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War hero arrives home for holiday

Robert McGuire

This is about my older brother, Jim McGuire. Jim was 21Ú2 years older than me, and we were raised in Detroit. Even though there was the age difference, Jim and I were very close, and he included me in many of his activities, especially athletics. Jim was a very good baseball and basketball player, and basketball is basically how this story got started.

In early 1950, one of Jim’s friends convinced him he should join the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in Detroit so he could play on the basketball team. Well, for you folks who were around at that time, you would be aware that the Korean War broke out that summer.

Now, Jim had not been in the Corps long enough to go through boot camp training, but this was a national training, but this was a national emergency. The Detroit unit was activated, and off Jim went to Camp Pendleton for advanced infantry training. After three weeks, they were on their way to Korea. Dad was proud of Jim, and we all were, as my father had served in the Marine Corps in World War I. Mother, on the other hand, was naturally very concerned.

Around Thanksgiving time, we received this letter from Jim telling us they had just about run the North Koreans out of Korea, and he was going to have Thanksgiving dinner at a place that overlooked a big reservoir. He went on to say that the word was that they would be home for Christmas.

Then the Chinese entered the war, and everything changed. The 1st Marine Division was trapped, and the media coverage made it sound pretty bad for Jim and the others who were at the Chosin Reservoir. Mother was sure Jim would not make it. Well, just before Christmas of 1950, we got the letter from Jim telling us he was OK.

Jim did not come home until the following year. He arrived in Detroit on Christmas Eve 1951. We all met him at the train station and, of course, it was wonderful to see him. I was so inspired by all of this that I also enlisted in the Marine Corps in February 1953. The Korean War was still going on so I figured I would finish what Jim had started. The war ended that summer, but no thanks to me.

Jim went on to college, married a terrific gal, and had three wonderful children. He worked in a management position with U.S. Rubber in Detroit, and everything was wonderful. But at age 36, Jim passed away due to cancer. So now, every Christmas Eve, I cannot help but think back on that wonderful Christmas in 1951, when my older brother, my hero, came home from the war.

Robert McGuire is a resident of Carson City.