Brookline War Memorial
Charles F. Roland

Charles F. Roland Jr.
United States Army (1949-1952)

Charles F. Roland Jr.

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.

United States Army (1775-present)

A Letter Home From Charles F. Roland Jr.

Toyko, Japan
November 9, 1950

Dear Dad:

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 limp.

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 In the intervals when they were withdrawn, those on the high ground just raked the whole area.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 defilade.

Map of The Unsan Engagement, 1-2 Nov 1950
The Unsan Engagement, 1-2 November 1950.

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 ... Chuck

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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 posts.

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.

Charles F. Roland

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 Parish.

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.

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Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.

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