Portrait of MacArthur at Inchon.

During MacArthur's brilliant yet sometimes flawed actions during WWII in the Philippines, he had the freedom to launch daring island hopping attacks as he deemed necessary. His victorious "leapfrogging" amphibious operations became legendary. Now he was planning a landing force on Inchon, which would isolate Seoul from the North. The task was hazardous, with a narrow channel, and extreme tide changes. It would be known as operation Chromite. His plan was immediately questioned by everyone, and most thought Inchon was the "worst possible place" and early fall the "worst possible time" for a landing. The tide falls more than 30 feet twice a day. The timing of landing 70,000 men ashore using LSTs was an insane plan as the LST draws 29 feet of water. Generals at the briefing by MacArthur would not recommend the action. MacArthur fired back that they either approve the operation or loose the entire Pusan Perimeter. Backed in a corner, they reluctantly approved the assault.


For MacArthur's invasion of Inchon to become a successful reality, it would be necessary to furnish his team with a multitude of aerial photographs taken at low tide, high tide, and from various altitudes. The crew of "TIGER LIL", an RB-29 of the 31st SRS was given the assignment to accomplish this vital photography. I was the senior Aerial Photographer on that RB-29, and was responsible for this mission. The photos were produced and delivered with the desired results. Many letters of commendation came in to our C.O, Lt. Col. Edward D. Edwards. Lt. Gen. Stratemeyer wrote " The preceding commendations are forwarded with a deep feeling of appreciation. The speed and skill with which your organization accomplished the assigned photographic missions contributed greatly to the success of the INCHON LANDING. It is requested the contents of this correspondence be passed on to the members of your command". Another from Major General Charles A. Willoughby to Lt. Col. G.J.Long III, director of Recon. Deputy for Intelligence: "Above commendations for terrain study of Seoul and environs, is forwarded with appreciation for the production of a large number of copies of aerial photographs in a period of two days. Inclusion of original photographs materially increased the usefulness of the volume and contributed to the success of the INCHON LANDING".

The Inchon Landing was another great success for MacArthur. North Korea, knowing they were outflanked, had to retreat and reorganize, as U.S. Forces moved on and retook Seoul.

Gen. MacArthur during Inchon invasion - ctsy. Army Archives

Struble, MacArthur & Smith tour Inchon, 1950 - ctsy. Army Archives

Index - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9
Part 10 - Part 11 - Part 12 - Part 13 - Part 14 - Part 15 - Part 16 - Part 17

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