The Last stand of Fox Company is the story of a small
group of Marines who hold a vital hillpass as other units fight their way out
of a Chinese trap. The Marines would have to defend a narrow mountain pass in
sub-zero temperatures, cut off from their supply lines, and outnumbered more
than ten to one by Chinese soldiers. The book serves as an inspiration
everywhere, fortifying our already proud history. It is a testament to the
human will in the face of enormous opposition.
Among all the stories told in the book the section about
Pvt Hector Caffareta stood out to me. On their first night at Fox Hill, Private
Cafferata found his foxhole surrounded by the enemy who had bypassed all the
other defenses. Fighting for his life Pvt Cafferata clubbed two enemy rifleman
who had reached his foxhole with his shovel. One of them dropped a Thompson submachine
gun which Cafferata picked up and emptied into another squad. He and his
foxhole buddy then retreated back into a slit trench to join two other Marines
to shoot upon a mass of enemies that had overran a machine gun emplacement next
to him. Despite two concussion grenades, the Marines in the trench provided
supporting fire to repel the Chinese assault as the enemy focused their charges
on the machine gun emplacements.
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Twice Pvt Cafferata caught two stick grenades in midair
and tossed them back into the advancing enemy. Emptying his M1 Garand he used his
e-tool like a baseball bat knocking a thrown grenade to the enemy. Another
grenade landed on the lip of his foxhole, He lunged backward for it and heaved
it, but it exploded as it left his hand shredding his fingers and leaving his
hand bloody and gashed. His reaction was to simply reload and continue firing. His
buddy, blinded by a grenade took to reloading his m1 handing him a fresh weapon
after every emptied clip. Courageously ignoring the pain, he fought on until he
was struck by a sniper’s bullet and forced to be evacuated.
foxhole was the only thing that prevented the Chinese from splitting the
defensive line. Later he would be credited with over 40 enemy kills and would
be awarded the Medal of Honor for his extraordinary heroism and for saving the
lives of several Marines and contributing to the success of his company in
maintain its defensive position against tremendous odds.
Even though they were under-supplied, mostly young,
unseasoned and fighting in temperatures more than twenty below zero in daytime
and colder still at night, these Marines fought furiously in close combat,
using their bare hands, shovels and rocks to keep the enemy at bay. Fox Company
made a terrible sacrifice saving the lives of 9,000 fellow Marine’s and Soldier’s
from the advancing Chinese. By the time they were rescued only 60 of the
original 246 could still fight and three of them would earn the Medal of Honor.
It was estimated later that 4,000 Chinese Soldiers had attacked the hill with
half of them dying from artillery air attacks or the ground battles around the