Newell veteran to be featured in six-part TV series

NEWELL – A Korean War veteran from Newell will be among those featured in a six-part TV series on significant military battles of the last 70 years.

The series, “Against the Odds,” premieres at 10 p.m. today on the newly inaugurated American Heroes Channel and will air on consecutive Monday nights. Previously the Military Channel, the American Heroes Channel debuts today in 62 million homes following an overhaul by Discovery Communications.

The premiere episode of “Against the Odds” will feature the battle of Hue City, site of one of the Vietnam War’s fiercest battles. The episode featuring Tom Powers, 83, of Newell, will air later in March or in early April.

Powers, a machine gunner with the Marines’ famed George Company during the Korean War, was interviewed for the TV special at his home in April 2013.

“I was kind of amazed. I never had seen anything like that done before,” Powers said of the filming experience.

A camera crew from the 43 Films production company spent the day with Powers and his wife, Joan, interviewing him about his experiences fighting in the Chosin Reservoir in the winter of 1950. Also there that day was 43 Films producer, editor and researcher Tracey Connor.

“Just to hear his voice – he’s like John Wayne. He’s just terrific,” Connor said.

Powers is in the trailer for the “Against the Odds” series, and his story, including his high school graduation picture, will be featured in an episode on the battle of Chosin Reservoir, Connor said.

This is not the first time Powers, a native of the Bronx, N.Y., has received media attention for his combat experiences in the Korean War. He figures prominently in the book “Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War’s Greatest Untold Story – The Epic Stand of the Marines of George Company” (Da Capo Press, 2010) by historian Patrick K. O’Donnell.

O’Donnell interviewed Powers in his home and by phone.

“All of a sudden, the book comes out, and then they’re getting in touch with us (for the TV special),” Powers said.

Powers also can be seen in a famous Korean War photograph taken by noted photojournalist David Douglas Duncan and published in LIFE magazine. The photo shows Powers’ George Company, of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Division, coming out of the mountains after fighting in the Chosin Reservoir.

Each episode of “Against the Odds” will use archival footage and first-hand interviews to recreate the featured battles. In addition to the Vietnam and Korean wars, the series will profile the World War II battles of Okinawa, the Bulge and Tarawa, and the Iraq War battle of Ramadi.

(Huba can be contacted at