Charles F. Roland Jr.
United States Army (1949-1952)
Charles F. "Red" Roland Jr. joined the
Army in January of 1949. He was sent to Japan in July of 1949, and moved into
Korea in July of 1950. His Battalion was in battle continuously, fighting
northward all the way to Unsan, where they were caught in a trap.
On November 2, 1950, during the Battle of Unsan Roland
was wounded. From a hospital in Tokyo, Japan, he wrote the following letter home to
his father, C. F. Roland Sr. of 832 Gallion Avenue. The letter was published on
November 24, 1950, in the Brookline Journal.
A Letter Home From Charles F. Roland Jr.
November 9, 1950
Everything's under control!
The Doc says it's a clean wound and will heal in good shape. My leg is
plenty stiff right now, and it's too early to tell if any muscles were
fouled up. There is a possibility that I may walk with a very slight
It was pretty rough, pop. I got
hit trying to break through a roadblock. You probably read of the 1st Cav.
Battalion that was surrounded near Unsan. It was my battalion. That was a
night of terror. I was the most surprised person in the world when I got
hit. I was running when I got it, and it knocked me sprawling. I was up
right away and managed to get the one who had shot me, and I guarantee
he'll never shoot another G.I.
The Chinese were right on our heels,
and it looked to me at the time that they were trying to take prisoners.
Anyhow, I couldn't run anymore, so I fell into a small defilade and then
I played dead. The damn place had water in it. The whole action took place
alongside the river. Dad, I never prayed so hard in my life as I did the
hour I laid there, every moment expecting a bayonet in the back or a bullet
through the head. They were all around me. I could hear them moving
and talking and they ran so close to me that they kicked sand into my face.
All the while bugles kept blowing.
The enemy were on the high ground
with automatic weapons and the force attacking where I was hit was the
maneuvering element. They kept hitting us and then withdrawing. In the
intervals when they were withdrawn, those on the high ground just raked
the whole area. I don't know, that fire was what had bothered me the most
up until the time I was hit. That's the reason I fell into the
The Unsan Engagement, 1-2 November
Anyhow, for some reason, their fire
lifted and those where I was withdrew across the river. I was lying about
100 yards from the road and when I heard some of our vehicles trying to make
a run for it, I somehow managed to stumble to the road without getting shot
again. I got aboard, but we only got a little way before they hit us again,
so there was no other way but the hills. How we ever got through without
running into more of them I'll never know.
The moon was at it's full brightness,
and we could hear the shouting all around us. We had to wade the river.
It was the coldest water I've ever been in. All this time I was getting
weaker and weaker, through loss of blood, and my leg just wouldn't hold me
anymore. I never would have made it if two guys whom I don't even know, hadn't
half-carried me, half-dragged me up that last hill. I was out most of the way
up. Anyhow, we rested about an hour on top, and I was finally able to put a
dressing on my wound. Then with some help, I got down the hill and was picked
up by a ROK jeep which carried me to the aid station.
Dad, I consider myself the luckiest guy
alive. You can certainly thank St. Joseph for without Him and some others whom
I asked, I wouldn't be here now. I never knew I had two holes in me until I
got to the Med. Clr. Stations.
Take it easy
After service in the Korean War, in which
he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge, Charles Roland
worked as a Quality Control Engineer. In this profession, he worked for US Steel
at Westinghouse Atomic Power, where he was assigned to the development of the USS
Nautilus. He also worked at Knox Glass in Industrial and Quality Engineering
Roland moved to Cranston, Rhode Island in
1966 while with Knox Glass and joined Corning Glass Works in Central Falls as a
Quality Control Supervisor in 1967. He traveled to and lived in Venezuela, Hungary
and the USSR representing Corning quality interests. After GTE took over the
Central Falls plant he retired in 1987.
A graduate of the Providence Diocese Ministry
Institute, he then took a staff position at St. Mark Parish in Garden City. He moved
to Warwick, Rhode Island in 1999, where he was a communicant of SS Rose and Clement
Charles F. Roland, age 83, passed away on
July 9, 2013, at his home in Warwick. He was the beloved husband of Joan E. (Bradley)
Roland for sixty years, and was son of the late Charles F. Roland, Sr. and Wilhelmina
(Snefsky) Roland. He was the beloved father of Charles J. Roland and his wife Diane,
Richard M. Roland and his wife Barbara, Paul G. Roland and his wife Kathleen, and
Barbara E. Fournier and her husband Peter. Loving grandfather of Kristen, Kristina,
Andrew and Nicholas Roland and Daniel and Matthew Fournier. Cherished brother of
John M. Roland, Sr. of Valencia, PA and the late Ronald W. Roland.
War Memorial> <> <Brookline