powered by AFI
Filmed by combat cameramen, this documentary chronicles a year in the lives of the men of the United States 7th Fleet and 1st Marine Division, who are fighting in Korea. After scenes depicting a peaceful, rural Korea, which the narrator suggests existed until the invasion of the "ruthless red hand of Communism," villagers are shown watching the Americans "advance in a different direction." Throughout the film, the viewer is reminded of the grief and hardships of the native South Koreans, especially the children and old people. By December 1950, the tired and hungry Americans celebrate Christmas at a rest camp, eat their first hot meal in several months and receive mail and packages from the United States, while several are decorated with the Silver Star for gallantry in action. The narrator then describes how these young men landed at Inchon, Korea, several months before and took the city of Seoul from the North Koreans. The cameras follow the men as they advance over rubble roads, and hill after hill, with their many weapons of war: tanks, anti-tank guns, machine guns, mortars, bazookas and recoilless rifles. Supporting the footmen are Navy and Marine airmen, who drop napalm bombs and strafe the enemy. Wounded men are loaded into ambulances and taken to cleaning stations, and from there, flown by helicopter to hospital ships. Medical attention, such as immunization shots, is also provided for the many refugees. Orphaned Korean children, who are rescued from the sites of battles, are delivered to the care of Korean nuns. Soldiers who share candy and chewing gum with the young children must first teach them how to eat it. As winter develops, the men move north, over rivers, rice paddies and more mountains. Near a power plant on the Chosin reservoir, the front line is delineated for the airplane pilots by marking the backs of fighters in orange. North Korean prisoners are taken, searched and interrogated, and their weapons smashed. Likening the conditions to Valley Forge, the narrator describes how in blizzard conditions, ten enemy divisions box in the soldiers, who are short of supplies. In Tokyo, top military officials report the critical situation to their superiors at Pearl Harbor, and a decision is made to provide several fleets of Naval air support. The battleship, U.S.S. Missouri , nicknamed the "Mighty Mo," is dispatched. Back at the reservoir, soldiers battle their wounds and frostbite, and the many casualties are taken away by plane. When the "heartbreaking orders" come to burn everything that they cannot take and leave, the soldiers carry away their dead in retreat, while 1st Marine air pilots bomb the enemy. Meanwhile, the Mighty Mo pounds the beach with cannon fire. Carrying out a new strategy, the men again move forward on foot, this time preceded by napalm bombs dropped by their air allies, while the artillery shoots down any lone survivors. To answer the question, "What's it all about?" the narrator suggests that the soldiers would say that pride in the corps and their duty is the reason for carrying out this mission. After the narrator comments that the fight in Korea will ensure "that the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness shall not perish from this earth," he urges the viewer to remember those who are still in battle and those who have died.