Tootsie Rolls, A Saving Grace

In 1950 during the Korean War ran into an interesting dilemma when the use of a codeword gets misinterpreted. While stationed in ChangJin Reservoir, the Marine troops found themselves severally outnumbered and undersupplied. When they were almost out of mortar shells they called for an airdrop using their codename for 60MM mortar ammo, Tootsie Rolls. When the delivery arrived the troops were surprised to see boxes of actual Tootsie Rolls. What was a terrible mistake, saved hundreds of lives.

The freezing temperatures cracked vehicle fuel lines and left the troops stranded with limited ammo and tons of Tootsie Rolls. A veteran said he survived for two weeks on Tootsie Rolls. Eventually they realized they could melt the chocolate with their hands to make a putty-like consistency. They used this to patch up bullet holes, seal the broken pipes, and fix up other equipment. Finally, the chocolate refroze and they were able to get to safety, all thanks to this blessing in disguise.

I think if I was expecting bullets and got candy, I would laugh then probably cry. I wonder what went through the head of the guy who had received the request for "Tootsie Rolls" and didn't think it was a code work and instead sent actual ones. If I had gotten a request from Marine Troops out fighting in a war for Tootsie Rolls, my mind wouldn't think to send them Tootsie Rolls, if I was confused I would have asked. I think I would get very sick if I had to survive on Tootsie Rolls for two weeks and would probably not eat any more for a really long time.






What would have been your reaction if you received candy instead of bullets?

How do you think the mix-up happened with the code word?

Could you survive on Tootsie Rolls for two weeks?

You need to be a member of History 360 to add comments!

Join History 360

Replies are closed for this discussion.


  • In any other situation, I would find the miscommunication comical. However, if I was a soilder in desperate need of ammunition I wouldn't think it is funny. I think the soilders deserve a lot of credit for being creative with these tootise rolls and making the best out of their situation. 

    • I definitely agree with you! It was a terrible mistake that could have cost them their lives, but they were resourceful and found a way through it. I think I was them I would find it funny once i wasn't in danger anymore, like a little inside joke within that group of people.

  • I think that at the moment this would be very frustrating not receiving that ammunition I needed at the time but I think that after surviving it would be something to look back on and laugh about. I do not think I could survive off of tootsie rolls for two weeks. 

    • I couldn't imagine their surprise and frustration. I would be so mad and wonder how on earth they managed to mess it up. I also think it would become an inside-joke thing between the soldiers. I think I could survive but just be very sick.

  • I would giggle a little bit, not gonna lie. But it is also a very stressful situation, because i do not think i would survive with only tootsie rolls. Other amunitions are needed in order to survive for two weeks or less.

    • I think I might laugh about the complete absurdity of the situation. How could a mix up like that even happen? People con't survive on just chocolate alone they obviously need things like water to. They also need their ammo because they asked for it.

  • I would honestly be frustrated and angry that I didn't recieve the amunition I needeed, but at the same time I would probaly laugh, this is something so small but so funny. A nice laugh would be good after surviving something so horrific. I think that it was nice that they used the tootsie rolls to survive and used them to survive for 2 whole weeks. 

    • I would also be frustrated and angry after waiting for much needed ammo only to receive a bunch of candy instead. Once I was safe I would probably find the situation funny and laugh. A nice laugh would definitely do so good for them.

  • I think this would be very frustrating in the moment, but something to laugh about after surviving. I think it's cool that they were able to find multiple uses for the tootsie rolls, and survive off of them. I don't know if I could survive off of only tootsie rolls for 2 weeks.

    • this is definitely a very frustrating situation they found themselves in. And many of those soldiers did find it funny and made jokes about it afterwards. It is remarkable how smart they were to figure out how to use them to save lives.

This reply was deleted.
eXTReMe Tracker