Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Professional Press, 1998. First edition. Hardcover. This copy of the first edition is signed by the author and has a lengthy gift inscription from Navy Cross recipient General James F. Lawrence (Brigadier General, USMC, Ret), to whom the book is dedicated, to his Marine brother, Bob Lawrence. The author’s signature, “Dick Humphreys” is inked in black on the front free endpaper verso, facing the title page. The lengthy gift inscription, also inked in black, fills the front free endpaper: “9/15/98 For: Bob Lawrence – Marine! This book is about D (Dog) Company, one of the three rifle companies in the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, my outfit in Korea. I helped Col Dick Humphreys in writing the book – as he so graciously indicates. The picture on the dust jacket was taken as our Battalion was fighting our way out of Hagaru-ri on 6 Dec. 1950 – I’m just out of the picture on the right. Picture also on p.223. Your devoted brother, Jim Lawrence BGen USMC (Ret)”
The book is near fine in a near fine dust jacket. The red leatherette binding is square, tight, and clean with no appreciable wear. The contents, illustrated with photographs and maps, are bright and clean with no markings save the signature and inscription. The sole detraction is a faint hint of spotting, confined to the text block edges. The dust jacket is clean, bright, and complete, with a few trivial creases to the flap corners. The jacket is now protected beneath a removable, archival quality clear cover. Of note the rear panel of the dust jacket contains a lengthy blurb from Brigadier General Lawrence, who inscribed this particular copy to his brother.
The book is a story of Marine Corps heroism in Korea. “On the night of November 27, 1950, in darkness, howling winds and subzero temperatures, a company of U.S. Marines defended their position on an unremarkable hilltop in Korea against an onslaught of uncountable Chinese Communist troops. Though little known by the public, it was one of the fiercest small-arms fights in recorded military history. The courage of the men of Dog Company of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines enabled them to hold Hill 1240. They fought through the night – sometimes in hand-to-hand-combat – without reinforcements or communication to call for air or artillery support… Colonel R. D. Humphreys has set the events of that night in context of world events and U.S. military planning.”
The author, Colonel Richard D. Humphreys USMC (Ret) was a decorated Marine who enlisted as a private during the second World War in 1942 and served with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines in Korea. Humphreys retired from the Marines in 1970 and died in 2009. Brigadier General James Fugate Lawrence (d. 2006), who inscribed this copy, contributed the dust jacket blurb, and to whom the author dedicated the book, was a hero of the epic Korean War battle of Chosin Reservoir.
Like the author, Lawrence was a decorated Marine, notably a recipient of the Navy Cross for his actions at the aforementioned battle. Lawrence was assigned to active duty soon after the 7 December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and during the Second World War took part in the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Allies’ first major land victory against the Japanese. In September 1950 he was with an infantry battalion in the 7th Marine Regiment that landed at Inchon, Korea, and in November was part of the U.S. force that found itself surrounded by advancing Chinese units at the Chosin Reservoir, which became one of the most heroic battles in U.S. military history, with Marines outnumbered 10 to 1, fighting in subzero temperatures, and sustaining horrific casualties. Lawrence, then a Major, led the battalion after his commanding officer cracked under battlefield pressure and the deputy commander was severely wounded. His Navy Cross was in recognition of “his outstanding courage, inspiring leadership and valiant devotion to duty in the face of overwhelming odds” and was awarded “at the instigation of rank-and-file Marines under his command.”. Item #004602