KOREA

LAND OF MORNING CALM

 

LAND FORCES | UNITED STATES, COMMONWEALTH & UNITED NATIONS

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1st Cav

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2d Div

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3d Div

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7th Div

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24th Div

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25th Div

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40th Div

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45th Div

1st CAVALRY DIVISION

The third division to sail from Japan in the summer of 1950, the 'First Team' made the first amphibious landing of the war at Pohang-dong and was the first unit to approach the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.  The Chinese intervention forced them back from Unsan over the 38th Parallel which the 1st Cavalry crossed again on the offensive in 1951 where the settled until relieved at the end of the year.

2d INFANTRY DIVISION

Holding their motto coined during World War I, the 2d Division came second to none during the Korean War.  The first to deploy directly from the United States, the division fought in Korea from August 1950 through the armistice and after a brief return to the States, continues to defend the DMZ today.  Baptized at the Naktong, tested at the Ch'ongch'on River and during the May Massacre, the Indianhead held strong through countless other engagements during combat in Korea.

3d INFANTRY DIVISION

Pulling units headquartered throughout the United States and the 65th Infantry from Puerto Rico, the 3d Divisions rapid response to Korea earned it the title of Fire Brigade.  Fully assembling in Japan before landing in Wonsan to defend the X Corps evacuation from the east coast, the 3d Division remained in the war for the duration.  From patrols and skirmishes along the Imjin to settling in the Kumsong area, the Division continued a legacy it began in the First World War.

7th INFANTRY DIVISION

Code named Bayonet for its movement to Korea in September 1950, the 7th Division had been rebuilt with replacements from the United States and the remaining third from conscripted South Koreans.  The Division was quickly forged into a powerful fighting force that remained in Korea for the entirety of the war, from the Inchon landing through the devastating Chosin Reservoir campaign and into the wire laced trenches as stalemate ensued.

24th INFANTRY DIVISION

Immediately after the outbreak of war, the 24th Division was called on in Japan to be the first to fight against the North Korean invasion in the first week of July 1950.  Unprepared for the intensity brought forth by the enemy, the Division was repeatedly battered only to push back again and again.  In the first year of fighting, the 24th Division soldiers put more miles on their boots than any other unit fighting up and down the Korean peninsula from their first contact near Osan to Taejon, Pusan, up towards the northern border and back again.

25th INFANTRY DIVISION

The 25th Division followed as the second unit on Korean soil in 1950 and the Tropic Lightning struck against a determined enemy.  As understrength as any unit in the first summer, the Division's two organic regiments along with the doomed 29th Regimental Combat Team charged through Korea, defending the Pusan perimeter and fighting across the 38th Parallel and back again where they settled for the duration of the war.

40th INFANTRY DIVISION

The only other National Guard division activated for the war in Korea, the 40th Division sailed from California to Japan and finally to Korea after a year of occupation and training duties.  A cohesive and well prepared unit, men of the Fireball took over cold bunkers from the tired 24th Division in January 1952.  They were immediately in combat, and remained at the sharp end through the Punchbowl, Heartbreak Ridge, and Sandbag Castle until returning home in 1954.

45th INFANTRY DIVISION

The first National Guard division to deploy to Korea, the Thunderbirds arrived in country in December 1951 replacing the 1st Cavalry Division on the line.  Finding a home in the trench laced ridges of the Yonchon-Chorwon area, the Division claimed notable battles at Old Baldy, Pork Chop Hill, Heartbreak Ridge, and Luke's Castle.

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1st Cmwl Div

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25th CIB

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USMC

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5th RCT

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187th RCT

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Belgian Bn

 

1st COMMONWEALTH DIVISION

Comprised predominantly of British and Canadian brigades, the Commonwealth Division also included Australians, New Zealanders, and a small contingent of Indian forces.  This unified command was fully established in July 1951, some months after the first British, Canadian and Australian infantry battalions had rushed to the Korean peninsula.  From Kapyong to The Hook, the Commonwealth forces held Communist aggression at bay during their tenure in the Far East.

25th CANADIAN INFANTRY BRIGADE

First raised as the Special Force specifically for Korean duty, the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group was officially coined in November 1950 and arrived in Korea in May 1951.  Beginning with the 2d Battalions, each regimental battalion served year-long tours before rotating with their sister regiments.  Unlike the other Commonwealth units which were mixed, the Canadian Brigade was exclusive.  Their 'Strange Battleground' ranged from obscure hills known by number, forgotten fights like Songgok, and the infamous Kapyong.

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

Combat in Korea proved the value of the Marine Corps who were facing a question of obsolescence in the post-war period.  Carrying a reputation from victories against the Japanese and still using Second World War equipment including their signature khaki leggings, the North Koreans and Chinese alike came to fear the rugged Marine Corps, heeding the warning to beware of the yellow-legs.

5TH REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM

Coming straight from Hawaii in July 1950, the 5th R.C.T. supported the under strength and rapidly depleting 1st Cavalry, 24th, and 25th Divisions in defense of the Pusan Perimeter.  The Bobcats remained attached to the 24th Division after the 34th Infantry was reduced to paper status and continued to serve on Korean soil after the 24th rotated out.  

187th AIRBORNE R.C.T.

The only airborne unit to serve in Korea was quickly organized out of Fort Campbell, pulling paratroopers and supporting units from other airborne units.  After the 3d Battalion advance party fought through Kimpo airfield in September 1950, the regiment made two combat jumps during nine months of combat.  They left Korea for garrison duty in Japan, a familiar country from occupation duty and where they received their moniker 'Rakkasans' a few years prior.

SPARTA BATTALION

Beginning in ancient times after their historic stand at Thermopylae, the Spartans forged an image of revered warriors.  The Greeks deployed to Korea at the end of 1950 to support the United Nations' effort to uphold democracy and deter the threat of an oppressive dictatorship, exactly as the outnumbered Spartans had done thousands of years before and throughout their rich history.  After their own civil war against communism, the Greeks were passionate about upholding the values of freedom as far away as Korea. 

BELGIAN BATTALION

While their own nation remained in turmoil following the Second World War, French and Dutch speaking Belgians and Luxembourgers seized the opportunity to assist the war effort in Korea and mustered a battalion sized force of all volunteers.  Initially, seven hundred troops donned their iconic brown berets and headed for the Far East, beginning a rotation of battalions that lasted through the war.

NAVAL FORCES | U.S. NAVY, ROYAL NAVY & ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY

 
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UNITED STATES NAVY

At the war's beginning, United States Naval Forces in the Far East were slimmed down from wartime strength and the force possessed only a few operational vessels.  It was a major effort to recommission ships needed, but soon enough the Navy became a superior adversary along the Korean coast providing fire support, coastal bombardments, blockades, mine sweeping, amphibious assault and evacuation, and much more.

ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY

Arriving in time to take on operations to support the defense of the Pusan Perimeter, the Canadian Navy deployed its Tribal class destroyers for coastal offense, blockades, assisting coastal villages, and bombarding rail lines earning them the moniker of the "Trainbusters Club."  Regarded with prestige for their sheer power, the Canadian destroyers delivered exactly that in Korean waters.

ROYAL NAVY

At the breakout of war on the Korean peninsula, the Royal Navy was well prepared and as strong in numbers as its United States' allies initially committed in Far Eastern waters.  Contributing carriers, destroyers, cruisers and frigates, the Royal Navy operated along both coasts in coordinated efforts with United Nations Forces for an effective fighting force at sea.

AIR FORCES | UNITED STATES, GREECE & SOUTH AFRICA

 
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UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

War in Korea was the first conflict for the newly created U.S. Air Force that had achieved independence from the Army less than three years earlier in September 1947.  Attempting to expand and gain strength in a time of reductions across all services, the Far East Air Force drew from existing units and activated new wings and groups to support the air war in Korea.  From combat cargo to pulverizing the mountainous landscape, intercepting Russian MiGs, and blowing away trains, the Air Force exhibited its thunder over the Far East.

ROYAL HELLENIC AIR FORCE

A desperate need for airlifting operations brought Greece in as the fifth nation to provide an air force in Korea.  Beginning in early December 1950, the 13th Flight ferried battered soldiers and marines from North Korea to safety.  After World War II, the 13th Bombing Squadron was the sole remaining unit of the RHAF and had been reflagged as a transport unit to support troops in Korea.  The unit embodied the best of Spartan attitude in the air just as they did on land.

SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE

Having proved their record in the Second World War, No. 2 Squadron was selected to represent the Union during the Korean War.  Initially the call for volunteers was met with an overwhelming response from active service, veterans, and citizens, and it was decided to send them off and purchase all equipment from the United States.  Initially, the squadron flew P-51 Mustangs and transitioned to the F-86 Sabre in February 1953.  The squadron was well respected within the 18th Fighter Bomber Wing to which they were attached and ultimately left with a resounding record of sorties and missions flown.