, Kinkela then joined the Air Force and started evacuating soldiers off the battle field.
American-led United Nations troops were outnumbered and at risk of annihilation at the Chosin Reservoir by the sudden entrance of the People’s Republic of China, led by Mao Zedong, into the five-month-old Korean War. The two-week battle that followed, fought in brutally cold temperatures, is one of the most celebrated in Marine Corps annals.
On Thanksgiving Day 1950, American-led United Nations troops were on the march in North Korea. U.S. Marine and Air Force pilots distributed holiday meals. But soon after that peaceful celebration, American military leaders , including General Douglas MacArthur, were caught off guard by the entrance of the People’s Republic of China, led by Mao Zedong into the five-month-old Korean War.
With the rising concern over Communist aggression in Asia and beyond, President Harry S. Truman committed American troops in South Korea, stating that involvement in Korea was necessary for America’s security and survival.
U.S. Marine veterans of the Battle of Chosin during the Korean War recall their efforts to hold the west side of the reservoir during a second night of attacks. "The Battle of Chosin" premieres November 1 at 9/8c on American Experience PBS.
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