Jim Evans

“Exhausted, I was crossing an open field with a heavy pack when bullets began kicking up dirt at my heels. ‘Oh boy,’ I thought, ‘this is close.’ When I made it to safety, I said, ‘Thank you very much, Lord.’”


Evans poses with his machine gun in the craggy hills of Korea. Evans collection

Left: Growing up at Humptulips, Jim was the baby of the family. Evans collection

Middle: Jim, left, with two pals, Gerald Antich and Don Sellers, as Company B of the Marine Corps Reserves pulls out of Aberdeen in the summer of 1950. Evans collection

Right: Jim with one of the young Korean “mascots” the Marines adopted. Evans collection

Jim Evans, a Marine Corps machine-gunner, is one of “The Chosin Few,” a fraternity of old soldiers who fought in a legendary battle. U.N. troops advanced around the Chosin Reservoir in the craggy mountains of North Korea on November 27, 1950, when the Chinese sprang a massive offensive to support their communist ally.

The outmanned Americans faced annihilation from two enemies—the Chinese and the weather. Temperatures plunged to 35 below zero. “That’s not counting the wind chill,” Evans says. “Some guys lost their toes. Others their feet. And thousands of guys lost their lives. I’m one of the lucky ones.”

Escaping cost the Marines 200 men per mile. Along the way, they inflicted far heavier casualties on the enemy. Historians call it the Corps’ finest hour.