USMC Silver Star to one of the "The Chosin Few"
A superb group to a career Marine who entered the service from Michigan in WWII first in the Merchant Marine then USMC, saw combat in the Korean War earning the Silver Star and Purple Heart at the Chosin Reservoir and continued his service through the Vietnam War as a Combat Aircrewman. He enlisted in the Merchant Marine in 1943 and transferred to the Marine Corps in 1945. Two tours in the Korean War included combat in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. Remaining in the Corps, he went to Marine Helicopter unit HMM-265 with multiple tours in Vietnam, retiring in 1969.
His Silver Star was awarded in 1950 in the opening combat of the Chosin Reservoir while defending his position against Chinese troops, wounded on November 27 and again on November 30. His Citation tells an incredible story..
"The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Corporal Jean E. Bartels (MCSN: 923681), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as a Machine Gunner of Company D, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on the night of 27 November 1950. When an enemy soldier opened fire on him at point blank range while he was unloading ammunition for his gun on the company's perimeter defense position during an intense hostile attack, Corporal Bartels rolled down a hill toward the enemy and, while bayoneting his attacker, was assaulted by a second hostile soldier with an entrenching tool. Despite severe wounds sustained during the ensuing hand-to-hand struggle, he bayoneted the second enemy soldier and returned to his gun position, continuing to keep the weapon in action throughout the remainder of the night. Although suffering intense pain as a result of his wounds, he courageously delivered a tremendous volume of deadly accurate fire upon the hostile troops, accounting for approximately seventy-five enemy dead and one hundred wounded, thereby contributing greatly to the defense of the position. By his gallant fighting spirit, indomitable fortitude and unswerving devotion to duty in the face of overwhelming odds, Corporal Bartels served to inspire all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Included are his three row, 14 place full size medal group. Period awards, unnamed as issued with the Silver Star being the 'fat' Navy/Marine Corps pattern. Original documents for the Purple Heart, Silver Star and citation, Air Medal with numeral 8, Navy Commendation with combat V device, and Aircrew wings award with three combat stars. Further included is an original portrait photo, his Aircrew wings, Commendation ribbon set and excellent research. The Vietnam award of the Combat Aircrew Wing is somewhat scarce. Equally noteworthy is the Navy Commendation WITH COMBAT V. Also of interest is that the Purple Heart certificate is for a first award document with two award dates. His mounted award includes a 2nd Award Gold Star on the drape. It is unusual but it appears he was given Purple Hearts for wounds received only three days apart!
Certainly an outstanding group to a brave Marine!
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
A major battle of the Korean War that began 27 November 1950 when China sent the People's 9th Volunteer Army to infiltrate the northeastern part of North Korea. The Chinese force surprised the US Xth Corps commanded by Major General Edward Almond at the Chosin Reservoir area. A brutal 17-day battle in freezing weather soon followed. Between 27 November and 13 December, 30,000 UN troops under the field command of Major General Oliver P. Smith were encircled and attacked by about 120,000 Chinese troops. The UN forces were nevertheless able to break out of the encirclement and to make a fighting withdrawal to the port of Hungnam, inflicting heavy casualties on the Chinese. US Marine units were supported in their withdrawal by the US Army's Task Force Faith to their east, which suffered heavy casualties and the full brunt of the Chinese offensive.