U.S. Artillery (National Archives)
Sixty-three years ago, on June 25, 1950, North Korean forces conducted a brutal surprise attack into South Korea, essentially overrunning the entire country within a few weeks. In about a month South Korean, American and United Nations troops clung to a small toe hold in the Pusan Peninsula at the southern tip of the country.
For the next month and a half the Allied forces held out against multiple attacks. The entire war changed after a daring assault halfway up the coast at Inchon that disrupted supply lines and resulted in the isolation of North Korean forces in the south.
Following the Inchon invasion, Allied forces pushed the invaders back into North Korea. Only the involvement of Chinese and Russian forces saved the North Korean People’s Army from total defeat. The famous battle of the Chosin Reservoir, in which 30,000 United Nations troops were surrounded by twice as many Chinese and North Koreans, took place in December of 1950. The actions of American forces to defend themselves and fight their way back to the coast in the bitter cold of winter are legendary.
As early as 1951, President Truman began peace negotiations, and although fighting continued for two more years, an agreement to cease hostilities was finally agreed to with the signing of an armistice in 1953.
The tension in the Korean Peninsula continues to this day, but those who fought there saved a country from annihilation.
Our Korean War veterans are our heroes of the week.