The Chosin reservoir is one of the legendary battles of the U.S. Marine Corps, and one of its heroes — a Chinese-American who helped rescue his men in a desperate fight — is dead at 88.
Maj. Kurt Chew-een Lee was the first Asian-American officer in the Corps. He had served as a young Marine in World War II, then found himself in Korea leading men — some of them somewhat prejudiced against their young officer — who were fighting waves of Chinese soldiers in the north.
In the battle of the Chosin Reservoir, Lee ran toward the Chinese positions to draw their fire, so that his men could fight back. As he neared the enemy line, he shouted to them, “Don’t shoot, I’m Chinese!”
Although Lee was wounded, the ploy worked, and he and his men counterattacked and lived to fight another day.
Eventually, Lee would win both the Navy Cross and the Silver Star. He also served in Vietnam.
He is another hero of a great generation of Americans who sacrificed for freedom in the world.