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Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow

Barstow, California
Capt. Sorensen: One of the lesser known Chosin Few

By Mr. Rob Jackson | Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow | December 18, 2017

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   Sorensen Field, located just inside the Main Gate on Nebo, is named after Captain Mainard A. Sorensen who was stationed at MCLB Barstow during the late 1940s.

With the outbreak of the Korean War, Capt. Sorensen received orders to report to Headquarters Company, Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

   After reporting to Camp Pendleton, Sorensen and the division were immediately ordered to Korea. He would later be known as one of the “Chosin Few.”

Despite intelligence in early November 1950 that Chinese Communist forces were massing in force across the Yalu River, the 1st Marine Division was ordered to continue its progress northwest from Hungnam to the Chosin Reservoir. Elements of the division reached Hagaru-ri, at the southern tip of the reservoir, Nov. 15.

   On Nov. 27, elements of the Chinese Communist People’s Liberation Army struck Marine positions in force.

   In a carefully planned counterstroke, eight Chinese divisions charged down the surrounding mountains with the expressed mission of destroying the 1st Marine Division.

Over the next four weeks, the Chinese and Marine forces engaged in some of the fiercest fighting of the Korean War. In an epic movement, the 1st Marine Division completed a successful fighting withdrawal through 78 miles of mountain roads in northeast Korea that ended in mid-December with the amphibious evacuation of the Marines from the Port of Hungnam, Korea.

   It was on Dec. 7, during the trek to Koto-Ri that Sorensen was killed in action “as a result of a missile wound sustained while engaged in combat,” according to a letter to Mrs. Sorensen, from Maj. A.R. Cason, Personal Affairs Branch, Headquarters Marine Corps, dated Feb. 5, 1951.

   In September 1953, the Nebo Athletic Field was renamed Sorensen Field as a tribute to Capt. Sorensen’s heroics.


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