1950 was a very dark period for the US Army
This Saturday June 25th Marks the start date of the Korean War. 72 years ago on that day the North Korean Army crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea. The cost in human life was staggering. It is estimated that the Communist forces lost approximately 800,000 soldiers that were killed compared to South Koreas 150,000. Our American losses were 36,574. This happened in three years!
Over the years I have had the privilege and honor to meet many veterans from all of our services and wars going back to WW2. But Korea sticks out in my mind by the causality rate for the period of time.
The summer of 1950 was a very dark period for the US Army. They had won a World War five years earlier. And as always after a large conflict the government and the American people wanted to get on with life. What does that translate too? Budget cuts throughout the entire military. We had Armies of occupation in Germany and Japan. Those soldiers did not have as much time training for war as they did for rebuilding nations we defeated in the previous war. Budgets were tight and priorities redirected.
Then North Korea decided to take back South Korea, our allie. President Truman immediately sent troops who were unprepared and under gunned. At the time North Korea was using a WW2 tank from the Soviet Allies and our troops had nothing in the pacific theater to stop them. The US Army knew what was needed but wasn’t prepared at no fault of their own. As happens after every war budget and personnel cuts often get cut to deep and the price was paid yet again with American soldier blood.
There were many, many fascinating aspects of the Korean War that you should learn about. Can you imagine fighting in temperatures at 40 below wind chill? So cold your rifle would freeze and not function.
I could talk about this all day; however a column is only so long. I am honored to have known so many of these heroes and one is still alive and well. He fought on pork-chop hill at the end of the war as an infantryman.
Our project at the National Cemetery is going strong. We have a tremendous amount of support from our community. And for that I thank you. Together we will make this happen.
People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf: George Orwell