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VETERAN OF FOREIGN WARS

THE FORGOTTEN WAR

Home
THE CROSS OF MALTA
MEMORIAL DAY...
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
"LEAST WE FORGET"
THE EVIL AXIS
THE FORGOTTEN WAR
THE VIET NAM WAR
THE CAMPAIGNS
THE BALKINS
THE GULF WAR DESERT STORM
THE USS COLE
SOMALIA
AFGHANISTAN
IRAQI FREEDOM
GREAT LINKS
GREAT LINKS II

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Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war. ~Otto Von Bismark

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THE INFANTRYMAN'S CREED

 

THIS IS MY RIFLE. There are many like it but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I master my life. My rifle, without me is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than any enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will.... My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit... My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weakness, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will... Before God I swear this creed. My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but Peace.

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"KOREAN ARMY SET FOR WAR," Tokyo, Oct. 31 (United Press). "Sihn Sung Mo, South Korean defense minister, here to see General Douglas MacArthur, said today that his army was ready and waiting to invade Communist-controlled North Korea, but that it had been restrained by American officials. At the same time President Syngman Rhee said in Korea that his government would not much longer tolerate a divided Korea 'and if we have to settle this thing by war, we will do all the fighting needed.'"

--The Washington Post, November 1, 1949

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There were both severe trials and staggering accomplishments during the war: the humiliating retreat of inexperienced U.S. soldiers in the opening days of the war; the brilliant Inchon landings masterminded by MacArthur; the grittiness exhibited in Chosin by the 1st Marine Division surrounded by a vast Chinese force; and the savage hill fighting during the last years of the conflict.

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In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons.

Croesus

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The Korean War originated in the division of Korea into South Korea and North Korea after World War II (1939-1945). Efforts to reunify the peninsula after the war failed, and in 1948 the South proclaimed the Republic of Korea and the North established the People's Republic of Korea. In 1949, border fighting broke out between the North and the South. On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces crossed the dividing line and invaded the South. Soon, in defense of the South, the United States joined the fighting under the banner of the United Nations (UN), along with small contingents of British, Canadian, Australian, and Turkish troops. In October 1950, China joined the war on the North's side. By the time a cease-fire agreement was signed on July 27, 1953, millions of soldiers and civilians had perished. The armistice ended the fighting, but Korea has remained divided for decades since and subject to the possibility of a new war at any time.

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On June 25, 1950 at 4 a.m., 70,000 North Korean troops with Russian T-34 tanks crossed the thirty-eighth parallel. President Truman appealed to the United Nations to take "police action" against the "unwarranted" attack. Hence, under the "name of the United Nations", the United States was able to send troops and forces.

On June 29, the North Korean Army, Korean People's Army (KPA), pressed southward and captured Seoul. By August, KPA forces were on their drive toward the Pusan perimeter, which consisted of the northern area of Pohang, southern area of Chinju-Masan region, and Taegu as the major center city.

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The U.N forces were on the defensive side until September 15 when the American forces, under the command of General MacArthur successfully landed on Inchon. The landing allowed the U.N forces to break through the Pusan perimeter, to retake Seoul, and to cross the thirty-eighth parallel by September 30. By the end of the first phase of the Korean war, 111,000 South Koreans died and 57,000 were missing.

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During the months of May and April of 1951, there was a sort of "see-saw" fighting along the thirty-eighth parallel with neither units really advancing beyond the parallel. By summer of 1951, talks for an armistice began.

Throughout mid-1951 to 1953, negotiation for peace treaty stalled and reopened. A major issue that stalled negotiations was whether POWs should be repatriated on voluntary basis or not. In addition, accusations about war crimes committed by United States stall ed negotiations.

Fighting continued with intensified guerilla warfare during the armistice talk. "Operation Ratkiller" was designed to counter guerilla warfare. Also, aerial bombing in North Korea also intensified as the negotiation continued. In fact, to intimate North Korea and in order to end the war quickly, the use of nuclear weapons were considered.

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12/22/51--

On December 22, General Walker was killed in a road accident. Called to replace him was General Mathew Ridgeway. Ridgeway, the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II, was a no-nonsense commander who had a good personal relationship with MacArthur. MacArthur gave Ridgeway unified command of all the forces in Korea; he was also given relative freedom of action

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The Korean War was one of the most destructive of the 20th century. Perhaps as many as 4 million Koreans died throughout the peninsula, two-thirds of them civilians. (This compares, for example, with the 2.3 million Japanese who died in World War II.) China lost up to 1 million soldiers, and the United States suffered 54,246 dead and 103,284 wounded. Other UN nations suffered 3,322 dead and 11,949 wounded. Economic and social damage to the Korea Peninsula was incalculable, especially in the North, where three years of bombing left hardly a modern building standing. Decades later, Koreans still seek reconciliation and eventual reunification of their torn nation.

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 In the second phase of the Korean war, KPA forces were in retreat. In two days, the Southern forces were approximately 25 miles north of the parallel. Within a week, they captured Wonson, located on the eastern side of North Korea. Thereafter, they marched toward the Yalu River with almost no resistance from the Northern units.

The unexpected decision of China's entry into the war in early October turned the tide of the war. The Northern units, consisting of Sino-Korean troops, sent the U.N forces retreating again. On December 6, the Communist forces retook Pyongyang. And by the end of December, they recrossed the parallel and retook Seoul.

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But Northern forces were not as successful as their first attack because by the end of January 1951, the U.N forces were back on the Han river and by March 14, they were able to retake Seoul from North Korea's hands. The conditions in Korea during this time was one of desperation. One can only imagine the chaos not only in Seoul, which exchanged hands 4 times, but in every city in both North and South Korea. Koreans frantically fled their homes in search for refugee camps, safety, shelter, and food.

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By June 8, 1953, the basic agreement over the POW issue was settled. Both sides agreed on the principle of voluntary repatriation. And by June 17, agreement on the final truce-demarcation line became finalized. Nevertheless, everyone but Syngman Rhee was pleased with the negotiations. He jeopardized the negotiations allowing the release and escape of 27,000 Korean POWs on June 18. This angered North Koreans who wanted United States to take the responsibility to make certain that the negotiations would be carried out by Sygnman Rhee. In one final offensive attack where 7,400 South Koreans were killed and United States forces endangered, United States agreed to take responsibility in enforcing the agreement of the armistice. The armistice was finally signed on July 27, 1953.

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 If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.

Thomas Paine

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"President Harry S. Truman is shown at his desk at the White House signing a proclamation declaring a national emergency." December 16, 1950

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The United States suffered 33,665 killed in action in Korea: 3,275 died there from non-hostile causes. *TOTAL: 36,940 Americans gave their lives in the Korean Theater. There were 92,134 Americans wounded in action in 103,284 incidents. A total of 1,789,000 Americans served in the Korean theater during the Korean War from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. There are still 8,176 MIAs.

South Korea sustained 1,312,836 military casualties, including 415,004 dead; casualties among other United Nations allies totaled 16,532, including 3,094 dead. Estimated Communist casualties were 2 million. The economic and social damage to the Korean nation was incalculable.

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I AM AN MP – DON’T FOLLOW ME

I am the Infantry, follow me. Not a foot soldier, we're much more you see. We'll take the fight to the enemy. I am the Infantry, the first of the three. I am the Calvary, follow me. A modern horse soldier in an APC. Charging straight forward to the enemy. I am the Cav, most daring of the three. I am the Armor, follow me. The arm of decision I'll always be. When the going gets rough, call on me. I am the Armor, the best of the three. Armor, Cav, and Infantry rush headlong into the melee. Breaking the lines like an angry sea deep into enemy territory. Approaching a crossroads, what do we see? The area secured by two lonely MP's Directing us forward, how can this be? How long have they been waiting for me? What a crazy person this MP must be. He has no firepower or armor like me. And I thought everyone followed the three Armor, Cav, and Infantry. I am the MP, don't follow me. You don't want to be where I will be. Guarding the crossroads, waiting for the three. Just my partner, a sixteen, a sixty and me. With the objective taken, wait and see. No one will remember the lonely MP Who held this ground so they could run free, but that's my job, supporting the three."

Author: Sgt. Allan L. Perkins, USA MPC

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