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Edward Szymciak

Edward M. Szymciak

Strongsville, OH-
Korean War Veteran of the United States Marines

"By large, Tootsie Rolls were our main diet while fighting our way out of the Reservoir. You can bet there were literally thousands of Tootsie Roll wrappers scattered over North Korea. No doubt it made a nice change from Spam."

- Chosin Few Marine

 



"Tootsie Rolls"

Do you remember all the Tootsie Rolls that were dropped by parachute? Did you know why? The modest Tootsie Roll has played a significant "roll" in the U.S. military history, having been included in armed forces rations since the days of World War I. Over the years, care packages assembled by community organizations have shipped countless additional Tootsie Rolls to soldiers overseas. Known as a source of quick energy, the candy became highly valued by the troops for its ability to withstand severe weather conditions. In Operation Desert Storm, for example, soldiers serving in Saudi Arabia reported that Tootsie Rolls were the only chocolate candy able to survive the extreme heat without melting or crystallizing.

Forty years earlier, U.S. soldiers in Korea found that Tootsie Rolls were the only food they could thaw during temperatures of -30 degrees below zero. In 1950, the radio code word for 60 MM mortar ammunition was, "Tootsie Roll." To prevent the enemy from learning that ammunition was running low, American troops battling in the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea would radio, "We need more Tootsie Rolls." One such transmission was translated verbatim by the radioman at the airstrip. When the next airdrop was made, parachute packs floated down with - Tootsie Rolls. The besieged Marines, their rations frozen solid, made the best of the situation. They tucked away Tootsie Rolls in their clothes, where they remained soft enough to eat.

Tootsie Roll Industries has received numerous testimonials of how Tootsie Rolls have actually helped save the lives of service personnel who were near starvation. One Chosin Few Marine wrote, "By large, Tootsie Rolls were our main diet while fighting our way out of the Reservoir. You can bet there were literally thousands of Tootsie Roll wrappers scattered over North Korea. No doubt it made a nice change from Spam."

- Edward M. Szymciak

 

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