KOREAN WAR 1950-1953
WHEREAS, Sixty five years ago, on July 27, 1953, the Korean War ended. In January 1950, U.S. Secretary of State, Dean Acheson declared South Korea to be outside the U.S. line of Defense. That signaled to Joseph Stalin, Soviet Premier, that the U.S. did not view South Korea as strategically importance, so in April of 1950 Stalin gave Kim II Sung, the leader of North Korea, the go-ahead to invade South Korea. On June 25, 1950 Kim II Sung invaded South Korea. Within two months after the start of the war, North Korea almost conquered South Korea leaving South Korea in control of only the Southern City of Busan, an area that became known as the Busan Perimeter. At that point, the U.S. along with support from 15 other countries, came to the defense of South Korea, and by October 1950 re-conquered the entire area that had been lost to the North. A month later the UN forces under U.S. command pushed the Korean communists almost to the border with China. On October 25, 1950, with General Douglas MacArthur's United Nations forces closing in a victorious end to the Korean War, Communist Chinese forces began pouring across the border attacking the UN Forces.
Striking the spread out UN troops with overwhelming force, they compelled them to retreat all across the front. In northeastern Korea, the US X Corps, led by Major General Ned Almond, was strung out with its units unable to support each other. Those units near the Chasin (Changjin) Reservoir included the 1st Marine Division and elements of the 7th Infantry Division.
Advancing quickly, the Ninth Army Group of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) blunted X Corps advance and swarmed around the UN troops at Chosin. Alerted to their predicament, Almond ordered the commander of the 1st Marine Division, Major General Oliver P. Smith, to begin a fighting retreat back towards the coast.
Endured extreme cold and severe weather, the 5th and 7th Marines attacked from their positions near Yudam-ni, on the west bank of the reservoir, with some success against the PLA forces in the area, successfully defended their positions at Yudam-ni and Hagaru-ri against Chinese human wave assaults. On November 29, Smith contacted Colonel "Chesty" Puller, commanding the 1st Marine Regiment, at Koto-ri and asked him to assemble a task force to re-open the road from there to Hagaru-ri.
Complying, Puller formed a force consisting of Lieutenant Colonel Douglas B. Drysdale"s 41 Independent Commando (Royal Marines Battalion), G Company (1st Marines), B Company (31st Infantry), and other rear echelon troops. Numbering 900 men, the 140-vehicle task force departed on the 29th, with Drysdale in
command. Pushing up the road to Hargaru-ri, the task force became bogged down after being ambushed by Chinese troops. Fighting in an area that was dubbed "Hell Fire Valley," Drysdale was reinforced by tanks sent by Puller.
Pressing on, Drysdale's men ran a gauntlet of fire and reached Hagaru-ri with the bulk of 41 Commando, G Company, and the tanks. During the attack, the B Company, 31st Infantry, became separated and isolated along the road. While most were killed or captured, some were able to escape back to Koto-ri. While the Marines were fighting to the west, the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT) of the 7th Infantry was battling for its life on the eastern shore of the reservoir.
Repeatedly assaulted by the 80th and 81st PLA divisions, the 3,000-man 31st RCT was worn down and overrun. Some survivors of the unit reached the Marine lines at Hagaru-ri on December 2.
Holding his position at Hagaru-ri, Smith ordered the 5th and 7th Marines to abandon the area around Yudam-ni and link up with the rest of the division. Fighting a brutal three-day battle, the Marines entered Hagaru-ri on December 4. Two days later, Smith's command began fighting their way back to Koto-ri.
Battling overwhelming odds, the Marines and other elements of X Corps attacked continuously as they moved towards the port of Hungnam. A highlight of the campaign occurred on December 9, when a bridge was constructed over a 1,500-ft. gorge between Koto-ri and Chinhung-ni using bridge sections dropped by the US Air Force. Cutting through the enemy, the last of the "Frozen Chasin" reached Hungnam on December 11.
In the fighting, the Marines and other UN troops effectively destroyed or crippled seven Chinese divisions which attempted to block their progress. Marine losses in the campaign numbered 836 killed and 12,000 wounded. Most of the latter were frostbite injuries inflicted by the severe cold and winter weather. US Army losses numbered around 2,000 killed and 1,000 wounded. Precise casualties for the Chinese are not known but are estimated at 35,000 killed. Upon reaching Hungnam, the veterans of Chasin Reservoir were evacuated as part of the large amphibious operation to rescue UN troops from northeastern Korea.
By January 1951 the combined Chinese-North Korean forces were able to push the u.s.-south Korean forces south of Seoul until the U.S.-South Korean forces were able to push back the Chinese North Korean forces half way down the peninsula, to the 38th degree parallel line where both forces were when the war started
The war stayed in a stalemate situation for two and a half years. Neither North Korea nor South Korea wanted to end the war. Joseph Stalin died in March 1953, although officially the Soviet Union was not an active participant in the Korean War because the Soviet Union did not want the war to expand into a 3rd world war, the Soviets did give Korean leader Kim II Sung significant political backing. Declassified information revealed that Soviet fighter pilots did indeed engage U.S. fighter pilots in areal combat. Stalin's successor, Nikita Krushchev, pushed Kirn II Sung to bring the war to an end. On July 27, 1953 the U.S., North Korea, and China signed the Korean Armistice Agreement to halt the fighting. Although bound by the agreement, South Korea never signed the Armistice Agreement. South Korea refused to sign the cease fire agreement due to their objection to repatriating North Korean POW's. To accommodate South Korea's wishes, a complex prisoner swap process known as Operation Big Switch and Operation Little Switch was set up and administered by neutral countries led by India. The process allowed POW's who did not want to repatriate to stay where they were.
Since the agreement signed is just a Truce Agreement, the Korean War never ended. This means that the fighting only halted, not ended, on July 27, 1953 and can resume any time. The line separating South Korea and North Korea, the 38 degree N parallel, when the war ended is the line that separated the two countries at the beginning of the war.
WHEREAS; American Forces fought and died bravely for democracy and to prevent the spread of communism in a foreign country, 33,652 Americans died in battle, 7,704 remain Missing In Action.
RESOLVED, That the American GI Forum dedicate this conference to Korean War Veterans, living and deceased, who have never had an official Day of Recognition, and also a copy of resolution submitted to the Korean War Veterans Associations.
Submitted on this, 27h day of July 2018, at the American GI Forum National Conference, convened in San Antonio, Texas.