Duane St. John was a New Jersey teenager when the Korean War's surprise outbreak caught America's military unprepared. About to start college in hopes of later joining his family's business, Duane, whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, suddenly found himself in Camp Pendleton and then on a troop carrier headed to Wonson. One month later, he and about 15,000 other members of the First Marine Division found themselves surrounded by 120,000 Chinese soldiers in -30F degree weather.
Duane was one of the 921 Marines wounded in the epic four-day Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. Following a lengthy recuperation at St. Albans Naval Hospital in Queens, NY, he returned to civilian life to get his education and start in business, which took him to both coasts and the Midwest. Along the way, he painted, threw clay, made some wine, baked a lot of bread, flew some planes and raised two sons and some sheep.
Duane and his wife of 57 years are retired in Florida, where he nightly inspects sunsets over the Choctawhatchee Bay. He annually attends his A/1/7 combat company's reunions.
Duane is donating all proceeds from his book to the Semper Fi Fund.