Dan Blocker risked it all for his fellow servicemen in the Korean War

Before he was Big Hoss, Blocker was a war hero.

CBS Television Distribution

Dan Blocker lived so many different lives before his untimely passing at 43. He'd been a football star in his native Texas, leading Sul Ross State Teacher's College to many a victory. He was a rodeo performer. He was a bouncer. He was even a high school English teacher. Obviously, Blocker was also Big Hoss on Bonanza.

But did you know he was a combat veteran of the Korean War? 1997's Bonanza, the Definitive Ponderosa Companion by Melany Shapiro detailed Blocker's service and told the tale of a brutal firefight that nearly cost the Western star everything. 

One Sunday afternoon, the U.S. 45th Division came under fire for four hours. The patrolmen learned a lesson about the bitter irony of war and the dear price of battle.

In a dire, do-or-die exchange with the enemy, the American patrol watched two of its members die while two more fell wounded.

The patrol was led by 1st Lt. Frank L. Garrison, of Lawton, Oklahoma, and the hero of our story, Dan D. Blocker of O'Donnell, Texas. 

The patrol ran into a Communist ambush deep in enemy territory. The Americans decided to fight it out, even though they were severely outnumbered. A member of their ranks was wounded, and none of his brothers-in-arms could reach him, as they were all pinned down by enemy fire.

Blocker withstood enemy small arms, machine guns, and mortar fire for over four hours. Meanwhile, he returned fire, giving the Koreans a taste of Thunderbird lead. 

Unfortunately, the action ended with the injured combatant dying before Blocker and his patrolmen could reach him for rescue.

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2 Comments

MikefromJersey 1 day ago
David Greenland's Bonanza book is a better read.
Learn of the time he appeared as a monster on the The Three Stooges.
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