The story of Fox Company’s last stand in the frozen hills of northern Korea serves As a testament to the human will in the face of overwhelming forces of opposition. The never say die attitude of every man on that hill is proof why the Marines can take every hardship that the world can throw at them and still have the ingrained training while having the attitude to fight back, keep moving, with the will to never give up. There were many brave heroes at the battle of Fox Hill but one Private Hector Cafferata’s story stands above them all.
On the first night at Fox Hill, Cafferata found his foxhole surrounded by the enemy as the Chinese passed through the gaps in the American lines during the first night of the attack. Two enemy riflemen reached the edge of their hole and Cafferata clubbed them with his shovel. One of them dropped a Thompson submachine gun. Cafferata picked it up and emptied it into another approaching squad.
He and his foxhole buddy retreated back to a trench they had identified earlier, to join two other Marines shoulder to shoulder to shoot upon a wall of enemy that overran the machine gun emplacement next to them.
The four Marines in the trench provided supporting cover fire to repel the Chinese assault as the enemy focused on the machine gun emplacements, leaving fire team after fire team dead. The other Marines mowed down the attacking enemy but were still overcome through the sheer number of attacking forces and the inevitably running out of ammo, often taking a few more of the enemy with them in bayonet and hand-to-hand combat. This left Cafferata and a few marines alone as an island in a sea of advancing Chinese soldiers.
But the next wave of Chinese found a squad of Marines firing into their right flank. After Cafferata Emptied his M1 he used his e-tool like a baseball bat knocking a thrown grenade back to the enemy. A grenade landed near the fox hole and as Cafferata went to throw it the grenade exploded while leaving his hand. His left hand was bloody and gashed, the fingers shredded. His reaction was simply to reload and continue firing. His buddy, blinded by a grenade, took to reloading Hector Cafferata’s M1, handing him a fresh weapon after every emptied clip.
Cafferata’s foxhole was the only thing that prevented the Chinese from splitting the defensive line of the hill, with Cafferata being credited with killing almost 40 enemy soldiers during that first night. Nominated for the Medal of Honor immediately after the conflict his commanding officer stated that Cafferata had probably killed more than 100 enemy soldiers that night, but he didn’t think anyone would believe him, so he quoted the official number at 36. Hector Cafferata would receive the Medal of Honor at the cost of right hand that was hit by a sniper’s bullet.
He would never use that hand again, but learned how to shoot with his left hand. The conflict at Fox Hill lasted seven days followed by a grueling march of wounded back to base, a temporary safe spot that would also be taken by the Chinese shortly after. Their retreat, or Major General Oliver Smith’s infamously quoted “attack in a different direction! ” was escorted by the Ridgerunners of 1st Battalion’s Apha, Bravo, and Charlie companies who came down from the Chosin Reservoir and had to fight through the Chinese that surrounded Fox Hill.
By the time the Ridgerunners arrived by the look of the arriving Marines you could not tell who was rescuing whom. In the end Fox Company had 26 dead, 89 wounded and three missing. There were at least 1,000 Chinese bodies around the hill. It was estimated later that 4,000 Chinese had attacked the hill, and as many as 2,000 had died in the attacks or from artillery and air attacks. How the last stand of fox company affected me personally. The battle of fox hill was a battle against numerous known enemies from a fortified position and although outnumbered and eventually overtaken it showed true bravery and dedication.
However, today is a completely different way of fighting and cant truly be compared. Today is unknown enemy with unknown amounts. There is ieds along with ambushes and there is no true way to make a last stand in the modern world like fox hill. Weapons of today are far more superior and therefor would make a last stand from an entrenched position inpracticle. In modern society the bravery comes from the unknown. Troops have the fear of ieds, ambushes, and an unknown enemy. Them men on fox hill exhibited great bravery but it is hard to compare to modern times because of how vastly different our combat zones are.
Cite this Last Stand of Fox Company
Last Stand of Fox Company. (2016, Oct 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/last-stand-of-fox-company/