Exerpt from the March 19, 1951 Life Magazine
One burning September day in Korea, during the fighting along the Naktong River, Cpl. Robert R. Hale, of B Company, 5th Marine Regiment, led his men up the razorbacks and over the bodies of North Koreans that lay in the brittle field grass. Later that day, after LIFE Photographer David Duncan had taken his picture (upper left), Hale was shot in the hand. Then, in the attack on Seoul, he was hit again by a bullet and a searing fragment. Last week, on a gray Naval transport, Hale came into San Francisco harbor along with 1,166 other Marines from Korea. He was a sergeant now and recovered from his wounds. But at the Changjin Reservoir, where his nose ran from the cold, the mustache he had cherished all through Korea had frozen. So when it thawed he had shaved it off. Like Sergeant Hale, many Marines aboard the transport were back because they had been wounded twice. But 690 of them were the first troops to return under the new Marine rotation plan which will bring veterans of Korea home for leaves and then assign most of them to training cadres. The Marines were neither bored nor excited by the Welcoming ceremonies arranged for them-the Marine band, the speeches from officials who stood near a World War II sign of welcome painted on the dock shed, the motorcade through the city streets. Only a few of them waved at the girls from the cars, and even on liberty that night, prowling through the nightspots, they were on their reserved behavior. It was only during those first precious moment at the foot of the gangplank on the dock that the emotions of the returning Marines came to the surface. Met by friends and relatives, they dropped their seabags and were suddenly swept up in the wonderful feeling of relief and utter joy at being home and in the arms of their people.
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