Theodore's World: Remembering The Korean War 1950 - 1955

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June 25, 2010

Remembering The Korean War 1950 - 1955

On June 25, 1950, the North Korean Army began an offensive to invade South Korea that resulted in the capture of the republic’s capital, Seoul, within four days. The United States, the United Kingdom and other members of the United Nations moved to actively defend South Korea – an effort that would last until July 27, 1953, when negotiations concluded and fighting finally ended.

North Korea attacks across 38th parallel, 60 years ago

Sixty years ago, the Korean War became the first major armed clash between the free world and Communist forces, as the so-called Cold War turned hot.

This is a wonderful website about the Korean War.

PLEASE CLICK HERE to see it. There are several articles and also photos..


This is also a great story that goes along with the Korean War. I am posting it again for those that have not seen it before. ~ Wild Thing

Tootsie rolls and pops sweeten the lives of battle-weary men

When I was a little girl, I received 25 cents as a weekly allowance. During those days, it cost one cent for a Tootsie Pop, a penny for "littles" Tootsie Rolls and five cents for "biggies."

We were Navy people. My father served during WWII in Hawaii; my big brother, Charlie, served in Korea, and my baby brother, Jerry, served during Vietnam.

Not having any real idea what "War" was all about, I used to write to daddy in my little-girl handwriting, telling him of all the things my friends and I were doing. I remember asking him to please hurry home because Dubble Bubble gum was being rationed and we had to stand in line for just one piece. Being my big strong dad, I was sure he would do something about it.

Often, I placed my pennies in a wooden matchbox to save enough to send him some candy along with my letters. Once I'd saved enough money, I would troop across the street to Pete's corner store and proudly place all my pennies on the counter and ask how many Tootsie rolls and Tootsie lollipops my coppers could buy. Taking them home, I wrote my letter and wrapped the candies in old Boston Post newspaper pages and shipped them off. I always sent his favorite yellow Tootsie pops. When I could afford it, I sent "biggies" Tootsie rolls. Many times the post office didn't charge me for stamps. Now, I realize that it was probably the counter person who paid for the postage.

When my father finally came home, he brought me a real grass hula skirt from Hawaii -- and as a reminder of my gifts to him, two yellow Tootsie roll lollipops. Following that, he regularly reminded me of those little girl gifts and how happy they made him during the war. I also sent my two brothers Tootsie Rolls and Pops when they were in the Navy. They never forgot, either.

Even now, I distribute Tootsie Roll pops to my "One Woman Comedy Show" audiences thanks to Tootsie Roll Industries. It's fun to watch adults become children again while they search the basket full of lollipops for their favorite flavor.

Tootsie Roll Industries has been a long-time friend of men and women serving their country.

History tells about a time in November, 1950, during the Korean War. The First Marine Division with part of two U.S. Army combat teams and a detachment of British Commandos along with some South Korean Policemen -- about 15,000 in all -- faced 120,000 Chinese Communists. The confrontation took place at a mountain reservoir called Chang Jin (the Americans called it "Chosin.") Temperatures ranged from minus five degrees below zero in the day to minus twenty-five below zero at night. The ground froze so hard that bulldozers could not dig emplacements for Artillery. The cold impeded weapons from firing automatically. It also numbed minds and froze fingers and toes.

The troops were surrounded, outnumbered 10 to 1 and desperately in need of food and mortars. With freezing temperatures, military-supplied rations were frozen solid and inedible.

Using the code word "Tootsie Rolls" (that meant mortars, not candy) a radioman sent a message asking for ammunition.

Misunderstanding the call, the Air Force airdropped thousands of Tootsie Rolls to the trapped men in the Chosin Reservoir.

The men were close to starvation and the chocolate Tootsie Rolls (biggies) withstood the cold and provided food and energy. Some were kept close to the men's bodies to soften them and were often used to plug holes in fuel drums, radiators and gas tanks that had been riddled with bullets after enemy attacks. Once in place, the softened Tootsie Roll froze again and made a perfect plug.

The Air Force finally caught on and sent additional mortar ammunition.

On December 10, 1950, the men fought their way out of North Korea. Overall, seventeen Medals of Honor were awarded, thirteen during the officially recognized dates of November 15 to December 10, 1950. Rarely in the annals of military history has a force been up against such unfavorable odds, both in terms of numbers and the elements, and still prevailed.

In the 1980s, Marines who survived the battle formed an organization aptly named the Chosin Few. For many years, the group held reunions and Tootsie Rolls were always present.

Over the years, the survivors formed a special relationship with the company and the candies. "We are honored to share a bond with these heroic men and will always take pride in the small role we played in this epic battle," said Melvin J. Gordon, chairman of the board of Tootsie Roll Industries. "Tootsie Roll has been involved with every major U.S. military engagement during the last century, but this is the only incident we know of in which Tootsie Rolls saved lives."

One survivor, Bob Weisham of San Diego, said, "No matter where or when we get together, the tables always have handfuls of Tootsie Rolls on them. "It probably sounds funny that such small things as Tootsie Rolls can make a difference." He added, "For us, they made all the difference."

Tootsie Roll lollipops also helped serve the men in Vietnam. Carl Jacob, a member of Delta Company 196 Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam, sent the Tootsie Roll Company a photograph taken in 1970 depicting Jacob and several other members of his unit enjoying Tootsie Pops in the heat during some downtime.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at June 25, 2010 05:40 AM


Great story! Thanks WT

Posted by: Jim at June 25, 2010 11:21 AM

When I visited the Marine Museum near Quantico Virginia, I hadn't heard of this story about the Tootsie rolls. Since reading it, I thought about the museum, they have displays of almost all the wars the Marines have participated in and they have a great Korean exhibit, but nothing about Tootsie Rolls. I have a letter on it's way pointing out this Huge oversite.

Again this was another UN nightmare run amok and the Americans took it up the ass.

Posted by: Mark at June 25, 2010 01:51 PM

Jim, thank you, good to see you.

Mark, that is a GREAT idea to write to them about this. And coming from a Marine like you are it will be taken more seriously I am sure too. That helps a lot.

Posted by: Wild Thing at June 26, 2010 03:28 AM


Posted by: Wild Thing at June 30, 2010 05:04 AM