My Recollections Of the Korean “War.” Page 1

Photo of crew

On June 25, 1950, 59 years ago, an event occurred that has remained prominently in my mind all these years. It was an event that nobody really cared about, and was soon forgotten. The only men it meant anything to were the 36,913 who were killed. Their deaths were needless, in a God forsaken country that no one ever heard of, or cared about. It affected thousands of lives, and yes, I remember “the Forgotten War.

I was 20 years old at the time, stationed at Kadena AFB, on Okinawa.I was proud to be in the 15th AF, the Strategic Air Command, and best of all I was a crewmember on a great RB-29 named Tiger Lil. We were the lead crew, a crew of professional well trained men devoted to their job. So life was good, I loved the AF, and was proud of my aircraft. The “good life” was about to end. One afternoon I was sitting in the shade under the wing of Tiger Lil drinking a coke, when a stream of B-29s started landing. Soon the air field was crowded with B-29s. One of the incoming craft parked right next to mine, so I asked one of the crewmembers who they were. He said they were the 19th Bomb Group from Guam. He said they were there for the “war.” I asked “what “war.” He said the war in Korea , and they were to load up and start bombing as quickly as possible. I tried to find out if the U.S. had been attacked. If not then why were we entering a war with a small country not much bigger than Florida. The only reason was that North Korea had invaded South Korea. I figured “so what.” It did not seem like we should get involved but soon we were sending waves of B-29s over to bomb a country that had no Navy, limited Air Force, and an Army of questionable training. So the U.S. wanted this war, one that would make us wish we had never gotten involved.

As we sent waves of bombers over they received very little opposition, making it look like a pushover. Our troops on the ground were quickly advancing to the North toward the Yalu River, which was the border between North Korea and China and Russia. As our troops continued their advancement to the Yalu it looked like the war would soon be over. General MacArthur , housed in the plush Dai Ichi building in Japan , was in complete charge of our strategy. As our troops on the ground were quickly advancing toward the border, several of our highest ranking Generals held a meeting with MacArthur, and warned him that if we continued any further advance we could possible anger the Chinese and the Russians. MacArthur ordered to continue the push, and issued one of his famous statements. “We will be home by Christmas.” How pathetic, as he would shortly have to eat those words. A frightening change was about to happen which would put the U.S. in extreme danger. Suddenly, without warning, over a hundred thousand Chinese troops swarmed across the border forcing our forces to immediately retreat. Our Marines suffered a crushing defeat at the Chosin Reservoir, and had to run for their lives to board ships that would aid their retreat. There were many ships waiting for the Marines to escape the onslaught of Chinese soldiers. It was too late as many Marines were lost and the damage was already done. Our ground war was virtually over and we were pushed back to the 38th parallel where we started from.

MacArthur had made the fatal mistake of underestimating the enemy. He was having major problems with President Truman over his performance. He actually wanted to have complete control of a string of Atomic Bombs and drop them in a line across North Korea. President Truman, fearful of starting WWIII eventually fired him.

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