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Chosin Reservoir Survivor to Run Marine Corps Race

In an undated photograph, Richard Ferry, 15-year Marine veteran, receives a second purple heart for wounds received during the Korean conflict, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- The Chosin Reservoir didn’t stop him from finishing a 15-year Marine Corps career, and the fact that he is 82-years-old is not holding him back from participating in two Marine Corps Marathon events this year.

Richard Ferry, a mustang veteran and one of the few and proud to survive the 1950’s frozen battlefield of Korea’s Chosin Reservoir, will run the first of his two MCM races April 12, as he participates in their first event of the year, the Marine Corps 17.75K. Ferry will not only be tackling the 11.03 miles of Prince William County, but he will be running it while carrying a “Chosin Few” banner.

“The [finishing] time doesn’t make a difference, but I want to finish and to cross with that banner flying,” said Ferry. “I want people to know we [those who served during the Korean conflict] are still relevant. We still did something.”

Ferry started his career with the Marine Corps in August of 1954 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, in Platoon 67. From there, his career took off. Ferry was a staff sergeant, which he earned in only five years, when his career changed gears.

“I was an acting first sergeant when my commission came through in 1954,” said Ferry. “I then served at Parris Island; [Naval Base Coronado, in] San Diego, for combat cargo school; Quantico, where I taught at The Basic School, and Headquarters Marine Corps, which at that time was located in the Navy Annex.”

Ferry continued to reminisce about his military experiences as he told of his time in Korea.

“I was deployed to Inchon and Seoul with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines,” he said. “[While serving in the Chosin Reservoir] I was evacuated on Dec. 5, 1950, to a hospital in Japan.”

Ferry was awarded two purple hearts related to his time in Korea, and he resigned his commission in 1964, as a captain. 

“He is those things that are Marine-based: loyal, detailed and very organized,” said David Ferch, Valjean operations manager.

Ferry’s determination and success didn’t end when he hung up his uniform though. The law-school graduate went on to raise 6 children with his wife of 54 years and now has 16 grandchildren and 4 great-grand children. Currently a resident of Vero Beach, Fla., Ferry also holds a 20-year position as the chief executive officer of the Valjean Corp. which manufactures topical drugs, perfumes and suncare products.

“Mr. Ferry devoted his life to his country, was wounded and came back to have a very successful career,” said Keron Deaton, Ferry’s assistant. “He always thinks about his employees and is very compassionate, caring, thoughtful, persistent, generous and cute,” she added with a grin in her voice.

“He is always saying, ‘but I’m cute,’” said Deaton. “It’s kind of a joke here.”

Although the “cute,” workaholic spends as much time as needed in the office. “In his spare time, he likes to run. He has only been running consistently for two years, the white-legged, chatterbox is excited about Saturday’s race. 

“I’m dedicating this race to Harold Roland,” said Ferry. “He was very close friend. We were in training together and in port together.” 

Ferry, the oldest runner of the 17.75 will be also coming back to the area to run the Historic Half, 13.1-mile race, on May 18.

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