FORT POLK, LA — The Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk hosts a Memorial Day ceremony Thursday, May 23, at 10 a.m., at Warrior Memorial Park.
Guest speaker is Barbara "Bobbie" Broyles, daughter of Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Col. Don C. Faith Jr., a World War II and Korean War veteran. Broyles, who currently lives in Baton Rouge, will receive her father's Medal of Honor flag. The MoH flag was legislated Oct. 23, 2002, for presentation to each person to whom a Medal of Honor is awarded.
Faith, who commanded 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was killed Dec. 2, 1950, by communist forces. It would take decades and a lot of help from other Soldiers and Department of Defense civilians before his remains were finally recovered in North Korea and identified. Only then could his family finally have the closure they so desperately wanted.
Broyles was only 4 years old when Faith left for Korea. It would be the last time she would see her father alive. "What I recall most about my father was that he was happy. I still can hear him laughing. He enjoyed life. And above all, he enjoyed the Army," she said.
Faith exposed himself to heavy enemy fire many times and led counterattacks on enemy positions. He inspired his men by leading from the front until he was killed in action during the battle. Task Force Faith was made up of American Soldiers and Korean Augmentees to the U.S. Army from the 7th Infantry Division's 31st Regimental Combat Team. Task Force Faith's story unfolded during the longest strategic retreat in U.S. military history, a treacherous 78-mile trek through frigid, rugged and fiercely contested terrain around the frozen Jangjin "Chosin" Reservoir.
The U.S. forces who fought in the battle have since been colloquially referred to as "The Frozen Chosin."
At the reservoir, more than 100,000 enemy soldiers encircled 30,000 United Nations troops during one of the coldest winters in the history of the
region where 40 below temperatures caused weapons to malfunction and made the frozen ground too hard to dig foxholes. Completely surrounded and vastly outnumbered, American Soldiers and Marines outmaneuvered and outfought the Communist Chinese People's Volunteers. Prevailing in intense combat and overcoming numerous obstacles, U.S. troops defeated eight Communist Chinese Divisions, broke through the siege and made it to the North Korean port of Hamhung where they helped to evacuate more than 100,000 North Korean refugees. The epic battle lasted from Nov. 27 to Dec. 13, 1950.
For conspicuous gallantry during the battle, Lt. Col. Don Carlos Faith was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in August 1951.
Faith was 32 at the time he was killed. His remains would not be identified and repatriated for 62 years. On April 18, 2013, Faith's remains were laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, interred beside his mother and father. Broyles was there to receive the flag draping his casket as she will be here Thursday to receive the Medal of Honor flag.