For the Cause

Synopsis: For the Cause; The Cold War Turns Hot in Korea and Why young Men Went to War.

Two young South Dakota farm boys, Pete Houser and Chris Engleson, with uncertain futures decide to join the marines  as an alternative to some other mundane job. It is 1950 and they complete boot camp just as the Korean War suddenly erupts. Chris finds himself assigned to the First Provisional Marine Brigade being hurriedly put together to be deployed to Korea. Pete is assigned to a marine unit providing base security for the Sangley Point Naval Air Station in the Philippines. The story follows the lives of the two young men during the last six months of 1950 while Chris in Korea is involved in the Pusan Perimeter, Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir battles and Pete spends his time as a security guard in the Philippines. Over a short period of time Chris changes from a green farm boy into a seasoned warrior and Pete’s world expands quickly as he encounters unfamiliar moral standards and first love. The story alternates between Chris in Korea and Pete in the Philippines until the story comes to a surprising conclusion. Available as an e-book and in soft cover print form

  • File Size: 4284 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Language English
  • E book sold by Amazon Digital Services
  • E Book ASIN: B00FK1JI6G
  • Printed versions available by most book stores.
  • ISBN 1490970320
  • Language: English

Front Cover Design copy

On writing For the Cause My first plan had been to write a short novel, a novella, which would concentrate on the part of the For the Cause story that took place in the  Philippines. The two main characters, Pete and Chris, would appear in the novella with Pete in the Philippines and Chris in Korea but the Korean War would be in the background. However, as I researched the Korean War I began to understand the epic role played by the marines in the early months of that war. I had been in the Navy during the Korean War and spent two years during that time in the Far East as a crewman on navy reconnaissance planes. As involved as I had been in the Korean conflict I found I didn’t have an appreciation of the role played by the marines during that war. For example, I believed the Chosin Reservoir battle had been an embarrassing defeat for the marines. I learned during researching the subject that the Chosin Reservoir battle is considered to be one of the Marine Corps finest hours. I hadn’t understood the tremendous odds the marines had to overcome in the successful withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir nor the background and politics that had put the marines in the exposed position they were in at the time. It occurred to me that if I, as a participant in the conflict, did not appreciate the pluck and skill shown by the marines during the conflict, most other people would have even a less complete knowledge of the Korean War and the role the US Marines played in it. The Korean War has been called the Forgotten War and I realized For the Cause could be a means of revealing some of its history so others could become more aware of what had occurred during the Korean war. As a result the book  For the Cause became a full length novel with an expanded purpose.


Alfred Wellnitz Published Book and Short Story Information at:


For the Cause Photo’s 

Pete and Chris are introduced to the marines at the Marine Training Center in San Diego



Before marine recruits enter the Marine Training Center they will stand at attention in the yellow foot prints for what can be a very long time. While standing at attention they will be lectured to by one or more DI’s (Drill Instructors) After leaving the yellow footprints the recruits will enter the boot camp through the silver doors, the separation between who they had been and who they will become.

Marine Boot Camp

A marine recruit and DI conversing,.

After Pete and Chris finished boot camp they would be separated with Pete assigned to a marine contingent providing  security to the Sangley Point Naval Air Station located in the Philippines and Chris is assigned to the First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton. Then while on leave before reporting for their new assignments, the Korean war suddenly erupts.



The North Korean forces quickly overran a large portion of South Korea.  The United States Marines were ordered to  put together  the First Provisional Brigade to be sent immediately to Korea. The marines scoured the corps to man the brigade. Chris was among the those selected.

Pusan Map



Boarding Troop Ship


Marines of the First Provisional Brigade board a troop ship at San Diego in July of 1950.








Marines in Korea, The First Six Months

Pusan Perimeter

Marines debarking at Pusan


The Marine First Provisional Brigade disembarks at Pusan South Korea on August 2, 1950. The marines entered the Pusan Perimeter battle soon after arriving and were  used like a fire brigade putting out fires on the line established to stop the North Korean advance. The First Provisional Brigade found itself in nearly continuous combat from the time it landed in Pusan until it withdrew to board ships on September 13 to participate in the Inchon Landing.

Marine Charges up Hill on Iwo Jima

Battles fought on the Pusan Perimeter were often ferocious.




Casualties were heavy on both sides.

The Tools of War

Four F4U's in formation

F4U Corsairs were used for ground support by the marines during the Korean War



The M26 Pershing Tank was the marine main battle tank used during the Korean War. It was more than a match for the T34 being used by the North Koreans.



105 artillary


A 105MM artillery piece being fired during a Pusan Perimeter battle.  Marines used 105MM  and 155MM’s  in Korea


rifles machine gun guns_

The picture is of a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). The marine infantry squads  in Korea carried a variety of weapons into battle including the BAR,  Garand Rifles, carbines, 45 caliber hand guns, and grenades. The weapons companies carried bazookas, portable howitzers, light and heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles.


The Inchon Landing and Battle for Seoul 

landing-inchon 2

The highly successful Inchon landings, which took place on September 15, 1950, changed the direction of the Korean War. Because the landing took place against an eight foot sea wall, improvised ladders seen in the photo were used to climb out of the landing craft and over the wall. The landings faced little opposition and US Forces soon had control of Inchon and the approaches to Seoul. The landings were spearheaded by the First Marine Division which had incorporated the Marine First Provisional Brigade when it had been withdrawn from the Pusan Perimeter battles.



Furious fighting occurred in the approaches to Seoul and within the city,


Seoul Battle

After a week of heavy street fighting the North Koreans began withdrawing. The North Koreans were more concerned about escaping than defending Seoul as the their armies fled north. One month after the First Marine Division landed in Inchon they were loading on ships bound for their next Korean assignment. During the previous  month the First Marine Division  had been instrumental in changing the direction of the Korean War and capturing one of Asia’s most populous cities.


Chosen Reservoir Battle


Marines landing off LCVP's at Wonsan

The First Marines made an administrative landing, (Unopposed) at Wonsan after being delayed for a week at sea waiting for mines to be cleared and the landing site had been secured by Korean and British Marines arriving by land.



Moving into the mountains

After the marines landed at Wonsan on October 26 they began moving north and into the Taeback Mountains along a narrow unimproved mountain road that wouldn’t allow oxcarts to pass  in places. As they gained altitude it grew colder and began snowing.  Also as they moved north they became aware of the presence Chinese forces shadowing the advance. The advance continued seventy eight miles into the mountains to a village called Yudam-ni with plans to continue north to the Yalu River and west to link up with the 8th Army.


1st_Marine Breakfast in the Snow


Taking a break in the cold and snow. As they marines moved into the mountains temperatures plunged to 2o to 30 degrees below degrees. Cold defined everything the marines did. Weapons froze, vehicles wouldn’t start, food froze, digging foxholes was impossible with ordinary tools. The Taeback Mountain terrain made warfare difficult in any weather, the winter weather made it ridiculous.


Chosin Marine


The most vivid memory of the Chosen veterans was the unremitting cold.



Map Yudam-ni Nov. 27 attack

Suddenly on the night of November 27, two Chinese divisions struck the the three marine battalions that had reached Yudam-ni.  The marines withstood the attack inflicting grievous losses on the enemy while also  taking heavy losses. After the attach the marines found themselves surrounded and the only escape route had been cut.  Any thoughts of continuing the advance beyond Yudam-ni were abandoned and a plan to fight their way out of the trap they were in took its place.


Wounded Yudam-ni

The wounded marines were cared for as best corpsmen and a few doctors could considering the circumstances. The non-ambulatory cases were laid on the straw covered ground in unheated buildings, tents and in some cases outside in the weather.

The Withdrawal Begins

The picture above shows the Yudam-ni marine regiments preparing to form a column to push through the enemy encirclement. A  portion of the infantry and  artillery  regiments acted as a rear guard and held strategic high ground and provided  artillery support as the breakout column moved forward.

Controlling the Skyline

Controlling the skyline.


Column In Chosen Withdrawal


Going nowhere  fast. The  column lead had to clear the way through enemy forces and destroyed roads and bridges.While the lead  elements were involved in these activities, the rest of the column waited, sometimes  fighting  off attacks from their flanks or taking mortar and sniper fire.

Chosin Map 3

The map identifies seven of ten Chinese divisions committed to stopping the Chosin withdrawal and where along the route they engaged the US Marines and other UN Forces. The distances between villages and cities in miles from north to south along the route are as follows:

Yudam-ni to Hagaru-ri————14

Hagaru-ri to Koto-ri—————11

Koto-ri to Chinhung-ni————-10

Chinhung-ni to Sudong————–6

Sudong to Hamhung—————–26

Hamhung to Hungnam—————8

Total 78 miles


Alfred Wellnitz Published Book and Short Story Information at:


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