|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.
In 1950 when the war started, the manufacturing muscle of Korea was located in the north and the south was the agricultural region of the country. Today North Korea is mired in poverty and shut off from the world, while South Korea is a democratic, dynamic, industrial nation with the sixth largest economy in the world. My service and that of all the people who fought in that "forgotten war" enabled South Korea to become what it is and kept it from becoming the rest of North Korea.
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,
Association Past President, Historian & Web Site Director