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Elite Group- Chris Sarno Memoir


Sarno at a
Boston Chapter gathering

(Click picture for a larger view)

Chris Sarno unabashedly makes a strong distinction between those who served "in the rear with the gear" and those who actually put their hides on the line in combat. Holding Chosin Reservoir Marines in the highest regard, he nevertheless reminds people that thousands upon thousands of Marines were wounded and killed in action in Korea after December 1950. "Our Marine blood was as red as any at the Reservoir, yet we get no acclaim. It’s like the war ended on 12 December 1950. Bull-shit! I consider my combat service in Korea as worthy as the first Marine to scale the wall at Inchon. As a combat Marine at ground-level who was not privy to command decisions, I made that tour…but I didn’t know where the hell I was going. I have ‘arrogance of combat’ syndrome—‘If I’m up here getting my ass shot off, how come all the rest aren’t up here with us getting their asses shot off as well?’" Consequently, Sarno’s involvement with veterans is generally with fellow Marines, most particularly combat Marines. His lifetime membership in the 1st Marine Division Association entitles him to attend monthly meetings of its Boston Chapter. He is also a member of the US Marine Corps Tankers Association, the Semper Fidelis Society of Boston (which annually celebrates the Marine Corps birthday on November 10th with a noon USMC birthday bash), the Korean War Veterans Association, and the Massachusetts Korean War Veterans Association.

Although the gatherings cause his thoughts to return to Korea, he said that he has no desire whatsoever to revisit the Korean peninsula. "When I left Korea, I left all the abject daily misery that I saw during my liberties to Seoul in 1953-54 post-war Korea," he said. "When departing at Inchon, I thought to myself, ‘This joint will never recover.’ I’m very glad they proved me wrong over the five decades of modern Korea. Good luck to them. However, two generations have arrived since the Korean War ended with a truce. The younger Koreans (age 25 to 45) do not honor the returning American veterans who liberated them from Communism. I think that American vets will be confronted by this age group just like a similar age group in the USA confronted its veterans who returned from Vietnam. This age group in Korea is vocal as big anti-war/anti-Bush opponents. One young, educated South Korean woman/activist stated that all revisit junkets that go to Seoul/Inchon for commemorative festivities this year will be spat upon and verbally assaulted. No more respect is given to the American veteran who revisits South Korea now. The Yankee Go Home attitude prevails. South Koreans are even in flux with their newly-elected President. They scream to withdraw the US Army’s Second Infantry Division and send them home to the USA. No, I have never entertained any thoughts of a Korea revisit. Not then, and certainly not now with this new wind blowing from the know-it-all younger South Koreans. We should leave Korea now. And when those North Korean gooks start nuking Seoul, Inchon, Wonju, Suwon, Taegu, and Pusan, they shouldn’t look towards the Sea of Japan for help because ‘no more Yankees come back’—EVER!!"


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