BY NORTH KOREA
|At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the 38th
parallel. Russia occupied the North and the United States
the South. On 25 June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea
in an attempt to unify the country under communism. The United
Nations demanded a withdrawal. When North Korea refused, United
Nations military forces, under American leadership, went to
war. Twenty-two countries joined the United Nations “Police
Action” against North Korean and later, Chinese troops.
|In July 1950, the North Korean Army advanced south to capture
the South Korean capital of Seoul, and tried to push retreating
Allied Forces into the sea at Pusan. To stop the advance and
gain time, the United States flew in a task force of 500 men.
Heavily outnumbered, and without weapons capable of penetrating
North Korean tanks, they fought a delaying action and fell
back seventy miles in seventeen days. This tactic allowed
U.S. troops and equipment to land on the southeastern 140-mile
front, which became known as the Pusan Perimeter.
|One of the most brilliant strategies in military history
was the amphibious invasion at the Port of Inchon, Korea,
15 September 1950. A battalion of United States Marines went
in on a 30-foot tide and captured the off shore island of
Wolmi-Do, which protected Inchon. On the next tide, nine hours
later, United Nation troops climbed the Inchon sea walls and
fought into the heart of the city. The Inchon landing turned
the war’s course in favor of the Allies.
|After the landing at Inchon, September 1950, the South Korean
capital city of Seoul was recaptured. Simultaneously, United
Nations Forces broke out from the Pusan perimeter and drove
the communists north toward the Yalu River and the Chinese
border. UN Forces were told victory was at hand and they would
be home for Christmas. This did not happen for two more years.
|In November 1950, as United Nation Forces approached the
Chinese border, the Chinese army attacked with over 300,000
troops and surrounded UN Forces near the Chosin Reservoir.
These UN troops broke out and were evacuated to Pusan by sea.
Other UN Forces on the western front retreated south of the
38th parallel by land. After a period of rebuilding, a counter
offensive brought UN Forces back to the 38th parallel and
they retook the capital city of Seoul.
|Peace talks in Korea began 10 July 1951. A two-year stalemate
followed with brutal battles such as Heartbreak Ridge, Pork
Chop Hill, the Iron Triangle, and Old Baldy. Continuous battles
resulted in constantly changing truce lines. A major issue
was the repatriation of Chinese and North Korean prisoners-of-war,
who did not wish to return to their country. On 27 July 1953,
the United Nations, North Korea, and China signed an Armistice.
South Korea refused to sign. The fighting ended but, as of
25 June 2000, a peace treaty has never been signed and North
and South Korea remained divided.
IN THE MILITARY
|Black Americans were initially recruited to serve in the
Revolutionary War. Post-war laws first denied Blacks access
to military service, but they eventually fought and served
valiantly in all of the wars since 1812. Initially denied
freedoms, suffering rejection and segregation, they proved
themselves capable and courageous in fulfilling escalating
responsibilities in recognition of their abilities. Fully
integrated at the start of the Korean conflict and since,
Black Americans confirmed their ability to perform in battle
and at high levels of responsibility.
IN THE MILITARY
|Women have played important military roles since the Revolutionary
War. Although unfairly treated in early wars, they distinguished
themselves in teaching sanitation, nursing and spying. Disguised
as men, they fought on battlefields. Although women were authorized
to serve as nurses in 1861, they were not eligible for health
care, salary and a uniform until 1899. During World War II,
opposition to women in the military was strong. In May of
1942, the Women’s Auxiliary Corps was formed to serve
with the Army but did not receive military status until August
1943. The Nurse Corps was denied rank until 1947 and veteran
status until 1977. Women are now integrated into the military
and serve in all capacities and levels of command.