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An Historical Perspective ... the Korean War's Place in History

This web site is dedicated to all those men and women of the Armed Forces who served in Korea. Although this site speaks only of the services of one small group of men, it is not forgotten it was a team effort in that far away place.

Our perspective of the Korean War, belittled at the time by its designation as a "Police Action", is improved by time and distance. It is described by some as a forgotten war, but it is important now for all of you to understand how it came to be, what we did there, and to take lessons from it.

After World War II we had disarmed because we had no enemies to fight. Agreements had been made at Yalta and Potsdam concerning the governing of Germany and establishment of democratic governments in the freed countries.

As early as 1946 Churchill made warning that "an iron curtain has descended across the continent." Free elections were not held and communist governments were imposed on Eastern Europe.

In late 1949 the position of the US Army was that Korea was of "little strategic value". A National Security policy paper of December 1949, which sought to apply the doctrine of "containment" of Soviet expansion to the Far East, established our defensive perimeter as running from the Aleutians to Japan, and then to the Ryukyu Islands and to the Philippines. In retrospect, many feel the public announcement of the defense perimeter outside of Korea implied a lack of will to defend Korea and was an invitation to the North Korean invasion.

On June 25, 1950 Communist military forces from North Korea invaded the territory of South Korea.

Averell Harriman called it "a sour little war". Republicans called it "the foreign policy blunder of the century" and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Omar Bradley called it "the wrong war in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong enemy".

The Korean War was all of those things - but it was something else. It was the turning point for America's post-war military and diplomatic strategy. Korea marked the first time the United States went to war to halt Communist military expansion. It was the turning point from disarmament and military weakness to military strength. After Korea, America's military strength was placed in readiness around the world.

Today the Berlin wall is down. The nations of Eastern Europe are free and clamoring to join NATO.

Which blow of the woodsman's ax fells the tree? The last? Not so! It was the first blow which made the last blow possible.

The 8th and 13th Bomb Squadron fought together on the first day of the war for the United States. The first casualties were a 13th crew and the second casualty was from the 8th.

There, in Korea, was the blow of the ax which brought down the Berlin Wall, freed the Eastern European countries, and marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union.

Today we are again cutting out the fat -- and the muscle -- of our military forces. Our military forces have insufficient supplies and equipment to do the job assigned. Extraordinary demands are being placed on our men in uniform in regards to family separation. In Washington the debate goes on about what to do with "the surplus".

So this site is dedicated to the members of our Armed Forces who fought for the freedom of others and ourselves in a faraway place. We are resolved that the war is not forgotten and neither are the lessons we learned there. Freedom is not free.

-- Charles Hinton,
13th Navigator

Association Past President, Historian & Web Site Director
Charles Hinton

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