Frozen Chosin' survivor looks to start local branch of Savannah Chosin Few
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    Thumbs up Frozen Chosin' survivor looks to start local branch of Savannah Chosin Few

    Frozen Chosin' survivor looks to start local branch of Savannah Chosin Few
    MCRD Parris Island
    Story by Cpl. Brian Kester

    MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (March 16, 2006) -- Esprit De Corps seems to define Frank G. Gross; a man who endured the tumultuous minus 40 degree cold and blinding snow at the Chosin Reservoir during the the Korean War as a private first class with Item Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, in 1950.

    That ethos grew when his childhood love of country music compelled Gross to begin composing various ballads, marches and poems about his experiences in Korea, all of which can be viewed at

    His patriotism and musical talents have led him from those icy battlefields to a home where he is a defining member of the Chosin Few, a brotherhood of men who all shared the same experiences and lived to tell about it.

    Using his allure, personality and his ability to entertain, Gross created the Valley Forge Chapter of the Chosin Few and hopes to do the same in the Beaufort area.
    Gross' interest in creating the Valley Forge Chapter came about as he was playing at a pub called the Silver Saddle, close to his home in Philadelphia.

    "The Silver Saddle was the place that became our Tun Tavern," he said, referring to the fraternity meetings.

    There are eight people interested in participating in a local branch of the Chosin Few Savannah chapter, and that is enough to start one in the Beaufort area, he said.

    Wearing his blue Marine Corps hat and eagle, globe and anchor bolo tie around his neck, Gross shows the same spirit and enthusiasm he did as a private first class when he began writing songs about his experiences at the reservoir and hopes he can use it to create more interest in a local chapter.

    Gross entered the Marine Corps in 1948, and was medically discharged in October 1951.

    "I wasn't in very long, but I'm still in," laughed Gross, referring to the popular saying "once a Marine, always a Marine."

    Gross was wounded during one of many battles at Chosin and sent back to the states to stay at a Naval hospital in Philadelphia to recover. That is where he began to build camaraderie with the 14 wounded Marines who fought alongside him.

    While the men were at the hospital, they would get visits from reporters wanting to get the inside scoop, they would ask us to tell them stories, he said.

    "The guys knew I liked to write and play music," he said, referring to many late nights during training at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., when they would stay up late playing country music. "They said, 'Ask Frank, he'll put it to music.' So I told them to give me a couple of days, and I would come up with something. So, I wrote the Ballad of Chosin on December 29, 1950."

    After his discharge, Gross made his way home and tried to get back together with a group he had played with prior to the war.

    "I found that I had lost my rhythm because of the shock of a grenade going off on my right side," he said, speaking of his loss of hearing and movement in his hand. "So, I went solo and found my own rhythm."

    That was the beginning of his musical journey, when he recorded many songs, several of them telling of his wartime experiences.

    "I play guitar, and that is how I really got into this," said Gross. "God gave me the talent to be able to write country music. So for me, it wasn't a chore to put music to the lyrics I wrote about the Chosin Reservoir."

    Those who are a part of the Chosin Few have a story that is near and dear to all of their hearts: the story of the Star of Koto-ri, of which is the subject of a song by Gross called, "Diamond in the Sky."

    "I wrote most of the piece and the rest was written by retired Maj. Paul Sanders," he said. "He wrote to me and told me the story. My mom used to say, 'If a star appears in the sky, then the next day will be clear.'"

    The story tells of when the troops were waiting for the snow to stop so they could continue to make their way out of the reservoir, and found a single star in a cloud-filled sky. The Marines found the Star of Koto-ri, which ultimately provided them with the hope they needed to make it out of the reservoir alive.

    "Some were saying that there was a sparkle in the sky and others would say, no, it's a diamond," Gross said, describing the event.

    The diamond described in his lyrics became the symbol for the Chosin Few, and the lyric is in the Christmas cards they all send to each other.

    "That is the connection with the reservoir," he added. "They played the piece during the unveiling [of a stained glass window at the Chosin Few headquarters] and that really gave me the chills."

    More information on the Chosin Few can be found at, or if you are interested in joining the local branch, contact Gross by phone at 525-1959 or by e-mail at

    Applicants must have served in any allied service in, above or around the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea in November through December of 1950.

    An associate membership is available to surviving spouses and children of veterans who served at the Chosin Reservoir.


  2. #2
    Hello, I was looking for info on Frank. He's a very dear friend of mine whom I've lost contact with. Frank and I compiled a video collection of all his "Ballads of Honor" music. My name is Mickael Bruce, Sgt USAF, and the videos were done under what I called "American Pride Videos". Last I had spoken with Frank he was living in a nursing home some where outside the main gate of Parris Island, where he had been going to speak to some of the recruits from time to time. Please, is there any word on Frank? I know his injuries where catching up with him, Alzheimers was setting in when I lost contact.

  3. #3
    I'll ask about this man

  4. #4

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