Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On Veterans' Day, let's remember the forgotten veterans of the Korean War

Marines in battle, November 1950

The 1st Marine Division fought its way out of encirclement in harsh winter and rough terrain

The U.S. Navy destroyed port facilities at Hungnan after troops were evacuated

On days of remembrance like this one, we always say that the sacrifices of our veterans will never be forgotten. Yet, for decades, while WWII veterans have been lauded as "the greatest generation" and Vietnam veterans have been recognized as well, little is ever said about the hundreds of thousands of veterans of the Korean War. At that war's peak, nearly half a million American troops were engaged on the Korean peninsula, along with a like number of United Nations allies. Some 36,000 Americans were killed and nearly 100,000 wounded.

The pictures above are from one of the bloodiest campaigns of the war -- the two-week battle by the 1st Marine Division and an Army Task Force to retreat from the Chosin Reservoir to the port of Hungnan in November 1950. After UN forces flanked the North Koreans at Inchon and chased them almost to the Chinese border, Mao's China joined the conflict in huge numbers. Americans were encircled at Chosin and had to fight their way out. In the largest naval operation of its kind in U.S. history, they were evacuated at Hungnan and the port destroyed by the U.S. Navy. Marine and Army casualties in the two-week battle totalled 1,029 killed, 4,582 wounded, and 4,894 missing. The remains of most of those initially categorized as missing were recovered in an exchange with the Chinese after the battle, bringing the total dead to some 6,000. Other remains have been recovered since the war but many marines and soldiers remain to this day unaccounted for.

What are your thoughts on this Veterans' Day? Post a comment.


  1. Mr. Burke:

    Thank you for a rare breath of fresh air between the political blogospheres.

    Based on the number of comments, yours would appear to be a thankless task. I wanted you to know that at least one person out here is cheering you on.

    Thanks again.

  2. Thanks for the complimentary comment. This blog's audience is not big. It would be easy to post provocative left-wing or right-wing stuff and draw a lot of people, because it is the two wings that feed each other. But our audience is growing, steadily if slowly. You can help by telling your friends and by clicking on that share button to circulate posts you like via one or more internet social media. Thanks again.