A bridge from the sky

Hurst, TX

TIME: November 1950...
20,000 men of the 1st Marine Divsion and the 7th Infantry Division had captured the Chosen (or Changjin) hydroelectric plants and resevoir in the mountains northwest of Ham Hung, Korea. The Marines and Infantry tried to attack the Chinese to help out the badly pressed 8th Army to the west. They misjudged Chinese strength, however, and found themselves fighting four Red armies, or more than 80,000 men. They retreated and began fighting hard in the snow-covered but more defensible resevoir area.
The Chinese put troops on the snow-covered hills and mountains around the entire reservoir area, installing roadblocks along the on-ground supply route open to our fighting units. The Marines and 7th Infantry were fighting bitterly and determined not to leave any wounded behind - reports from captured troops stated the Chinese were bayoneting those who had surrendered. They came to a spot on the mountain raod to Hungnam where the Chinese had blown out 20 feet of a bridge spanning an otherwise impassable gorge near one of the hydroelectric plants. The entire column was held up - and no way around. An airdropped Bailey Treadway Bridge in an urgent request was made.
To span this gorge ... a feat never attempted before.
USAF Combat cargo decided the bridge could be dropped in eight two-ton sections, using two parachutes on each section. They worked out the drop plan and a test drop was accomplished, and it worked. They loaded the eight sections onto C-119 Combat aircraft and took off, approaching the drop zone at 800 feet, in trail to the drop zone.
Ignoring ground fire. Each C-119 dropped its span successfully and they landed in good shape per the Marine engineers at the drop zone. Moved the span with available equipment, bolted them together and the column of fighting men, with their equipment, wounded and their dead began to roll down the road.
They fought their way to Hungnam and to the harbor where evacuation ships awaited.
A USAF pilot said of these men: "I have never been so proud as to be from the same country that these men represent"
And the BRIDGE FROM THE SKY was successful.....

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