Korean Climate

Mean Temp 24.7°C 76.46°F at Taegu [note]

Rainy, windy weather [note]

1950 Pacific Typhoon Season

Korea Temps - 1950-1953 - Station 143 (Taegu)

Congress is hesitant to urge the president to send troops to South Korea until many of the leading newspapers around the country write editorials backing the use of fighting forces. Among the newspapers are the N.Y. Times, Atlanta Constitution and Los Angeles Mirror.

-- Gen. Douglas MacArthur announces from Japan that 10 P-51 Mustang fighter planes and other supplies will be sent to the South Koreans. South Korea President Syngman Rhee says it is "too little, too late," and the planes will be useless because no Korean pilots are trained to fly them.

-- A U.S. Air Force fighter pilot shoots down a Russian-built North Korean Yak fighter near Kimp'o Airfield while covering transport planes evacuating Americans to Japan. By June 29, more than 2,000 Americans are flown to Japan. During that same time period, the Air Force announces that at least 12 North Korean planes were downed. U.S. losses were three B-26 bombers and four F-80 Shooting Star fighters. All F-80 pilots were rescued. [note]


The preparatory work was completed by late June and the CCP Central Committee decided that the mission would be led by Liu Shaoqi, who was authorized to discuss with Stalin all important problems concerning the international situation and Sino-Soviet relations. He would introduce to Stalin the considerations underlying the CCP's policy line (especially the CCP's policy of including non-Communist democrats into the CCP-led People's Political Consultative Conference), convince Stalin that the Chinese Communists were not Titoists, and lead the Soviets to a better understanding of China's situation and the nature of the Chinese revolution. He would also pursue practical Soviet support for the Chinese Communist regime, including a guaranteed Soviet recognition of the new China and Soviet military and other assistance. If everything went smoothly, this mission would open the way for a personal trip by Mao to the Soviet Union in the near future.

Mao and the CCP leadership saw Liu's visit as a crucial step in establishing strategic cooperation with the Soviet Union. To guarantee the success of Liu's trip, Mao knew that he had to do something significant and noticeable. So it was not a coincidence that he issued his "lean-to-one-side" statement [6/30/49] only two days before Liu's delegation departed. When Mao praised the Soviet Union as the undisputed leader of the international progressive forces, he had sent out an unmistakable message to Stalin: Now Stalin had no reason to suspect that the CCP leadership shared the thinking of Titoism.

During the CCP delegation's stay in the Soviet Union, they held four formal meetings with Stalin and other top Soviet leaders, touching upon a series of crucial themes.

First, to the surprise and satisfaction of Liu and his comrades, Stalin apologized for failing to give sufficient assistance to the CCP during the civil war. According to Shi Z he's recollection, Stalin asked Liu in the second meeting: "Have we disturbed you [in China's civil war]?" Liu replied: "No!" Stalin answered: "Yes, we have been in the way of hindrance to you because our knowledge about China is too limited." Although Stalin's apology came in a private meeting, Mao and the CCP leadership were deeply impressed by it. Most important of all, CCP leaders viewed this as a clear sign of Stalin's willingness now to treat his Chinese comrades as equals. Later, many top CCP leaders, including Mao, Liu, and Zhou, mentioned Stalin's apology on different occasions, using it as a strong justification for the CCP's "lean-to-one-side" approach.

Second, Soviet authorities immediately took steps to avoid engaging the American forces. On June 26, Soviet ships that had sailed from Dairen were ordered “to return to their own defense zone immediately” and throughout the war Soviet naval vessels stayed clear of the war zone. Third, in an attempt to distance itself from the conflict, the Soviet government refused to approve the fervent requests of Soviet citizens of Korean nationality to join their fellow Koreans in defending their homeland against “the barbarous attack by the American imperialists.”

Third, Liu's visit produced a CCP-Soviet cooperation on the settlement of the Xinjiang (Sinkiang) problem, which was an important and substantial achievement for the CCP. As a strategically important region located in Northwestern China, next to Russian Kazakh, Xinjiang, its northern part in particular, had long been viewed by the Russians as their sphere of influence.

Finally, when the course of the war turned against the DPRK in the wake of the American landing at Inch'ŏn, the Soviet Union refused to intervene in order to defend its client state.

When Stalin at last sent military forces to Korea he did so only in support of Chinese forces, to whom he was bound by a mutual defense treaty. After first backing down from his promise to Mao to provide air support for Chinese troops crossing the Yalu, Stalin finally sent two air force divisions to defend the Yalu river bridges in November 1950,

In the late 19th and early20th centuries, several bloody disputes emerged between China and Russia in Northern Xinjiang. After the triumph of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, V. I. Lenin's Soviet Russia acknowledged China's sovereignty over Xinjiang, but the Soviet Union had never fully given up its claim of interests there. In November 1944, a pro-Communist rebellion backed by the Soviet Union erupted in Tacheng, Ili, and Ashan, three northern most counties in Xinjiang, and had since controlled that area. When the CCP achieved decisive victory against the GMD in China's civil war in 1949, Xinjiang became one of few regions still controlled by the GMD.

During Liu's visit to the Soviet Union, Stalin told Liu that according to Soviet intelligence reports, the United States was planning to help Muslim GMD forces in northwestern China establish an independent Islam republic in Xinjiang, which, he believed, would be extremely harmful to both the CCP and the Soviet Union. He offered to use the Soviet-supported revolutionary forces in Northern Xinjiang to check the GMD so that it would be easier for the PLA to enter Xinjiang. Then Moscow helped the CCP Central Committee to establish direct contact with the revolutionary forces in Northern Xinjiang by assisting Deng Liqun, the CCP Central Committee's liaison person, to travel from Moscow to northern Xinjiang. Before the PLA finally took over Xinjiang in October 1949, the Soviet Union and Outer Mongolia became the central linkage of communications and transportations between the CCP Central Committee and CCP agents in Xinjiang.

Most important of all, in their meetings Liu and Stalin touched upon problems concerning the international situation and the division between the Chinese and the Soviets of responsibility in promoting the world revolution and Asian revolution. Stressing that a new world war was quite impossible in the near future and that the world revolutionary forces were marching forward and were much stronger than ever before, Stalin expressed the hope that the CCP would play a more important role in pushing forward the rising tide of world revolution, especially in East Asia. He made it very clear that he hoped to see the Chinese and the Soviets divide their spheres of responsibilities within the international Communist movement: while the Soviet Union would focus on the West, China would take more responsibilities in the East. Stalin stressed that he was not flattering the Chinese, but telling the truth. As the Chinese, Stalin believed, had greater influences upon colonial and semi-colonial countries in the East, it would be easier for China to help promote Eastern revolution than for the Soviet Union. Liu, on the other hand, emphasized to Stalin that the Chinese viewed the Soviet Union as the undisputed leader of the progressive forces of the world. He seemed very cautious in acknowledging before Stalin that China would become the center of the Eastern revolution (In Shi's memoirs, he mentions that when Stalin suggested to toast for "the center of revolution moving to the East and China," Liu refused to make response). But Liu agreed that Communist China would try to contribute more in promoting revolutionary movements in Asia. We may fairly conclude that Liu's conversation with Stalin had produced a crucial consensus: while the Soviet Union would remain the center of international proletarian revolution, the promotion of Eastern revolution would become primarily China's duty.

There is no indication in Chinese sources available today that the Korean problem was involved in Liu's talks with Stalin. Several GMD and South Korean sources mentioned that during the spring, summer and fall of 1949,China, North Korea, and the Soviet Union conducted a series of secret exchanges on military cooperation between them in Northeastern China (Manchuria) and Korea. The CCP and North Korea, these sources alleged, signed a mutual defense agreement in March 1949, after the North Korean leader Kim Il-sung's visit to the Soviet Union, according to which the CCP would send PLA soldiers of Korean nationality back to North Korea.

No Chinese sources can prove the existence of the alleged March 1949 agreement. In my interview with Yao Xu, a Chinese authority on the history of the Korean War, he firmly denied the possibility of such an agreement. But we do know now that in July and August of 1949, right around the time when Liu Shaoqi was in the Soviet Union, the164th and 166th Divisions of the PLA's Fourth Field Army, the majority of whose soldiers were of Korean nationality, were sent back to North Korea. Considering the fact that a close relationship existed between the Soviet Union and Kim Il-sung's North Korean regime and that the problem of promoting revolutionary movements in East Asia was one of the central topics of Liu-Stalin conversations, we have no reason to exclude the possibility that the Chinese and the Soviets had discussed such matters as China's support of the Korean revolution and sending PLA soldiers back to Korea during Liu's visit. [note]

he Soviet reaction to the U.S. intervention in Korea in June 1950 and the pattern of subsequent Soviet intervention in the war also indicate that Stalin was surprised and alarmed by the U.S. response and extremely reluctant to confront the United States militarily over Korea.

First, the Foreign Ministry had no reply to an American intervention prepared by June 25. Gromyko sent the first draft of the Soviet statement on the American intervention to Stalin on July 2, a full week after the beginning of the war.

Second, Soviet authorities immediately took steps to avoid engaging the American forces. On June 26, Soviet ships that had sailed from Dairen were ordered “to return to their own defense zone immediately” and throughout the war Soviet naval vessels stayed clear of the war zone.

Third, in an attempt to distance itself from the conflict, the Soviet government refused to approve the fervent requests of Soviet citizens of Korean nationality to join their fellow Koreans in defending their homeland against “the barbarous attack by the American imperialists.”

Finally, when the course of the war turned against the DPRK in the wake of the American landing at Inch'ŏn, the Soviet Union refused to intervene in order to defend its client state.

When Stalin at last sent military forces to Korea he did so only in support of Chinese forces, to whom he was bound by a mutual defense treaty. After first backing down from his promise to Mao to provide air support for Chinese troops crossing the Yalu, Stalin finally sent two air force divisions to defend the Yalu river bridges in November 1950,




The Fifth Air Force training Field Order testing the aerial defenses of Okinawa was still in progress with a Flight "D", SB-17 accomplishing a reconnaissance to Okinawa and return.

It is apparent, at this time, that Flight "D" will need assistance in all categories of materials and personnel. At the present time all emphasis is being placed on evacuation of American Nationals, utilizing Kimp'o Airfield at Sŏul and Suwŏn Air Field (37° 15' N 127° 00' E).

One (1) of our C-47's has been pressed into duty for that purpose. SB-17s are orbiting round the clock to provide rescue coverage for evacuation ships and fighter aircraft that are furnishing top cover. These SB-17s are orbiting at Cheju-Do (33° 28' N 126° 30' E). [note]


US Embassy in Moscow suggests the US must do something, and the CIA concur in this analysis. Both claim the USSR is not looking to start a major war. [note]


USS Valley Forge (CV-45) deployed to the Far East, departing the west coast on 1 May 1950. While anchored in Hong Kong harbor on 25 June, the warship received electrifying news that North Korean forces had begun streaming across the 38th parallel into South Korea. Departing Hong Kong the next day, the carrier steamed north to Subic Bay, where she provisioned, fueled, and set her course for Korea. [note]


1950/06/26 - Monday, Truman asked and received support from UN - Russia was absent because boycotting Security Council until seat given to Communist China



There were no aircraft lost today. [note]

Far East Air Forces cargo planes began the evacuation of 700 US State Department and Korean Military Advisory Group employees and their families. FEAF also sent ten F-51 Mustang fighters to the ROK forces. [note]




South then North

Korean_War Korean_War

The South Korean Air Force in June 1950 consisted of a single flight group of 12 liaison-type aircraft and 10 advance trainers (AT6). Maj. Dean E. Hess, KMAG adviser to the South Korean Air Force, had a few (approximately 10) old F-51 (Mustang) planes under his control but no South Korean pilots had yet qualified to fly combat missions.

[the 10 F-51's of Maj. Dean E. Hess, KMAG] These planes were given to the ROK Air Force on 26 June 1950. [note]


Two LST's from Inch'ŏn joined one already offshore, and on Monday, 26 June, they evacuated Col. Paik In Yup (17th Regiment, and most of two battalions-in all about 1,750 men. The other battalion was completely lost in the early fighting.


The 14th Regiment, 6th Division, turned over the Ongjin Peninsula area to security forces of the BC 3rd Brigade on the second day and immediately departed by way of Haeju and Kaesŏng to rejoin its division.

East of the Ongjin Peninsula, Kaesŏng, the ancient capital of Korea, lay two miles south of the Parallel on the main Sŏul-P'yŏngyang highway and railroad. Two battalions of the 12th Regiment, ROK 1st Division, held positions just north of the town. The other battalion of the regiment was at Yŏnan, the center of a rich rice-growing area some twenty miles westward.

The 13th Regiment held Korangp'o-ri, fifteen air miles east of Kaesŏng above the Imjin River, and the river crossing below the city. The 11th Regiment, of the 1st Division in reserve, and division headquarters were at Suisak, a small village and cantonment area a few miles north of Sŏul. Lt. Col. Lloyd H. Rockwell, senior adviser to the ROK 1st Division, and its youthful commander, Col. Paik Sun Yup, had decided some time earlier that the only defense line the division could hold in case of attack was south of the Imjin River.

Songak-san (Hill 475), a mountain shaped like a capital T with its stem running east-west, dominated Kaesŏng which lay two miles to the south of it. The 38th Parallel ran almost exactly along the crest of Songak-san, which the North Koreans had long since seized and fortified. In Kaesŏng the northbound main rail line linking Sŏul-P'yŏngyang-Manchuria turned west for six miles and then, short of the Yesŏng River, bent north again across the Parallel. [note]

Korean_War Korean_War

Lt. Col. Thomas D. McPhail, adviser to the ROK 6th Division, proceeded to Ch'unch'ŏn from Wŏnju in the morning after he received word that the North Koreans had crossed the Parallel. Late in the day the ROK reserve regiment arrived from Wŏnju. A factor of importance in Ch'unch'ŏn's defense was that no passes had been issued to ROK personnel and the positions there were fully manned when the attack came.


The battle for Ch'unch'ŏn was going against the North Koreans. From dug-in concrete pillboxes on the high ridge just north of the town the ROK 6th Division continued to repel the enemy attack. The failure of the N.K. 2nd Division to capture Ch'unch'ŏn the first day, as ordered, caused the N.K. II Corps to change the attack plans of the N.K. 7th Division. This division had started from the Inje area, 30 miles farther east, for Hongch'ŏn, an important town southeast of Ch'unch'ŏn. The II Corps now diverted it to Ch'unch'ŏn, which it reached on the evening of 26 June. There the 7th Division immediately joined its forces with the 2nd Division in the battle for the city.

Apparently there were no enemy tanks in the Ch'unch'ŏn battle until the 7th Division arrived. [note]


The American advisers to the ROK 8th Division assembled at Kangnung on 26 June and helped the division commander prepare withdrawal plans. The 10th Regiment was still delaying the enemy advance near the border.


The plan agreed upon called for the 8th Division to withdraw inland across the Taebaek Range and establish contact with the ROK 6th Division, if possible, in the central mountain corridor, and then to move south toward Pusan by way of Tanyang Pass. The American advisers left Kangnung that night and drove southwest to Wŏnju where they found the command post of the ROK 6th Division. [03-38] [note]


The next morning only the 2nd Division headquarters and the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 5th Regiment had arrived at Uijŏngbu.


During the first day, elements of the 7th Division near Tongduch'ŏn-ni on the left-hand road had fought well, considering the enemy superiority in men, armor, and artillery, and had inflicted rather heavy casualties on the 16th Regiment of the N.K. 4th Division. But despite losses the enemy pressed forward and had captured and passed through Tongduch'on-ni by evening.


On the morning of 26 June, therefore, the N.K. 4th Division with two regiments abreast and the N.K. 3rd Division also with two regiments abreast were above Uijŏngbu with strong armor elements, poised for the converging attack on it and the corridor to Sŏul.

On the morning of 26 June Brig. Gen. Yu Jai Hyung, commanding the ROK 7th Division, launched his part of the counterattack against the N.K. 4th Division north of Uijongbu. At first the counterattack made progress. This early success apparently led the Sŏul broadcast in the afternoon to state that the 7th Division had counterattacked, killed 1,580 enemy soldiers, destroyed 58 tanks, and destroyed or captured a miscellany of other weapons.

Not only did this report grossly exaggerate the success of the 7th Division, but it ignored the grave turn of events that already had taken place in front of the 2nd Division. The N.K. 3rd Division had withdrawn from the edge of P'och'on during the night, but on the morning of the 26th resumed its advance and reentered P'och'on unopposed. Its tank-led column continued southwest toward Uijongbu.

General Lee of the ROK 2nd Division apparently believed a counterattack by his two battalions would be futile for he never launched his part of the scheduled counterattack. Visitors during the morning found him in his command post, doing nothing, surrounded by staff officers. [note]


General MacArthur as Commander in Chief, Far East, had no responsibility in Korea on25 June 1950 except to support KMAG and the American Embassy logistically to the Korean water line. This situation changed when President Truman authorized him on 26 June, Far Eastern Time, to send a survey party (ADCOM) to Korea. [note]

Forgotten War


For the next two days the 11th and 13th ROK regiments would fight valiantly at the Imjin in a vain attempt to hold back nearly two full NKPA divisions, whose attack was led by a battalion of T34 Russian tanks. [note]


The White House announcements of these decisions were deliberately understated. There was no indication or implication that America was embarked on the road to war. America was merely humanely responding to a United Nations request for limited assistance to South Korea. So informed, the American public reacted favorably. To most citizens Korea was a blank spot on the map. But wherever Korea might be, Truman was correct: Joe Stalin and his Communist minions had been shoving the free world around long enough. A line had to be drawn someplace. [note]


On the following day, June 26 in Tokyo, MacArthur received the four point directive which had been drawn up and approved at the Blair House meeting. Since he had already ordered the ammunition to be sent to South Korea and alerted his air and naval forces to provide protection for the evacuation of the 2,000 American civilians from Sŏul and could do nothing about the Seventh Fleet except await its arrival, that left only one unfulfilled item: dispatching the "survey party" to South Korea to find out what was going on and determine what else the ROKs might need. The very same afternoon MacArthur chose a GHQ section chief, Brigadier General John H. Brigadier General John H. Church, to command the party (twelve other officers and two enlisted men) and told him to go to Korea immediately.[3-23]

John Church was then only several days shy of his fifty-eighth birthday, older even than JCS Chairman Omar Bradley. He was "homey" and "frail" and sick, almost crippled by arthritis. To relieve the agonizing pain, he kept a bottle of whiskey close at hand. Although far from well, Church was not lacking in courage. As a young lieutenant in World War I he had twice been wounded leading infantry units in the trenches. In World War II, as chief of staff of the crack 45th Infantry Division, he had been in the thick of the fighting in Sicily, at Salerno, at Anzio (where he temporarily commanded an infantry regiment), and in southern France. Later, as assistant division commander (ADC) of Alex Bolling's 84th Infantry Division in the ETO, he had fought in Holland and Germany, where he was wounded for the third time. In the two world wars Church had won a DSC and two Silver Stars for heroism, plus a host of other medals. [note]


To many, however, it seemed that Church's time had come and gone, that to send him off to yet another war at his age and in his poor state of health was unfair and unwise. MacArthur, who had turned seventy in January, apparently did not share that view. One result was that by and large, Army officers sent to Korea were older and, in some cases, less robust than their World War II counterparts.

At the time of the Normandy invasion Eisenhower was fifty-three, Bradley fifty-one. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall (then sixty-three) believed strongly that younger men should command in the field, but seniority and other factors tied his hands. Hence the three American Army commanders at Normandy were considered "old": Courtney Hodges (First), fifty-seven; George Patton (Third) fifty-eight; William H. Simpson (Ninth) fifty-six. Fifth Army commander Mark Clark and his classmate Joe Collins (in line for ETO Army command), both forty-eight, more nearly fitted Marshall's age criterion.









19500626 0045 USAF-Stratemeyer

Nagoya. Up early, but before that, 0045, Crabb called to say his
instructions from GHQ [General Headquarters] are that dependents
will be evacuated by freighters from Inch'ŏn.[11-Early on the morning of the 26th, evacuation operations began at Sŏul. Evacuees (totaling 682) boarded the Norwegian merchant vessel Reinholte, which had just finished unloading fertilizer at Inch'ŏn. At 1630, the ship got underway and was escorted by F–82s throughout the night. U.S. Navy destroyers, along with several B–26s, met the Reinholte the next morning to continue the escorting duties to Fukuoka, Japan. During the evacuation, a single enemy fighter bounced a pair of F–82s. Although authorized to fire on any enemy aircraft while performing this cover mission, the U.S. pilots did not return fire. (Hist, FEAF, 25 Jun-31 Dec 50, pp 29-31.) The enemy plane did not tarry long, quickly returning to its side of the border. Meanwhile, American dependents from Taejon, Taegu, and Pusan boarded another cargo vessel at Pusan. (Futrell, p 9.)]

We are to provide fighter cover and are authorized to fire on enemy aircraft to protect these vessels. I told Crabb to put this in writing to FAF and to send info copy to GHQ so that they may object to the language if it is not appropriate.

19500626 0800 USAF-Stratemeyer

Departed Nagoya in 3411 [an aircraft with that serial number] with White
(A-2), Sheehan and Thompson at 0800.


Maneuver Lexi #1 (amphibious training exercise southwest of Tokyo)
underway today so had to avoid area thereabouts.


19500626 1000 USAF-Stratemeyer

A conference was held at FEAF hq [headquarters] with General Doyle,
General White, Lt. Col. Thompson (FAF) and FEAF staff in attendance.[12- Brig Generals John P. Doyle, commanding officer of Far East Air Materiel Command (FEAMCOM), and Edward H. White, 1503d Air Transport Wing commander.] The intelligence situation was outlined and every possible aspect of the situation reviewed.

It is agreed that there had been an intelligence failure in the field in that the uprising in Korea occurred without prior warning.
Action to be taken by the Eighth Army in loading 8,000 tons of ammunition
were discussed.

The plan to provide air cover for the dependents and non-combatant civilians, who are being evacuated from the Sŏul area, was presented and General Crabb noted that General MacArthur had expressed a firm desire that no details of the evacuation be made public.

General Crabb noted that the 512th Weather Recon Sq [Reconnaissance
Squadron] had been directed to provide additional flights to include our weather and reconnaissance coverage.

General Crabb said eight (8) F–82s have been brought into the Itazuke area from Okinawa and that he was anxious to return these aircraft to their home base as soon as the situation permitted.[13-Having a greater loiter time than the F–80s, the long-legged, twin-engined F–82 night fighters were to cover the evacuation of civilians from Sŏul. Not enough of this type of fighter were in Japan, so the F–82-equipped 4th FS moved to Itazuke this day. The squadron returned to Naha on July 8. (Futrell, p 8; FEAF Opns. History, 25 Jun-31 Oct 50, Vol. I, p 14.)]

General Crabb stated that the twelve (12) C–54s of the 374th Troop Carrier Group which had been gathered at Itazuke had been released to return to their normal duties.

It was agreed that the C–47s and C–46s being held in reserve for possible flights to Korea might be dropped back from an “alert” status to one of “overall readiness.”[14-These World War II-vintage transport planes had been readied to evacuate the civilians, but over-optimistic reports that the situation was stabilizing caused the evacuation plans to be shelved and the transports stood down. However, about midnight on June 26, FEAF received word of a worsening situation north of Sŏul and the air evacuation operations were restarted. Most of the C–54s were not now available because they were being used for other purposes, but 2 from the 374th Wing, plus 9 C–47s and 2 C–46s from FEAMCOM and the FEAF base flight were obtained. These planes eventually flew out 851 people before the evacuation was completed on June 29. An additional 905 people came out of Korea by ship. (Futrell, p 12; FEAF Opns. History, 25 Jun-31 Oct 50, Vol. I, p 22.)]

It is apparent from the conversation that there is a plan in the mill to give
the Koreans ten (10) F–51s; appropriate instructions were issued to Material to prepare these aircraft for dispatch.[15-A number of ROK pilots had been selected just prior to the invasion for training on the F–51. With the outbreak of the war, the need for their services became great and a detachment, named “Bout-One,” was formed out of the American 36th FBS to hasten their training. The F–51s were former tow target aircraft. The half-trained Korean pilots and their instructors, led by Maj Dean Hess, moved to Taegu on June 30 and began flying combat missions almost immediately. (Hist, 5th AF, Vol. I, Jun 25-Oct 31, 1950, p 3; Futrell, p 89.)]

General White mentioned that there were eight (8) C–47s in the Philippines enroute from the U.S. so that these aircraft may proceed as a group to Saigon.  This subject is highly classified and he mentioned it to me only because of the necessity of MATS to retrieve the forty-one (41) crew members after the airplanes had been delivered.[16-These aircraft were originally to be delivered to Metropolitan France, but because of the increasing strife between the French and the Viet Minh in Indochina, the planes were flown directly to Saigon. No formal U.S.
agencies had yet been established in the area when the planes (the first to be given to the French by the U.S. in southeast Asia) arrived and were turned over to the French. (Robert F. Futrell with Martin Blumenson, “The
United States Air Force in Southeast Asia,” The Advisory Years to 1965 (Washington, 1981), p 6.)]

During the conference a message was received from General Chennault
offering use of ten (10) transports for evacuation purposes.[17-Whether General Partridge knew that Chennault’s Civil Air Transport (CAT) was now owned by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or that, because of FEAF’s need for cargo lift capacity, this knowledge would have
made any difference, is unknown. The first three CAT aircraft in the combat zone actually operated more in support of covert projects than in a transport role. By November, however, some 24 CAT aircraft were hauling
freight, both inter- and intra-Japan. (William M. Leary, Perilous Missions: Civil Air Transport and CIA Covert Operations in Asia [University, AL, 1984], pp 116-120; Hist Synopsis, Dir/Ops, FEAF, Sep 16-Oct 1, 1950,
Ops Req Div, p 2; Hist Synopsis, Dir/Ops, FEAF, Oct 1-Oct 15, 1950, Ops Req Div, pp 2-3.)]

General Doyle expressed his concern over the security of his AVAMMO
[aviation ammunition] dumps. Colonel Rogers[18-Probably Col Craven C. Rogers, FEAF deputy for intelligence. ] is to look into this matter and if the situation warrants, he will request assistance from Eighth Army.
General Eubank[19-Brig Gen Eugene L. Eubank, deputy inspector general at the Kelly AFB, Texas, Field Office of the Inspector General.] dropped in to suggest that if such action had not already been taken we should initiate an investigation into the B–29 accident which occurred off Guam on Friday, 23 June. This action had already been taken by General Crabb.


10500626 1400 USAF-Stratemeyer

I attended a teleconference at 1400 hours in the Dai Ichi Building at which
General MacArthur, Gen. Almond, Admiral Joy, Brig Gen Edwin K. “Pinky” Wright, Gen. Willoughby, Gen. Eberle and Gen. Back were in attendance.[20-Maj Gen Edward M. Almond commanded the black (segregated) 92nd Infantry Division in World War II. From November 1946, he was Deputy Chief of Staff, GHQ (initially named Army Forces, Pacific, and later,
Far East Command [FEC]). Since February 1949, he had been FEC chief of staff. Brig Gen Edwin K. “Pinky” Wright was FEC G-3; Maj Gen Charles Willoughby, FEC G-2; Maj Gen G.L. Eberle, FEC G-4; and Brig Gen
G.I. Back, FEC signal officer. The Dai Ichi Insurance Company building (now FEC headquarters) was built just before World War II and was one of the few left in the area that was partially air conditioned and had
been undamaged by the air raids.] (General Stratemeyer should read the transcript of this and the previous teleconference).

Five major points were covered:
1. The request for approval of a survey to determine the minimum amounts
and types of equipment which should be provided to Korea and an estimate of the forces which might be used in stabilizing the situation there
was approved. The survey is to determine the requirements if we are to
retain and control the area around Sŏul, Kimp’o and Inch'ŏn. The survey
party of fourteen (14) members, headed by Major General Church[21-Actually a brigadier general, John H. Church, a GHQ staff officer, was directed initially to determine the kind and amount of equipment needed by the ROK forces. The following day, the 28th, Church’s survey party
received a new task, that of being the GHQ Advance Command and Liaison Group (ADCOM). This was in response to instructions finally received from Washington on the afternoon of the 27th directing MacArthur to use air and naval forces to support the South Koreans. After establishing his command post in Suwŏn, Church assumed control of the KMAG personnel and began to seek ways to lend as much assistance as possible to the ROK Army. (Appleman, p 43.) There are reports that Church had little faith in the ROK Army and apparently did not exert himself greatly on its behalf. (Joseph C. Goulden, Korea: The Untold Story of the War [New York, 1982], pp 92-93.)], will
depart at 0400 in a C–54 from Haneda direct to Kimp’o (later changed).
Fighter cover will be provided. The Navy and the Air Force each to furnish
one (1) officer for this party.

2. CINCFE authorized to ship arms and equipment to Korea and to protect
the shipments.


  3. CINCFE is authorized to use arms if necessary to insure the safety of the evacuation movement out of the Sŏul area.[22-This meant Air Force and Navy units only; the Army was not mentioned. (“History of the JCS,” Vol. III, pp 80-81.)]

4. The Seventh Fleet is to proceed to Sasebo and come under the operational control of Admiral Joy; the comment on this provision that the JCS did not feel that the situation with respect to the Russians was critical; otherwise the fleet would not have been directed to such a confined location.[23-Sasebo was a major American naval base on Kyushu’s west coast.]

5. General Roberts[24-Brig Gen William L. Roberts, former chief of KMAG, then enroute home for reassignment.] will be returned to Korea immediately. He is presently on the high seas and expected to land on the West Coast 4 July.

During the course of the conference, I had an opportunity to talk to Gen.
Willoughby re Colonel Dale[25-Nothing has been found on Col Dale or his assignment.] entering Formosa as an advisor to the Chinese Air Force. Willoughby objects and suggested that we bring the Chinese air commanders up here for the Chinese Mission.

General Almond had directed that we study the situation with regard to our
transports and their operation into Korean airfields. General Eberle will make known his requirements in case the logistic situation becomes critical and we may be called upon to assist. We must have a plan.
The plan to bring ten (10) Korean AF pilots out of Korea and to land them
at Itazuke is under way at 1000 today.[26- A main FEAF installation, Itazuke Air Base was on the island of Kyushu and was one of the closest bases to Korea.] These pilots are to be checked in the F–51 and are to fly their aircraft back to Korea.

When I first learned of this operation, I protested to General Almond that it
was useless to attempt such a procedure not only because the Koreans are entirely incompetent as F–51 pilots, but because their logistics situation will not permit the support of this complex type operation. General Almond recognized the truth of my arguments, but said that General MacArthur had promised to give the airplanes away. I then proposed that it would be far more productive if we could provide officers and airmen who could assist with the maintenance, communications, etc. He not only concurred, but told me to make a plan by which a group of officers and airmen might be assembled and transported to Korea to arrive at
the same time the F–51s reach there. This personnel will be made supplement to the KMAG organization.

General Almond also expressed the thought that the pilots assigned to the
group might actually operate the F–51s to the extent necessary to carry out their advisory mission.


10500626 1930 USAF-Stratemeyer

About 1930 hours, General Almond called to relay information which he
had just received from Colonel Wright[27-Col W. H. S. Wright, acting chief of KMAG, pending the arrival of a permanent replacement.] in Korea. He stated that one of our Mustangs had jettisoned two tanks in the Sŏul area and that one of these struck and killed six Koreans. The General was disturbed that our aircraft were avoiding combat rather than engaging and destroying the North Korean airplanes. He directed me to take the necessary action to insure that our AF patrols maintain an aggressive attitude in the accomplishment of their mission. (General Almond was especially caustic regarding the failure of one of our F–82 pilots to shoot down a Yak which flew over Inch'ŏn anchorage. The F–82 was “bounced” but not shot at. Pilot of ‘82 ducked into the low cloud and when he came out seconds later, Yak had disappeared. See messages to and from Washington 27 June.) This matter was discussed with General Timberlake who promised to advise Price[28-Col George E. Price, FEAF assistant deputy for operations.] and see that appropriate instructions were issued.

A message confirming this and directing certain specific action by the FAF was prepared but was held by me until early in the morning of the 27th. It was subsequently dispatched and its contents were concurred in by General Wright of GHQ. It directs the FAF to maintain air superiority over the Sŏul, Inch'ŏn and Kimp’o areas and to provide air cover for aircraft and for shipping when specifically directed by FEAF. The message specifically directs aggressive action in the event that hostile aircraft interfere or attempt to interfere with FAF mission or acts in an unfriendly manner to South Korea forces or our own.

10500626 2330 USAF-Stratemeyer


General Crabb, Colonel Rogers and I discussed the deteriorating situation in the Sŏul area until about 2330 hours. Colonel Rogers had been in on the telecon with Mr. Nichols[29-Chief Warrant Officer Donald Nichols, commander of OSI’s District 8 in Sŏul. Warrant Officers are usually referred to as “mister.” A telecon was a link between two or more teletypewriters. They could record “hard” paper copies, while simultaneously projecting the texts on view-screens.] when the announcement was made that the city was under shellfire and that the conference had to be terminated. There were several calls between General Crabb and me during the early morning hours and also in conference with Mr. Muccio’s liaison officer, Major Hammond.[30-Hammond’s full name is unknown.] The latter relayed a message which he was endeavoring to relay to General Wright stating that the Ambassador was most anxious that air cover be provided Tuesday morning because the situation was slowly deteriorating. This information was relayed through Rogers to General Wright. During the night requests began to be received covering the evacuation of additional dependents and non-combatants from Kimp’o. General Crabb set up these missions using C–46s, C–47s and C–54s. The mission is to depart in time to reach Kimp’o soon after daylight.





In the meantime, Major General E. E. Partridge, my Fifth Air Force commander who had been acting in my stead, set the wheels moving. General MacArthur, after several teleconferences with the Joint Chiefs, ordered evacuation with fighter cover of all American personnel in South Korea.

Transports were unarmed, although fighters were armed, and orders were for use of those arms for protection of the American evacuees only.

 However, materiel was ordered carried in via air transport to the South Koreans and 10 of our F–51s were ordered, against FEAF’s request, to be turned over to the South Korean Air Force for their use. This latter order entailed training on our part of the pilots who were to fly the craft, and the supplying of T/O&E pertaining thereto.[42-T/O&E — “Table(s) of organization and equipment.” An Air Force document that prescribed the personnel structure and equipment for a unit. The term is now obsolete]

Reconnaissance developed that North Koreans were supplied with a quantity of tanks and were pushing through South Korea without too much effort. The South Koreans were further handicapped by the lack of military leadership in that General Roberts, chief of our Military Mission, had just left on rotation and was on the high seas back to the States. KMAG was being administered by a full colonel and a handful of trained staff. General MacArthur appoints Brigadier General Church and a group of 14 selected officers, including one Air Force and one Navy representative, to proceed to Korea to assist the South Koreans. I landed at Wake and took off immediately for Tokyo.



On 26 June the Eighth Army had just completed battalion-level training and had begun regiment-level training in its four infantry divisions. At this time two tactical air control parties (TACP's) were preparing for amphibious landing exercises scheduled at Camp McGill, Okinawa, Japan. The two TACP's (large enough for expansion into four TACP's if necessary), however, were special duty units, made up of individuals taken away from other primary duties, for FEAF had no assigned tactical control group for close support work with ground troops. For that matter, the USAF had only one such group, and it was located at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina .


Problems among Air Force units in FEAF were perplexing, but they were in no way as serious as the personnel and equipment difficulties of the assigned aviation engineer units. Though FEAF had been assigned the 930th and 931st Engineer Aviation Groups, the personnel of these groups was recruited and trained by the Army under the national defense unification agreement. With this administrative complication, the history of the manning of the 930th and 931st Groups had been marked by both inadequate numbers and improper balance of supervisory and operating personnel. Short overseas tours and inadequate rotation personnel had either filled the units to excess, causing serious administrative troubles, or depleted the units so that work projects were curtailed. Assignment of personnel without reference to qualification or specialty numbers had been rife: for example, there were often shortages in machine operators and excesses in cooks and bakers.

Engineer units in FEAF had for several years met difficulty in securing all types of engineer equipment and spare parts, and most equipment was war-weary, including obsolete models for which no spare parts could be had. Commanders of the groups estimated their combat efficiency in the spring of 1950 to be only 10 to 25 percent of that usual for such units during World War II . No facilities for depot maintenance of engineer equipment were available in the FEC and although some maintenance had been accomplished through Japanese civilian contracts, it had proved unsatisfactory.

If FEAF tactical units were to fight from Korean bases, airfields would have to be prepared, but before Korean airfields could be built, FEAF would have to augment the personnel and equipment of its aviation engineer groups. An important part of the airfield expansion required in Japan would have to be done by civilian contractors



Problems of Deployment and Aircraft - Disposition


F-80C "Shooting Star" (Lockheed) 350 miles

A-26C "Invader" (Douglas) 2,700 miles (This was a medium bomber during WWII, since 1948 it is now an attack aircraft. Every one is familiar with the B-25 Mitchell, the plane that first bombed Tokyo. Now think of flying it like a P-51!

Situated at Itazuke Air Base, the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group and the 68th All-Weather Fighter Squadron had gone into action on 26 June, the first day that USAF units were permitted to act in Korea. During the few days which followed, other air units were rushed to bases nearest Korea.

The all-weather fighter squadrons were shifted,

Pilots of the 4th Squadron, however, moved to Itazuke on 26 June and operated over Korea until 8 July, when they returned to Naha. [note]

Weather Service - Problems & Procedures

As has ever been the case, communications support for the weather service proved essential. All stations in Korea were furnished with CW intercept and with two exceptions, facsimile equipment for receiving weather collections. Radio facsimile exceeded the expectations of the 2143rd Wing as a communications device, enabling the weather service to move with a minimum of equipment and set up operations quickly and successfully. Utilizing radio teletype and facsimile equipment, the field observers broadcast directly from Korean stations to the weather message center in Tokyo. The Tokyo Weather Central then prepared a general area, forecast for Korea and terminal points in Japan for broadcast over weather circuits. The central also prepared weather briefing charts for transmission over facsimile circuits for use by staff weather officers.


Aerial weather reconnaissance, flown by the 512th Reconnaissance Squadron, supplemented fixed station observations. On 26 June the 512th flew its first BUZZARD Special over Korea, and from that day through the end of the year the squadron had at least one aircraft over or in sight of Korea each day. By the end of September, the 512th was flying two missions a day, BUZZARD KING over North Korea and either BUZZARD DOG or EASY over adjacent regions. [note]


On 26 June the Eighth Army had just completed battalion-level training and had begun regiment-level training in its four infantry divisions. At this time two tactical air control parties (TACP's) were preparing for amphibious landing exercises scheduled at Camp McGill, Japan. The two TACP's (large enough for expansion into four TACP's if necessary), however, were special duty units, made up of individuals taken away from other primary duties, for FEAF had no assigned tactical control group for close support work with ground troops. For that matter, the USAF had only one such group, and it was located at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina .


Despite the stand of the 1st ROK division, the USAF official line still stands that the ROK's were ready to bail.

On 26 June, the second day of hostilities, U. S. forces worked at evacuation while the North Korean attack continued southward. FEAF fighters covered two vessels evacuating personnel from Inch'ŏn, and during the morning two 68th All Weather Fighter Squadron F-82's were attacked over the port area by a pair of North Korean fighters. The F-82 pilots, still a bit uncertain as to whether they should return fire, took evasive action and resumed patrols.

Evacuation progressed smoothly; in the afternoon a Norwegian ship Reinholte left Inch'ŏn carrying 682 civilians. During the day the North Korean Air Force made a substantial number of sorties in support of their ground troops, but offered no concerted air action. Ground fighting on the 26th gave little encouragement to the hope that the ROK army might be able to withstand the North Korean onslaught, and although Ambassador Muccio tried to dissuade him, President Rhee announced his intention to evacuate the ROK government to Taejŏn. The KMAG reported widespread defeatism among ROK troops, and Muccio added that he held no more than "faint confidence that the Koreans may hold out."



On 26 June a detachment of ten Yak-7B's and two IL-l0's moved from P'yŏngyang to Sinmak. The Ilyushin and Yakovlev aircraft were obsolete in a jet air age, but they were good conventional aircraft. Many of the North Korean pilots were young volunteers with limited flying experience, but they were cocky, aggressive, and eager to fight. The NKAF was "young" and incompletely trained, but it was clearly an offensive force. On the eve of hostilities FEAF stated that the North Korean Air Force had the capability to destroy the meager ROKAF and then materially to assist the North Korean ground troops as they moved into South Korea.

Despite the secrecy that surrounded Communist activities, the Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG) received some hints that Chinese-trained units had been joining the North Korean army. [note]

As of 26 June 1950 the Eighth Army was just completing battalion-level training. To expedite the mutual phases of this training, the Eighth Army and Fifth Air Force had exchanged liaison officers, and 16 out of 25 battalion tests conducted between March and May had included close-support (CAS) demonstrations under the direction of tactical air-control parties provided by the 620th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron.


The provisional air-control parties had obtained some beneficial experience, but for the most part these battalion demonstrations were "canned" problems, conducted over well-known ranges and lacking realism to the airmen who flew them. In many instances the lack of adequate bombing and gunnery ranges convenient to Army posts in populous Japan forced the aircrews to simulate their supporting strikes.


In the years since 1945 the United States armed forces had striven to develop all-weather capabilities, but air, ground, and naval forces were still vulnerable to the influence of the natural elements. As the North Koreans used weather to cover their treacherous attack, the 2143rd Air Weather Wing galvanized into action.


The 512th Reconnaissance Squadron Weather, flew its first "Buzzard Special" WB-29 weather-reconnaissance mission over Korea on 26 June 1950, and within the next few days the weather crews of this squadron not only provided in-flight meteorological readings but they also flew zigzag courses over Korea and reported tactical observations to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing at Itazuke. [note]


Enroute back to Tokyo after two weeks’ temporary duty in Washington, D. C. and landed at Hickam [AFB in Honolulu] when the news reached me (Stratemeyer) that North Korea had declared war on South Korea as of 1100 hours that day.

Actually, North Korean forces had crossed the 38th Parallel as early as 0400 hours, 25 June, to take not only South Korea but the rest of the world by surprise. Field intelligence had broken down somewhere and FEC had no forewarned knowledge of the massing of the estimated 200,000 troops nor their intent to cross the Parallel.

Upon receipt of news of the civil war, I changed my plans to return direct to Tokyo via Wake instead of Okinawa.




Upholding their long tradition as America’s force-in-readiness, the Marines have usually been among the first troops to see action on a foreign shore. Thus it might have been asked what was holding them back at a time when Army troops in Korea were hard-pressed.

The answer is that the Marines actually were the first United States ground forces to get into the fight after completing the long voyage from the American mainland. There were no Marine units of any size in the Far East at the outset of the invasion. But not an hour was lost at the task of assembling an air-ground team at Camp Pendleton, California, and collecting the shipping.

The spirit of impatience animating the Marine Corps is shown by an entry on the desk calendar of General Clifton B. Cates under the date of 26 June 1950. This was the day after the news of the invasion reached Washington, and the Commandant commented:

“SecNav’s policy meeting called off. Nuts.” [note]


Change in Policy

With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea on 25 June, new forces and new considerations were immediately brought into play. With the President's decision, on 26 June, to employ United States military forces in Korea, an emergency of serious proportions presented itself as an easily definable threat to American security. In view of the general unpreparedness of the Armed Forces, Congress acted swiftly to increase the strength and effectiveness



Korean_War Def Def

What the dimensions of this problem might be, no one knew. If the invasion of South Korea had surprised the United States, and had shown how wrongly intelligence had been evaluated, what faith could be put in estimates of Communist intentions elsewhere? Suddenly capabilities became important.

The State Department had warned all hands on 26 June of the possibility that Korea was but the first of a series of coordinated moves; the military forces of the United States had gone on world-wide alert; in the Mediterranean the Sixth Fleet had put to sea. In the immediate theater of operations, no less than on the world scene, possibilities were unpleasant and visibility poor.


The Joint Chiefs, it is true, had estimated that there would be no Soviet or Chinese intervention, but there was plenty of history, including a day at Pearl Harbor, to teach the outpost commander that estimates make poor weapons.


The first forward movement concerned the long-range patrol planes. On 26 June the seaplane tender Gardiner' s Bay, which had completed fitting out for a tour in the Western Pacific, sailed from San Diego for Yokosuka, where she arrived on 12 July.


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Korean_War Korean_War

Brig. Gen. Jarred V. Crabb and General Partridge

Bio Bio Bio

At 0045 hours on 26 June Brig. Gen. Jarred V. Crabb, the FEAF Director of Operations, awakened General Partridge with a telephone call: General MacArthur had ordered FEAF to provide fighter cover while the freighters loaded and withdrew from Inch'ŏn. The fighters were to remain offshore at all times, but they were to shoot in defense of the freighters.

General Partridge instructed the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing to furnish the freighters with combat air patrols. Within a few minutes, however, Fifth Air Force operations let General Crabb know that Colonel Price anticipated difficulties. This patrol work was a job for long-range conventional aircraft, not for the speedy but fuel-hungry jets. Colonel Price's 68th Fighter All-Weather Squadron had twelve operational F-82's, but he needed more aircraft than this. The Fifth Air Force first asked if it would not be possible to use the RAAF No. 77 Squadron's Mustangs, but General Crabb replied that the British had not yet taken a stand in the Korean war. The Fifth Air Force therefore ordered the 339th Fighter All-Weather Squadron to move its combat-ready F-82's from Yokota to Itazuke. This was still not enough of the long-range fighters, and General Crabb ordered the Twentieth Air Force to send eight of the 4th Squadron's planes up to Itazuke from Okinawa. To clear his ramps to receive these additional fighters, Colonel Price moved the contingent of C-54's from Itazuke to nearby Ashiya.


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Bio Bio

In Washington the State and Defense Departments thought that the United Nations' resolution of 25 June met the needs of the immediate situation. On the preceding night Secretary Dean Acheson had told President Truman that he was not immediately needed in Washington, but at midday on 25 June [1200+1400=2600-2400=0200] he was less certain.


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Bio Bio

1130 AM Central Time 0230 Korea

Acheson's next call came through around 11:30 Sunday morning. Additional reports had been received from Korea. There was no doubt that an all out invasion was under way. Some decision would have to be made at once as to the degree of aid or encouragement which our government was willing to extend to the Republic of Korea. I (Truman) asked Acheson to get together with the service secretaries and the Chiefs of Staff and start working on recommendations for me.

I was returning to Washington at once.

1230 PM Central 0230 Korea

The crew of the Independence had the plane ready to fly in less than an hour from the time they were alerted, and my return trip got under way so fast that two of my aides were left behind. They could not be notified in time to reach the airport. I felt certain that if South Korea was allowed to fall, no small nation would have the courage to resist threats and aggression by stronger Communist neighbors. If this were allowed to go unchallenged it would mean a third world war, just as similar incidents had brought on the Second World War. It was also clear to me that the foundations and the principles of the United Nations were at stake.


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At 2100 hours on the 25th Colonel Price telephoned Fifth Air Force operations that he was prepared to execute the evacuation operations plan beginning at 0330 hours on 26 June, a time which would permit the first C-54 to arrive at Sŏul's Kimp'o Airfield before dawn at 0512.

So it begins?


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The answer of the United Nations was prompt and decisive. At 2 o’clock in the afternoon on 25 June 1950, a meeting of the Security Council was called to order at New York. A dispatch had just been received from UNCOK—the United Nations Commission on Korea—reporting that four Soviet YAK-type aircraft had destroyed planes and jeeps on an airfield outside of Sŏul. The railway station in the industrial suburb of Yŏngdŭngp'o had also been strafed.

By a unanimous vote of nine member nations (with the U.S.S.R. being significantly absent and Yugoslavia not voting) the blame for the aggression was placed squarely upon the North Korean invaders. With Resolution 82 North Korea was enjoined to cease hostilities immediately and withdraw from ROK territory. The United Nations had no armed might to enforce its decisions. But the Security Council did not intend to rely merely upon moral suasion or economic sanctions. [note]

The U.S. Government asked for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to consider the invasion of the Republic of South Korea launched by North Korean forces early in the morning of the 25th (Korean time). The council, meeting later the same day, adopted a resolution calling for the cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of North Korean forces above the 38th parallel, and also calling on all members to assist the UN in the execution of the resolution.


At 1400 that afternoon, responding to the call of the United States Government, the United Nations Security Council convened. The U.S.S.R. representative was absent, for he had begun a boycott of that body on 13 January 1950 because of the United Nations refusal to replace the Chinese Nationalist representative with a Chinese Communist. Ernest A. Gross, Deputy Representative of the United States, briefly outlined salient events in the establishment of the ROK and the continuing opposition of the communists toward unification of Korea, then denounced the unprovoked aggression. He submitted a resolution designed to bring about an immediate cessation of hostilities and a restoration of the 38th Parallel boundary by the withdrawal forthwith of North Korean armed forces to it, and calling upon "all members to render every assistance to the United Nations in the execution of this resolution and to refrain from giving assistance to the North Korean authorities." The Security Council adopted the resolution by a vote of nine to zero, with one abstention. [note]

Korean_War Korean_War

An abortive ROK counterattack in the vital Uijŏngbu corridor failed on 26 June, and North Korean entrance into Sŏul seemed assured. [04-33]

Emergency Evacuation

Def Def Koread-War

The unexpectedly rapid and powerful communist onslaught exposed some 1,500 American civilians to immediate peril. The majority were families of AMIK personnel, most of them in the Sŏul area. Additionally, more than a hundred women and a sizable number of male employees were working at Department of State, ECA, and KMAG installations.


According to the evacuation plan drawn in July 1949 by GHQ and named CHOW CHOW, the CG Eighth Army, CG FEAF, and COMNAVFE were assigned responsibilities to evacuate U. S. civilians, U. S. military personnel, and designated foreign nationals. The plan estimated that North Korean forces would require at least ninety-six hours to overrun the Sŏul-Inch'ŏn area. [04-34]



KMAG Starts To Leave Korea

On Sunday, 25 June, while Colonel Wright, KMAG Chief of Staff, was in Church in Tokyo (he had gone to Japan to see his wife, the night before, board a ship bound for the United States, and expected to follow her in a few days), a messenger found him and whispered in his ear, "You had better get back to Korea."

Colonel Wright left Church at once and telephoned Colonel Greenwood in Sŏul. Colonel Wright arrived at Sŏul at 0400, Monday, after flying to Kimp'o Airfield from Japan. [04-16] [note]


U.S. and U.N. Action

When Trygve Lie, Secretary-General of the United Nations, at his Long Island home that night received the news of the North Korean attack he reportedly burst out over the telephone, "This is war against the United Nations." [04-5] He called a meeting of the Security Council for the next day. When the Council met at 2 p.m., 25 June (New York time), it debated, amended, and revised a resolution with respect to Korea and then adopted it by a vote of nine to zero, with one abstention and one absence. Voting for the resolution were China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, France, India, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Yugoslavia abstained from voting; the Soviet Union was not represented. The Soviet delegate had boycotted the meetings of the Security Council since January 13, 1950, over the issue of seating Red China's representative in the United Nations as the official Chinese representative. [04-6]



In the early morning of 26 June (Korean time) Ambassador Muccio ordered all dependents of U. S. Government and military personnel evacuated. Two commercial freighters at Inch'ŏn, SS Reinholt and SS Norge, were available, but the Norge was too dirty to be used and nearly 700 passengers were evacuated on the 26th aboard the SS Reinholt, a vessel normally accommodating only twelve passengers. [note]

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Hastily summoned, the members of the Security Council met at three that afternoon, but with the Soviet delegate in self-imposed absence. By this time a report of the invasion had been received from the United Nations Commission on Korea, and the United States had prepared a resolution on this breach of the peace which called upon the North Korean People's Republic to desist from aggression. By a vote of nine to nothing, Yugoslavia alone abstaining, the resolution was approved. While these measures were in train at Lake Success the United States government was in emergency action.

Throughout the morning the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Army, and the military chiefs were in conference at the Pentagon.


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USN_Units USN_Units USN_Units

The Seventh Fleet submarines, in the meantime, were also moving northward. USS Segundo (SS-398) and USS Catfish (SS-339) took on full loads of torpedo warheads from USS Piedmont (AD-17) at Subic Bay on the 26th, and on the next day sailed for Sasebo. [note]

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The United Nations Security Council meet at temporary headquarters in Lake Success, N.Y., and before 6 p.m. pass a resolution condemning the attack on South Korea. The Russian ambassador, representing one of the "Big Five" nations that could veto any resolution, is not present because his country is boycotting the UN and can not veto the resolution.

The resolution calls for a withdrawal of North Korean forces and supervision of the cease-fire order. It also urges all countries "to render every assistance to the UN in the execution of this resolution." The U.S. uses the call for assistance as a reason to begin sending arms and, eventually troops, to South Korea. [note]

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Early on the morning of 26 June General Partridge flew from Nagoya to Tokyo's Haneda Airfield. At FEAF headquarters he held a staff conference, where the principal matter of discussion was the evacuation operation. Throughout the morning intelligence reports were optimistic. KMAG reported "increased steadiness" on the part of ROK troops opposing the tank column north of Sŏul, that Ch'unch'ŏn had been retaken, and that the invaders on the east coast had been contained. These reports were so favorable that FEAF released the C-54 transports at Ashiya to return to normal duties.#27 [note]


Evacuation operations got under way in Sŏul early on the morning of 26 June, and, to the dismay of the F-82 pilots, who orbited in relays above Inch'ŏn harbor, lasted all day. In a change of plans the F-82's were allowed to come inland to cover truck convoys moving from Sŏul to the Army Support Command compound near Inch'ŏn, but for the most part the flights of four F-82's remained over Inch'ŏn harbor.

His two battalions occupied defensive positions about two miles northeast of Uijŏngbu covering the P'och'on road. There, these elements of the ROK 2nd Division at 0800 opened fire with artillery and small arms on approaching North Koreans. A long column of tanks led the enemy attack. ROK artillery fired on the tanks, scoring some direct hits, but they were unharmed and, after halting momentarily, rumbled forward. This tank column passed through the ROK infantry positions and entered Uijŏngbu. Following behind the tanks, the enemy 7th Regiment engaged the ROK infantry. Threatened with encirclement, survivors of the ROK 2nd Division's two battalions withdrew into the hills. [03-45]

This failure of the 2nd Division on the eastern, right-hand, road into Uijŏngbu caused the 7th Division to abandon its own attack on the western road and to fall back below the town. By evening both the N.K. 3rd and 4th Divisions and their supporting tanks of the 105th Armored Brigade had entered Uijŏngbu. The failure of the 2nd Division above Uijŏngbu portended the gravest consequences. The ROK Army had at hand no other organized force that could materially affect the battle above Sŏul. [03-46]


General Lee explained later to Col. William H. S. Wright that he did not attack on the morning of the 26th because his division had not yet closed and he was waiting for it to arrive. His orders had been to attack with the troops he had available. Quite obviously this attack could not have succeeded. The really fatal error had been General Chae's plan of operation giving the 2nd Division responsibility for the P'och'on road sector when it was quite apparent that it could not arrive in strength to meet that responsibility by the morning of 26 June.

The Fall of Sŏul

The tactical situation for the ROK Army above Sŏul was poor as evening fell on the second day, 26 June. Its 1st Division at Korangp'o-ri was flanked by the enemy 1st Division immediately to the east and the N.K. 3rd and 4th Divisions at Uijŏngbu. Its 7th Division and elements of the 2nd, 5th, and Capital Divisions were fighting un-co-ordinated delaying actions in the vicinity of Uijŏngbu.

During the evening the Korean Government decided to move from Sŏul to Taejŏn. Members of the South Korean National Assembly, however, after debate decided to remain in Sŏul. That night the ROK Army headquarters apparently decided to leave Sŏul.


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The invasion of South Korea found Admiral Doyle's Amphibious Group busy with its training duties. On the morning of the 25th Task Force 90 got underway from Yokosuka, with elements of the 35th Regimental Combat Team embarked, to conduct landing exercises outside Tokyo Bay. Although operations were carried out on the26th and 28th, in accordance with the training order, the attention of both teachers and pupils was progressively distracted by reports of happenings in Korea. During the second landing observers from the Far East Air Forces were ordered back to their stations; on completion of the exercise the ships returned at once to Yokosuka to debark the troops.


Korean_War Bio

Monday morning Sunday evening in Washington [6/26/1950 0900 - [6/25/1960 2000 DC] MacArthur's first Korean orders came in over his telecon, a form of communication comprising two typewriters and two screens; messages punched out on the Pentagon keyboard appeared on MacArthur's tube.

Operation of all U.S., forces in Asia was now officially vested in him. His new title, added to SCAP, was Commander in Chief, Far East (CINCFE). He was instructed to "support the Republic of Korea" with warships around, and warplanes over, South Korea. He could expect broader powers as Austin applied greater pressure on UN allies.

Already America had one foot on the battlefield. By now reports from Taejŏn had eclipsed any hope that the invaders could be swiftly driven back, and both he and Dulles were gloomy when he drove the envoy to Haneda for his flight home.

MacArthur, as pessimistic as he had been ebullient before, now spoke darkly of writing off the entire Korean peninsula. He had just radioed Truman:

"South Korean units unable to resist determined North Korean offensive. Contributory factor exclusive enemy possession of tanks and fighter planes. South Korean casualties as an index to fighting have not shown adequate resistance capabilities or the will to fight and our estimate is that a complete collapse is imminent."

In his reply the President again cautioned him to send no fliers or vessels north of the Parallel.



MacArthur heartily approved of the administration's decision to intervene though it was an even greater surprise to him, he said, than the invasion but he had many reservations, and some of his assumptions would have alarmed the Blair House planners. He believed that they understood "little about the Pacific and practically nothing about Korea," that they were certain to blunder because errors were "inescapable when the diplomat attempts to exercise military judgment." The President's war cabinet was determined to confine the war, but the new CINCFE believed in the Thomist doctrine of just wars believed that if the battlefield was the last resort of governments, then the struggle must be waged until one side had been vanquished. And while he scorned the military opinions of civilians, he didn't think that soldiers should shirk civil decisions; he had pointedly suggested to Dulles that he was quite "prepared to deal with policy questions." This was more than presumption. He had made such decisions in Australia, the Philippines, and Japan. Few world leaders, let alone generals, were more experienced in governing nations. It is understandable that Washington should want only his military talents in this fresh crisis, but it was unreasonable to expect him, of all men, to leash himself.

The issue was further complicated by his stature among Americans. The GOP might not want him as a presidential nominee, • but he remained one of the most popular military leaders in the country's history. Delighted by his new appointment, Republicans regarded it as a sign that the administration might be veering away from its Europe first policies. The General, they thought, didn't share the liberal conviction that Asian unrest arose from poverty and the rejection of Western colonialism. They were wrong there, but right in assuming that he didn't believe that Peking might be detached from Moscow if the United States courted Mao by abandoning Formosa that he would not, in their words, "sell out" Chiang to "appease" the mainland Chinese. Above all, both U.S. political parties recognized SCAP as a powerful Pacific force whose views about the Far East carried great weight with his countrymen. This was to have grave consequences in the conduct of the Korean War.

Reluctant to offend him, and thereby risk accusations of playing politics while men were dying, virtually all of Truman's advisers, including the Joint Chiefs, including even the President himself, would prove timid and ambiguous in many key directives to him. That was inexcusable. By now they should have learned that if he were free to construe unclear orders, he would choose constructions which suited him, not them. Sebald, the foreign service officer closest to him, observes:

"With his sense of history, experience, seniority, reputation, and temperament, he did not easily compromise when his judgment or his decisions were questioned. . . . He was never reluctant to interpret his authority or to make decisions and act quickly arguing the matter later." [12]


Korean_War Bio

In any political contest with him, the President would suffer from certain peculiar handicaps. One was his own fault. In his determination to achieve what he called an "economy budget," he had rashly slashed the Pentagon budget to 13.2 billion dollars, cutting, as Cabell Phillips of the New York Times put it, "bone and sinew along with the fat." Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson became the goat for this. After events in Korea had exposed the Pentagon's vitiation, Truman fired Johnson and appointed George Marshall in his place no improvement in MacArthur's eyes, though more acceptable to the country. But the President, despite the "Buck Stops Here" sign on his desk, was the real culprit. And he hardly improved matters by attempting to intimidate antagonists by brandishing military might which no longer existed.

In those first turbulent days of the Korean crisis he impetuously announced that the United States would not only defend Rhee's and Chiang's regimes; it would, he said, also support the Philippine campaign against the Huks and the French drive against Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. This was NSC-68 with a vengeance. It was also ludicrous. He lacked the muscle to back it up, and foreign leaders knew it. As MacArthur noted, five years before Korea the U.S. had been "militarily more powerful than any nation on earth," but now it would be hard put to push the fledgling In Min Gun back across the 38th Parallel. American power, SCAP said, had been

"frittered away in a bankruptcy of positive and courageous leadership toward any long range objective:"[13]

The General believed he was a more eloquent advocate of traditional American idealism than the President. He may have been right. NATO, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin airlift the shining monuments of Truman's foreign policy were relatively sophisticated concepts. His constituents approved, but for the most part they were unstirred. They believed that democracy, the "American Way," was the sole answer to the world's problems. The more democratic a European nation, the more they admired it. But Europeans were prosperous. The real test, as they saw it, lay in Asia. In some mysterious way they had regarded the triumphant end of World War II as a victory for American ideals. The successful reformation of Japan and the new Philippine republic were cited as evidence of it. That was one reason the cataclysm in China had shaken them. [note]


MacArthur believed that the postwar struggle lay between Christian democracy and "imperialistic Communism." Most of the United States agreed as Walter Lippmann pointed out, it is hard for Americans to feel secure in an environment not governed by Christian concepts though there was a subtle difference between the General's view and theirs. As the popularity of McCarthyism attested, they were more offended by Marxist zealots, particularly American Marxists, than by Sino-Soviet hunger for power. MacArthur, with his nineteenth century credo, believed that the greater enemy was Muscovite adventurism. He would have been just as antagonistic toward them had a czar ruled in Moscow and mandarins in Peking. As he had repeatedly demonstrated in Tokyo, he was capable of adopting radical solutions as long as they weren't called radical. He had always paid lip service to conservative shibboleths. In practice, he had ignored them. It was Truman, after all, who wanted to fight the Huks and Ho Chi Minh's Viet Minh. It was MacArthur who had understood the motivation of both.

It is a massive irony that this Victorian liberal should have become the first commander of a United Nations army. Thanks to Warren Austin and to the Russian walkout out from the Security Council UN prestige was now committed to the South Korean cause, and thirteen countries had promised troops if the United States committed its own ground forces. In his first press conference since the rupture of the Parallel, Truman had agreed with a reporter who had asked:

"Would it be correct to call it a police action under the United Nations?"

The phrase was unpopular in the United States; few Americans thought it an acceptable substitute for war, or felt allegiance to the world body. Many who did had doubts about the choice of a commander. James Reston wrote in the New York Times that

"General Douglas MacArthur, at 70," was being "asked to be not only a great soldier but a great statesman; not only to direct the battle, but to satisfy the Pentagon, the State Department, and the United Nations in the process."

Reston noted that unlike Eisenhower, with his "genius for international teamwork," MacArthur

"is a sovereign power in his own right, with stubborn confidence in his own judgment. Diplomacy and a vast concern for the opinions and sensitivities of others are the political qualities essential to this new assignment, and these are precisely the qualities General MacArthur has been accused of lacking in the past." [note]

0930 Korean Time

Most of the ROK 12th Regiment troops at Kaesŏng and Yŏnan were killed or captured. Only two companies of the regiment escaped and reported to the division headquarters the next day. Kaesŏng was entirely in enemy hands by 0930. Darrigo, meanwhile, sped south out of Kaesŏng, reached the Imjin River safely, and crossed over to Munsan-ni. [03-20] [note]

1000 Korean Time

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1100 Korean Time

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Early on Sunday evening, shortly before the President arrived in Washington, the Joint Chiefs of Staff held a teletype conference with General MacArthur. They notified MacArthur of the tentative plans made by Defense and State officials to ship supplies and equipment, which MacArthur had already started, and to extend his responsibility to include operational control of all U. S. military activities in Korea. They said he might also be directed to commit certain forces, principally naval and air, to protect the Sŏul-Kimp'o-Inch'ŏn area to assure the safe evacuation of American nationals and to gain time for action on the measures then before the United Nations. Most significantly, they alerted him to be ready to send U. S. ground and naval forces to stabilize the combat situation and, if feasible, to restore the 38th Parallel as a boundary. This action, they said, might be necessary if the United Nations asked member nations to employ military force. [04-22]

No decision on Korea could properly be made without a careful analysis of USSR intentions. The United States believed Russia to be the real aggressor in Korea, in spirit if not in fact, and effective measures to halt the aggression might therefore provoke total war. Hence, a decision to meet force with force implied a willingness to fight a full-scale war with Russia if necessary. The determinant for Korea was, then, as always: "What will Russia do?" [04-23]

The possible reactions of nations other than Russia were also important. Each alternative open to the United States was accompanied by a strong chance of alienating nations upon whose continuing friendship and support American policy was based. Inaction would be condemned by some nations as a betrayal of the ROK Government. It would gravely impair American efforts to maintain prestige in Asia as well as in other areas, and would cause such nations as Great Britain, Italy, and Japan to re-examine the wisdom of supporting the United States. On the other hand, if the United States took unilateral military measures against the North Korean attackers, Russian charges of imperialistic action and defiance of the United Nations would appear valid to many nations. The effect would be to anger these nations and to render them more susceptible to Russian points of view.

The most sensible course seemed to be a co-operative effort among members of the United Nations to halt the aggression. But South Korea needed help at once; and the United Nations could hardly act swiftly enough. Furthermore, communist members of the United Nations could be expected to oppose joint action. [note]


1915 Washington Time

Secretary of State Acheson was waiting for me at the airport as was Secretary of Defense Johnson. We hurried to Blair House where we were joined by Secretary of the Army Frank Pace. & Secretary of the Navy Francis Matthews; Secretary of the Air Force Thomas Finletter General of the Army Omar N. Bradley; the Army Chief General Collins; the Air Force Chief General Vandenberg; and Admiral Forrest Sherman Chief of Naval Operations.

Dean Acheson was accompanied by Undersecretaries Webb and Rusk and Assistant Secretary John Hickerson and Ambassador- at-Large Philip Jessup. It was late and we went at once to the dining room for dinner. I asked that no discussion take place until dinner was ended and over and the Blair House staff had withdrawn.

Earlier that Sunday evening. Acheson reported, the Security Council of the United Nations had, by a vote of nine to nothing, approved a resolution declaring that a breach of the peace had been committed by the North Korean action and ordering the North Koreans to cease action and withdraw their forces.

I then called on Acheson to present the recommendations which the State and Defense Departments had prepared. He presented the following recommendations for immediate action:

1) That MacArthur should evacuate the Americans from Korea --including the dependents of the military mission — and, in order to do so, should keep open the Kimp'o and other airports, repelling all hostile attacks thereon. In doing this, his air forces should stay south of the 38th Parallel.

2) MacArthur should be instructed to get ammunition and supplies to the Korean army by airdrop and otherwise.

3) That the Seventh Fleet should be ordered into the Formosa Strait to prevent the conflict from spreading to that area. We should make a statement that the fleet would repel any attack on Formosa and that no attacks should be made from Formosa on the mainland.

At this point I interrupted to say that the Seventh Fleet should be ordered north at once, but that I wanted to withhold making any statement until the fleet was in position. After this report I asked each person in turn to state his agreement or disagreement and any views he might have in addition.

Two things stand out in this discussion.

One was the complete, almost unspoken acceptance on the part of everyone that whatever had to be done to meet this aggression had to be done. There was no suggestion from anyone that either the United Nations or the United States could back away from it.

The other point which stands out was the difference in view of what might be called for Vandenberg and Sherman thought that air and naval aid might be enough. Collins said that if the Korean army was really broken, ground forces would be necessary.

I expressed the opinion that the Russians were trying to get Korea by default gambling that we would be afraid of starting a third world war and would offer no resistance. I thought that we were still holding the stronger hand, although how much stronger it was hard to tell.

At 1915 hours that [Saturday] night [1915+1400=3315-2400=0915] the President landed at Washington and drove directly to his temporary residence at Blair House. Here were assembled the key officers of the Departments of State and Defense, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff: General Omar Bradley (chairman), General J. Lawton Collins (Army), Admiral Forrest P Sherman (Navy), and General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (Air Force). Most of the talk over the dinner table reflected a hope that the South Koreans could hold with the help of American arms and equipment which General MacArthur was sending them. The main theme of conversation, however, was that the Communists appeared to be repeating patterns of aggression similar to those acts which had set off World War II.

After dinner President Truman opened the conference with the statement that he did not wish to make decisions that night, except such as were immediately necessary. Secretary Acheson then presented three recommendations which had been prepared by the State and Defense Departments:

1) that MacArthur would send arms and ammunition to Korea,

2) that MacArthur would furnish ships and planes to assist and protect the evacuation of American dependents from Korea, and

3) that the U.S. Seventh Fleet would be ordered northward from the Philippines to report to MacArthur.

Truman asked for comments, and the discussion worked around to what the United States might have to do to save South Korea. Vandenberg and Sherman thought that air and naval aid might be enough. Collins stated that if the ROK Army was really broken, American ground forces would be needed. At the end of the meeting President Truman directed that orders be issued implementing the three recommendations made by the State and Defense Departments.#74 [note]


President Truman and his key advisers gathered at the Blair House in Washington on the evening of 25 June for an exchange of views. Five State Department members, the Secretaries of the military departments, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chief of Staff were present. [04-24]

At this meeting, the policy-makers discussed the major problems facing the United States in the Far East. Foremost in their minds was a consideration of Soviet intentions and American capabilities. Louis A. Johnson, Secretary of Defense, believed strongly that Formosa was more vital to the security of the United States than Korea, and at his direction General Bradley, now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, read a memorandum on Formosa prepared by General MacArthur. At the insistence of Secretary of State Acheson, questions of Formosa were postponed temporarily, and the attention of the group was redirected to Korea. [04-25]

Acheson recommended that General MacArthur furnish supplies and ammunition to the ROK at once and that he be directed to evacuate U.S. nationals by any means required. When no one offered to comment on Acheson's proposals, Johnson asked each defense representative in turn for an expression of opinion. The responses came forth, and

"A major portion of the evening was taken in the individual, unrehearsed, unprepared and uncoordinated statements of the several Chiefs and the Secretaries." [04-26]


1200 Korean Time

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9:00 PM
10:00 PM
3:00 AM
12:00 PM


Throughout the morning the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Army, and the military chiefs were in conference at the Pentagon. [note]

[About noon in Korea] This opening thrust was quickly deflected, and the discussion properly turned to the larger picture: Stalin and the Kremlin. What did Stalin's decision to resort to "raw aggression" portend? Bradley speculated. He did not think Stalin was "ready" for global war; the Kremlin was probably "testing" America's spiritual resolve to its containment rhetoric. However, Bradley went on, this major escalation in the cold war was a "moral outrage" which the United States and United Nations could not countenance. To knuckle under in this test, he said, would be tantamount to "appeasement." One act of appeasement could lead to further acts and hence almost inevitably to global war. "We must draw the line somewhere," Bradley concluded, and Korea "offered as good an occasion for drawing the line as anywhere else.[3-19]

All fourteen men present, including most emphatically President Truman and Dean Acheson, were of like mind. All the prior policies set forth in various position papers, reached after years of careful study - that South Korea was of little strategic importance and should not be a casus belli - were summarily dismissed. On June 24, 1950, South Korea had suddenly become an area of vital importance, not strategically or militarily (as Acheson would write in his memoirs) but psychologically and symbolically. Stalin had chosen that place to escalate cold war to hot war. The line would be drawn. South Korea would be supported, not because its conquest would directly threaten America's vital interests but because a failure to meet Stalin's challenge there would be so morally derelict it might fatally damage America's prestige and lead to a collapse of the free world's will to resist Communist aggression in places that really counted.

The conferees next wrestled with these questions: How much help? What form should it take? There was a stingy approach to the problem: Minimize, not maximize, the commitment. Finally, they agreed on the following steps, to be carried out with utmost haste under the "guise of aid" to the UN, which that day had condemned the NKPA invasion and invited "all members" to help the ROKs.

MacArthur would proceed (as he was already doing) with sending "ammunition and equipment" to the ROKs in order to help "prevent the loss" of Sŏul.

MacArthur would rush a "survey party" to South Korea to find out what other military aid the ROKs might need to hold Sŏul.

MacArthur would provide "such naval and air action" as was necessary to prevent the loss of Sŏul partly under the guise of ensuring "safe evacuation of United States dependents and noncombatants."

The Navy's Seventh Fleet, then at Subic Bay in the Philippines, would proceed to Sasebo, Japan, to augment MacArthur's thin naval forces.[3-20]


12:30 PM

6/25/50 10:30 PM Washington 6/26/50 12:30 PM

[About noon, Monday, in Korea,] Truman returned to Washington that Sunday evening, June 25. En route he summoned his chief Pentagon and State advisers to a meeting that night at Blair House, the president's temporary home and office during the renovation of the White House. Thirteen senior officials gathered at Blair House for a fried chicken dinner and urgent talks. Of the thirteen, the majority - eight - were from the Pentagon. These included Louis Johnson and Omar Bradley, returned from the aircraft carrier demonstration in Norfolk, the three service secretaries - Frank Matthews, Frank Pace, and Tom Finletter - and the three military chiefs - Collins, Vandenberg, and Sherman.[3-17]

Confident that the ROK Army would push back the NKPA, the Pentagon contingent had a larger Far East worry that night: Formosa. Recently the Chinese Communists had taken Hainan Island and had amassed 200,000 troops on the mainland opposite Formosa. The Pentagon advisers believed that the NKPA invasion in Korea might possibly be a feint to divert attention and resources from a Chinese Communist invasion of Formosa. Johnson and Bradley, armed with a long and eloquent study paper from MacArthur urging American support for Formosa, took advantage of the crisis atmosphere to push for a reversal of the Truman-Acheson hands-off Formosa policy. On Johnson's instructions, the ailing Bradley read the entire MacArthur paper, and Johnson recommended (as the JCS had the previous December) that an American survey team be authorized to go to Formosa to find out what was required to maintain the security of the island.[3-18] [note]

Bio Bio Bio

General Bradley summed up the prevailing opinion. He said that the United States would have to draw the line on communist aggression somewhere-and that somewhere was Korea. He did not believe that Russia was ready to fight the United States, but was merely testing American determination. President Truman agreed emphatically. He did not expect the North Koreans to pay any attention to the pronouncement of the United Nations, and he felt that the United Nations would have to apply force. [04-29]

2230 Washington 1300 Korea

Before the meeting adjourned at 2300, President Truman approved the actions proposed by Secretary Acheson and already set in motion by General MacArthur.



1950/06/25 10pm- Sunday, Truman returned to Blair House from Independence, MO, and met with NSC - ordered U.S. Navy and AF into SK to stop invasion (but no Army ground troops). [note]

Bio Bio Bio Korean_War

American Ambassador to Korea Muccio conferred with President Rhee, who said that the ROK Army would be out of ammunition within ten days. Muccio quickly cabled MacArthur for replenishment. The Ambassador had already directed the acting chief of KMAG, Colonel Wright, to request an immediate shipment of ammunition for 105-mm. howitzers, 60-mm. mortars, and .30-caliber carbines. [04-18]


1300 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
6/25/50 10:00 PM 6/25/50 11:00 PM 6/26/50 4:00 AM 6/26/50 1:00 PM

Shortly after eleven the meeting broke up, and the military chiefs hastened to the Pentagon to communicate the decisions to General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, USA, Commander in Chief, Far East Command. [note]

Bio Bio

In the afternoon, in response to another call from Secretary Acheson, President Truman flew back to the capital. In the evening the President and his military and diplomatic advisers held a meeting at Blair House which began with dinner and which lasted until 11 o'clock. Here the first decisions leading to American commitment in Korea were taken.

The situation which confronted the United States that Sunday evening was sufficiently obscure. Aggression had been committed. The cold war had become hot. But the aggression was local, the general emergency had not begun, and along the rest of the cold war's battle line prospects were unpredictable. At Blair House the discussion ranged from Korea to Formosa, to the implications of the invasion for Japan and the Philippines, and to the strength of Russian forces in the Far East. The possibility of Russian or Chinese intervention in Korea was raised, but to those present seemed remote. Over and above these concrete questions, to which concrete answers could at least be hazarded, there weighed heavily on the minds of all the memories of the 1930's. All present had lived through the agonizing series of crises which had marked the world's descent into the second great war, and whose very names -- Manchuria, Ethiopia, the Rhineland, Munich -- had become emotional symbols. If, as seems quite possible, Stalin was encouraged in the Korean venture by memories of democratic impotence in the Manchurian crisis, he overlooked one factor of central importance: his principal antagonist in 1950, the man from Missouri, was also a student of history.

In the light of these memories, and with the overpowering feeling that aggression, once unchecked, might sweep all before it, certain preparatory decisions were taken. American civilians and dependents were to be evacuated from Korea by sea and air; to cover this evacuation air and naval action in defense of the Korean capital, of the harbor of Inch'ŏn, and of Kimp'o airfield was authorized. The Seventh Fleet was to be started north from the Philippines so as to be more readily available should things get worse. Shipment to Korea of ammunition and of military hardware under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program would be expedited by all available means. Shortly after eleven [pm] he meeting broke up, and the military chiefs hastened to the Pentagon to communicate the decisions to General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, USA, Commander in Chief, Far East Command.


General Bradley summed up the prevailing opinion. He said that the United States would have to draw the line on communist aggression somewhere-and that somewhere was Korea. He did not believe that Russia was ready to fight the United States, but was merely testing American determination. President Truman agreed emphatically. He did not expect the North Koreans to pay any attention to the pronouncement of the United Nations, and he felt that the United Nations would have to apply force. [04-29]

2230 Washington 1300 Korea

Before the meeting adjourned at 2300, President Truman approved the actions proposed by Secretary Acheson and already set in motion by General MacArthur.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of the Army Frank Pace, Jr., called General MacArthur into teleconference immediately after the meeting and informed him of the decisions reached. MacArthur was to send all arms and equipment needed to hold the Sŏul-Kimp'o-Inch'ŏn area, with enough air and naval cover to insure safe arrival. He was to use air and naval forces to prevent the Sŏul-Kimp'o-Inch'ŏn area from being overrun, thereby insuring the safe evacuation of U. S. dependents and noncombatants. He was also told to send selected officers of his staff into Korea as a survey mission. [04-30]

The commitment of air and naval units to Korea established a precedent for the later commitment of U. S. ground troops. It was done without sanction of or reference to the United Nations and in the full knowledge that U.S. air and naval forces might engage in open conflict with North Korean units. Although generally viewed as less vital than President Truman's later decision of 30 June to support the ROK with U. S. ground forces, the authority to employ the Air Force and the Navy on 25 June rendered the later decision one of degree rather than one of principle. General Ridgway, who was present during the transmission of initial instructions to General MacArthur by teleconference, recalls in his memoirs:

I was standing by General Bradley at the telecom when the directive went out authorizing the use of air and naval forces to cover the evacuation of American personnel from the Sŏul and Inch'ŏn area, and I asked him whether this was deliberately intended to exclude the use of ground forces in Korea. He told me, "Yes."

The officers to be sent to Korea as a survey mission were to send back information and also to furnish overt evidence to ROK authorities that they had not been abandoned. The Joint (Chiefs of Staff informed General MacArthur that the Secretary of State wished KMAG liaison officers to stay with ROK units so long as these units remained effective fighting forces. Answering a request from KMAG, (General MacArthur said that immediate action was being taken and that substantial logistic support was on its way to the ROK forces. [04-32]

The ROK Army acquitted itself well in some areas, poorly in others. In sectors where they were well led and properly deployed the ROK Army units fought bravely and well. Elsewhere, they fell back before the better-trained and better-equipped North Koreans without offering determined or effective resistance. All across the front the enemy's superior concentration of force, his well-planned tactics, his armor and artillery supremacy, and his consistently high caliber of leadership forced a general withdrawal.

Four of the eight existing ROK divisions had been deployed widely throughout the interior and southern sections of South Korea, while the four divisions along the 38th Parallel had about one-third of their strength in defense positions and the remainder in reserve ten to thirty miles below the parallel. No ROK division was able to assemble its full combat strength in time to stem the North Korean drive on Sŏul. At Kaesŏng and Munsan-ni, in the Uijŏngbu corridor, and at Ch'unch'ŏn, the ROK soldiers put up a good fight but were overwhelmed. [note]

Before the day was out, [6/25] General MacArthur ordered General Walker to load the MSTS Keathley, then in Yokohama Harbor, with 105,000 rounds of 105-mm. ammunition and 265,000 rounds of 81-mm. mortar, 89,000 rounds of 60-mm. mortar, and 2,480,000 rounds of .30-caliber carbine ammunition. He wanted the Keathley to reach Pusan no later than 1 July. He directed FEAF and COMNAVFE to protect the Keathley en route and during cargo discharge. In his information report to the Department of the Army, MacArthur said that he intended "to supply ROK all needed supplies as long as they show ability to use same." [04-19]

These actions MacArthur took independently. He received no authority from the JCS to supply the ROK until the following day, at 1330, 26 June. [note]

1333 Korean Time


The air-patrol duty was without incident until 1333 hours, when a radial-engine Communist fighter came out of the clouds and bounced two F-82's. The American pilots were uncertain as to whether they should return fire. The evacuation vessel was in no danger. Instead of joining the attack, the F-82 pilots took evasive action, and the Communist plane did not prolong the attack.#29 Missionaries and friendly foreign nationals swelled the ranks of the evacuees, and at a final head count 682 persons required transportation. [note]


USNS Sgt. George D. Keathley (APC-117)

Before the day was out, General MacArthur ordered General Walker to load the MSTS Keathley, then in Yokohama Harbor, with 105,000 rounds of 105-mm. ammunition and 265,000 rounds of 81-mm. mortar, 89,000 rounds of 60-mm. mortar, and 2,480,000 rounds of .30-caliber carbine ammunition. He wanted the Keathley to reach Pusan no later than 1 July. He directed FEAF and COMNAVFE to protect the Keathley en route and during cargo discharge. In his information report to the Department of the Army, MacArthur said that he intended "to supply ROK all needed supplies as long as they show ability to use same." [04-19]

These actions MacArthur took independently. He received no authority from the JCS to supply the ROK until the following day, at 1330, 26 June. [note]

1400 Korean Time

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Shortly after the Sunday night [Monday morning] meeting broke up the Pentagon put these orders on the teletype to General MacArthur. As has been seen, they were received in Tokyo during the midafternoon of Monday, 26 June, Far East time.

If it is before 10 AM in Washington DC, or after 1400 in Korea it is the same day.

In Washington and Lake Success, on 26 June, the news received from Korea was distressing. Far from obeying the Security Council's cease-fire order, the North Koreans continued their attack and openly called upon the government of the Republic of Korea to surrender. [note]

1500 Korean Time

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The optimistic expectation that the ROK Army, if given adequate logistical support, could hold still prevailed in midafternoon, when General Partridge went to the Dai Ichi building to attend a teleconference between the Joint Chiefs and General MacArthur's staff. In these discussions the JCS approved all of MacArthur's recommendations.

He was authorized to send a GHQ survey party, headed by Brig. Gen. John H. Brig. Gen. John H. Church, to Sŏul to determine the amounts and types of equipment needed by the ROK forces.

He was authorized to ship arms and equipment to Korea and to protect the shipments.

He was instructed to use armed force if such were necessary to insure the safety of the Americans being evacuated from Sŏul.

The JCS also informed MacArthur that the U.S. Seventh Fleet, which had one large aircraft carrier (the Valley Forge), was proceeding from Philippine waters to Sasebo, where it would come under the operational control of Vice-Adm. C. Turner Joy, commander Naval Forces Far East (NavFE).

At the end of this teleconference the Joint Chiefs asked if MacArthur required further instructions. He replied that he did not.#28 [note]


While the few American naval units in Japanese waters were being committed to the support of the Korean Republic, Admiral Joy's command was increasing in size. Following the decision at the first Blair House meeting to start the Seventh Fleet toward Japan, a dispatch from the Chief of Naval Operations had directed its commander to send his carrier striking force, his submarines, and necessary supporting units, to report to ComNavFE at Sasebo. This order reached Admiral Hoskins on the 26th as the Valley Forge group was entering Subic Bay. [note]

1600 Korean Time

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6/26/50 1:00 AM 6/26/50 2:00 AM 6/26/50 7:00 AM 6/26/50 4:00 PM

1604 Moonrise


Sunrise 0512 - 1953
Moonrise 1604 - 0137
Moon Phase 87% 11 days


1630 Korean Time

With some crowding, all of these people were loaded aboard the Norwegian merchant ship M/S Reinholt (which had just unloaded a cargo of fertilizer), and at 1630 hours the vessel at last weighed anchor.#30 After nightfall two F-82's continued to escort the vessel as it got under way and proceeded toward Japan. [note]


Beginning in the early morning, 682 people boarded the Norwegian merchant ship Reinholte, which finally left Inch'ŏn Harbor at 4:30 p.m., bound for Sasebo, Japan. [note]

On 26 June, the second day of hostilities, U. S. forces worked at evacuation while the North Korean attack continued southward. FEAF fighters covered two vessels evacuating personnel from Inch'ŏn, and during the morning two 68th All Weather Fighter Squadron F-82's were attacked over the port area by a pair of North Korean fighters. The F-82 pilots, still a bit uncertain as to whether they should return fire, took evasive action and resumed patrols.

Evacuation progressed smoothly; in the afternoon a Norwegian ship left Inch'ŏn carrying 682 civilians. During the day the North Korean Air Force made a substantial number of sorties in support of their ground troops, but offered no concerted air action. Ground fighting on the 26th gave little encouragement to the hope that the ROK army might be able to withstand the North Korean onslaught, and although Ambassador Muccio tried to dissuade him, President Rhee announced his intention to evacuate the ROK government to Taejŏn. The KMAG reported widespread defeatism among ROK troops, and Muccio added that he held no more than "faint confidence that the Koreans may hold out." [note]


700 Americans and friendly foreign nationals evacuated from Sŏul via Inch'ŏn to Japan by sea under direction of COMNAVFE.


Escorted by USS Mansfield (DD 728) and USS Dehaven (DD 727). [note]

1700 Korean Time

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Hastily summoned, the members of the Security Council met at three that afternoon, but with the Soviet delegate in self-imposed absence. By this time a report of the invasion had been received from the United Nations Commission on Korea, and the United States had prepared a resolution on this breach of the peace which called upon the North Korean People's Republic to desist from aggression. By a vote of nine to nothing, Yugoslavia alone abstaining, the resolution was approved. While these measures were in train at Lake Success the United States government was in emergency action. Throughout the morning [10am] the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Army, and the military chiefs were in conference at the Pentagon. [note]

This policy, in effect the neutralization of Formosa, was based on President Truman's announcement on 26 June 1950 in connection with the war in Korea. Because they believed that employment of Nationalist troops in Korea would cause the Chinese Communists to behave with even greater militancy, a majority of the United Nations members would probably reject a United States proposal to that effect.

There was also a strong possibility that any change in the American attitude toward Chiang involved in use of his troops would be interpreted by western European nations as reducing the defense of Europe to a lower priority. Further, the move would be certain to make it much harder to obtain a political solution to the Korean conflict through negotiation with the Chinese and North Koreans. [note]

1800 Korean Time

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Ambassador Muccio had planned to continue to evacuate superfluous personnel from Sŏul in a second and possibly a third merchant vessel, but he would not have enough time. With the coming of darkness [1953k] on 26 June ROK morale began to crack. [note]


In the evening a second conference of the military and civilian chiefs took place. On the far side of the globe, as the meeting began, ships and aircraft were evacuating Americans from Korea and the Seventh Fleet Striking Force had sortied from its bases in the Philippines and was steaming north.

The decisions taken at this second Blair House meeting were far-reaching. The Secretary of State had come with positive recommendations. His suggestion that air and naval support be given the Republic of Korea under sanction of the Security Council resolution of the day before, that increased military aid be extended to the Philippines and Indochina, and that Formosa be neutralized, met with general approval. The need for rapid action made this use of force appear imperative; the continuing overestimate of the ROK Army, and the confidence that neither Soviets nor Chinese would intervene, made it appear sufficient. Little thought seems to have been given the question of whether to commit ground forces. The recommendations were accepted by the President, and a directive was at once sent General MacArthur authorizing him to use his air and naval forces against the invading army south of the 38th parallel, and instructing him to neutralize Formosa by the use of the Seventh Fleet. [note]

In the evening of 26 June President Truman received General MacArthur's report that ROK forces could not hold Sŏul, that the ROK forces were in danger of collapse, that evacuation of American nationals was under way, and that the first North Korean plane had been shot down[not until tomorrow]. After a short meeting with leading advisers the President approved a number of measures.

Further instructions went to MacArthur in another teletype conference that night. They authorized him to use the Far East naval and air forces in support of the Republic of Korea against all targets south of the 38th Parallel. These instructions stated that the purpose of this action was to clear South Korea of North Korean military forces. [note]

1900 Korean Time

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1953 Korean Time

Sun Set

2000 Korean Time

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2100 Korean Time

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Monday the 26th was another day of action. Around the world, outside the Iron Curtain, the news of the invasion of South Korea had shocked governments and peoples alike. But although feelings were both indignant and apprehensive, few saw any likelihood of direct action; the salvation of the Republic of Korea was up to the South Koreans.

In the morning (8 am) President Truman announced the decision to expedite arms aid to the Rhee government under the MDA Program, but no mention was made of the movements of American armed forces. [note]


Shortly after 2200 hours President Rhee summoned Muccio to a conference and there told him that the North Korean tanks approaching Sŏul could not be stopped. Accordingly, Rhee was going to move his government to Taejŏn, either during the night or the first thing the next morning. [note]

2300 Korean Time

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At midnight Col. W H. S. Wright, chief of KMAG, reported that the enemy would be in Sŏul within a day. Both Muccio and Wright asked for emergency air evacuation, and General MacArthur ordered FEAF to provide it, beginning at dawn on 27 June.#32 Foreseeing that the transport operations would require active fighter support, General Partridge dispatched a fighting order to the Fifth Air Force. "No interference with your mission," stated General Partridge, "will be tolerated.#33


American civilians leave the Norwegian ship Reinholte at Japan.


First evacuees arrive at a Fifth Air Force base. 27 June 1950.


Monday June 26, 1950 (Day 2)

Korean_War 0 Casualties

Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous 0 0 0 0 0 0
Losses 0 0 0 0 0 0
To Date 0 0 0 0 0 0

Air Craft Losses today 0

Notes for Monday June 26, 1950 - Day 2