The First Chinese-American Officer in Marine Corps History Saved 8,000 Lives at the ‘Frozen Chosin’
Lt. Kurt Chew-Een Lee in Korea.
May 3, 2021
In December 1950, First Lieutenant Kurt Chew-Een Lee led 500 Marines on a daring rescue mission as tens of thousands of Chinese troops streamed in from North Korea threatening to cut off an American unit during the vicious Battle of Chosin Reservoir. Traversing five miles across treacherous mountainous terrain, the Marines battled against a blizzard that cut their visibility to almost zero and against temperatures that oftentimes plummeted to 30 degrees below zero.
In spite of suffering from bullet wounds and a broken arm Lee, along with his unit, relentlessly engaged the enemy while under fire. Their exploits helped to preserve a crucial evacuation route for American troops fighting as United Nations forces — saving 8,000 men from certain death or imprisonment at the hands of the Chinese.
Born on January 21, 1926, in San Francisco, the slight of build Lee — all of 5 feet 6 inches tall and roughly 130 pounds — is believed to be the first Asian-American officer in Marine Corps history.
Despite his diminutive stature, Lee “brought outsized determination to the battlefield,” writes the New York Times.https://www.historynet.com/the-first-chinese-american-officer-in-marine-corps-history-saved-8000-lives-at-chosin.htm