Overview

Korean_War

25th Division troops Unload trucks and Equipment
at Sasebo Railway Station, Japan, for transport to Korea, 1950.

[note]

The First Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, commanded by Lt. Col. Charles B. Smith, lands at airfields near Pusan. Task Force Smith troops are immediately put on trains bound for Taejŏn and the front, 163 miles northwest.


Smith was alerted to deploy his unit from Kumamoto, Japan, shortly before 11 p.m. [2100] June 30. About 440 men were trucked 75 miles to Itazuki Air Base, and then flown to Korea in six cargo planes.


The only Army forces MacArthur can immediately draw from are Eighth Army occupation troops in Japan. At the outbreak of the Korean War, combat troop strength is less than 50 percent of authorized manning. Support units have less than 30 percent of their authorizations.


-- Brig. Gen. John H. Church, commander of the U.S. Mission in Korea, moves his headquarters from Suwŏn 75 miles south to Taejŏn when the city comes under heavy attack from North Koreans.


-- North Koreans move out of Sŏul and begin crossing the Han River in force under heavy rain. The bad weather protects them from U.S. air strikes. Some of the enemy are disguised as refugees.


-- The Nationalist Chinese government on Taiwan reports that 200,000 Red Chinese are massed along the North Korean border with Manchuria.


-- Six unions sign agreements with the Pacific Maritime Association in San Francisco giving special pay to merchant seamen in Korean waters. Each seaman will get double pay, $100 for entering a port under attack, $125 for each bombing raid and $10,000 life insurance.


-- Bob Mathias, 19, becomes the first athlete to win the National AAU decathlon for three straight years. His 8,042 points also break a 14-year record. [note]

July 1 - General William F. Dean is U.S. Commander in Korea. First U.S. troops (U.S. 24th Infantry Division) arrive. [note]

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As most of the activities for the month of July centered around Flight "D" at Ashiya all items under this chronology are for the detachment unless otherwise stated. But throughout the month both Flight "A" and Flight "C" maintained two (2) SB-17's with crews at Flight "D" so the activities are really for the entire squadron rather than just Flight "D".

Six SB-17's were utilized this date for weather recon, orbit and Homer ship for aircraft departing and entering Korea. A total of thirty two hours and twenty five minutes (32:25) was logged on these flights. Orbit missions as described throughout this chronology are over the Korean strait.

Two H-5's were dispatched to search for a crash near Fukuoka, 33°35'N 130°26'E, The crash was located by a ground party and both aircraft were returned to Base. Time flown was one hour and forty minutes (1:40).

At 0830/K Flight "D" received a call from ADCC that they had received a SOS.

At 0840/K, notified that this was a false alert.

At 0130/K flight was placed on a stand-by status for an overdue C-54.

At 0240/K flight was notified that this was a false alert.

At 0405/K flight notified of another C-54 that was overdue.

At 0425/K notified C-54 had landed safely.

At 1105/K notified of an F-82 crash at intersection of Route #1 and Hakada Road, 33°35'N 130°26'E.

At 1607/K notified that a ground party from Itazuke Air Base had located the crash. Number of false alerts for today were four (4).

[note]

North Korean forces occupied Suwŏn, denying FEAF use of its airstrip. The 374th TCW began airlifting the US Army 24th Infantry Division, the first US troops to enter Korea since the war began, from Itazuke to Pusan. Fifth Air Force gained operational control of the RAAF No. 77 Squadron. [note]

"Brigadier General H. J. D. Meyer was the Div Arty commander [24th Infantry Division Artillery]. He started us on a training cycle with physical exercise and field maneuvers. We took training trips to Mori [a Japanese weapons firing area] and trained with the 21st Infantry. We probably trained as a combat team twice. This period lasted until June 1950 when we were launched into the Korean War.

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"There were only two batteries in the 52nd FAB, which was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Miller O. Perry. My battery had six 105-mm howitzers, but they had all been condemned by ordnance and the breech blocks were painted bright red. That meant the weapons were not cleared for overhead fire. We had painted the weapons with a heavy mixture of OD [olive drab] and black paint, mostly black. Few, if any of our SCR "610" radios worked, and we usually used wire for communications. The vehicles would run but were wearing out. The small arms, carbine and .45 pistols were adequate. Aiming circles, field ranges and other equipment was operational. We kept an emergency load of ammunition on base but very few HEAT [high-explosive anti-tack] rounds, only 10. All other ammunition was kept about four hours away.

"The troops in A Battery were well trained and well disciplined. We had outstanding NCOs. But I think I was the only one in the battery with combat experience."

Task Force Smith. On 25 June 1950, North Korea launched the cross-border invasion of South Korea. The North Korean People's Army (NKPA) rapidly advanced on Sŏul, which was captured-on June 28th. On June 27th, President Harry truman authorized air and naval operations to commence against the NKPA, and by the 29th, he had authorized the employment of US ground troops.

By July 1st, Lieutenant Colonel Charles B. Smith's 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division had arrived in Pusan, Korea.

Task Force Smith consisted of 406 men, equaling two under-strength rifle companies, Bravo and. Charlie. They deployed one-half each of the Headquarters Company and the Communications Platoon with a platoon of four 75-mm recoilless rifles and four 4.2inch mortars. Each company had a weapons platoon with a .50 caliber machine gun, two .30 caliber machine guns and two 60-mm mortars. The Task Force had six 2.36-inch bazooka teams. It would not be enough for the coming battle.[3]

Scotty: "While in Japan, I suddenly received an order to prepare 10 jeeps and trailers along with 50 soldiers to be airlifted to Korea. We were told that the North Korean Army had attacked south and that we would pick up Korean howitzers and join Task Force Smith in Korea. We scurried around the compound, packing all the ammunition we could carry and other necessities in the trailers.

"At the last minute, our orders were changed and we were told that an LST [landing ship, tank] had been located and would arrive that evening for us to load out the complete battery. The LST could land in our motor park because Camp Hakata had been a Japanese seaplane base and the motor park road dropped directly into the bay. [note]

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[note]



P326
July 1, 1950
The arrival of U.S. Army units in Korea beginning on July 1 did not turn the tide. The troops were unprepared for combat after the easy life of occupation duty in Japan and they were initially no better armed than their ROK counterparts. The desperate nature of the situation also drove American leaders to feed outfits piecemeal into the battle. The best these small task forces could do was delay the enemy for a bit before being overwhelmed. [note]

On the same date that the first U.S. ground forces set foot in Korea, [7/1] MacArthur made a formal request for a Marine regiment supported by an air group. The Corps quickly assigned Brigadier General Edward Craig, ADC of the 1st Marine Division, to command the newly created 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, composed of the reinforce 5th Marines and Marine Aircraft Group 33. The force would depart by sea for the Far East on July 14 [note]


Photo #: 80-G-416423
USS Rochester (CA-124)
Senior U.S. and British naval officers confer on board Rochester, flagship of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, during the early days of the Korean War. The original photograph is dated 1 July 1950.

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Those present are (from left to right):

Captain A.D. Torlesse, RN, Commanding Officer of HMS triumph;

Rear Admiral John M. Hoskins, USN, Commander, Carrier Group, Seventh Fleet;

Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble, USN, Commander, Seventh Fleet; and

Rear Admiral Sir William G. Andrewes, RN, Commander, British Commonwealth Forces. [note]

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Bell HTL-2s on board the USS Valley Forge in the earl y 1950s (National Archives Photo 80-G-424772) . [note]

"Task Force Smith, two companies of the 24th Infantry Division’s 21st Infantry Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Charles B. ""Brad"" Smith and the first US combat unit in Korea, arrived at Pusan. Major General William F. Dean, the 24th Infantry Division commander, was named commander of all US forces in Korea." [note]

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The 1st Cavalry Division was alerted for possible deployment to Korea on July 1, 1950 . The outbreak of the war and the departure of the 24th Infantry Division clearly signaled that the division had to be prepared. The division staff requested missing personnel and equipment immediately. Unfortunately, little in the way of replacements or equipment was on hand [note]



On the morning of 1 July six C-54 transport plans began a shuttle movement of Task Force Smith to a small airport outside Pusan. That evening the assembled force moved by rail to Taejŏn where General Church of the Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG) to the ROK Army ordered Smith's command to divide and to proceed to P'yŏngt'aek and to Ansŏng. [note]

South then North

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[note]

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Acting on instructions he had received from Washington on 1 July to institute a naval blockade of the Korean coast, General MacArthur took steps to implement the order. [note]

After reaching Taejŏn on 1 July, Colonel Wright sent five KMAG officers back to ROK Army headquarters. This headquarters remained in Suwŏn until 4 July. [05-27] [note]

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Meanwhile, the 34th Infantry Regiment loaded at Sasebo during the night of 1 July, and arrived at Pusan the next night. [note]

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On 1 July the Far East Command directed Eighth Army to assume responsibility for all logistical support of the United States and Allied forces in Korea. [09-13] This included the ROK Army. When Eighth Army became operational in Korea, this logistical function was assumed by Eighth Army Rear which remained behind in Yokohama. This dual function of Eighth Army-that of combat in Korea and of logistical support for all troops fighting in Korea-led to the designation of that part of the army in Korea as Eighth United States Army in Korea. This situation existed until 25 August. [note]

Almost from the outset of American intervention, General MacArthur had formulated in his mind the strategical principles on which he would seek victory. Once he had stopped the North Koreans, MacArthur proposed to use naval and air superiority to support an amphibious operation in their rear. By the end of the first week of July [Sat 7/1/50 or the end of the 1st week of the war] he realized that the North Korean Army was a formidable force. His first task was to estimate with reasonable accuracy the forces he would need to place in Korea to stop the enemy and fix it in place, and then the strength of the force he would need in reserve to land behind the enemy's line. That the answer to these problems was not easy and clearly discernible at first will become evident when one sees how the unfolding tactical situation in the first two months of the war compelled repeated changes in these estimates.

[note]

Task Force Smith

Task Force Smith, comprised of elements of the 24th Division's 21st Regiment, then based in Japan, was the first American unit to fight in Korea. The initial 406 members of Task Force Smith arrived at Pusan by air on 1 July 1950 and were rushed north by train and truck. [note]

By July 1st, Lieutenant Colonel Charles B. Smith's 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division had arrived in Pusan, Korea.

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two under-strength rifle companies, Bravo and. Charlie. They deployed one-half each of the Headquarters Company and the Communications Platoon with a platoon of four 75-mm recoilless rifles and four 4.2inch mortars. Each company had a weapons platoon with a .50 caliber machine gun, two .30 caliber machine guns and two 60-mm mortars. The Task Force had six 2.36-inch bazooka teams. It would not be enough for the coming battle.[3] [note]

US Air Force

GENERAL MACARTHUR had hoped that American intervention in Korea would rally the ROK forces for a stand along the Han River, but the North Korean Peoples' Army, after pausing to regroup at Sŏul, forged across the Han and occupied Suwŏn in force on 1 July. This day, 374th troop Carrier Wing C54's shuttled six loads of 24th Division troops to Pusan before foul weather forced other elements of the division to cross by water.

On 4 July one battalion of the 24th Division reached Osan, about ten miles south of Suwŏn, beginning U.S. ground forces participation in the Korean action. Enemy attacks, spearheaded by some 30 tanks, drove these troops back to the road junction at Ch'ŏnan on 6 July, and continued enemy pressure made this position untenable on 8 July. Unable to match the North Korean onslaught, ROK and U.S. troops fell back in a series of delaying actions until they reached Kongju and Choch'iwŏn on 11 July.

[note]

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At the beginning of Korean hostilities the only transport unit assigned to FEAF was the Fifth Air Force's 374th troop Carrier Wing, based at Tachikawa with two squadrons of C-54 's; the 21st Squadron was on detached service in the Philippines.

Other miscellaneous transport aircraft, mostly C-47 's, were assigned to the tactical wings. In spite of the hurry and adverse operational conditions, 374th Wing transports flew 757 hours between 25 June and 1 July.

They flew the advance echelon of the 24th Infantry Division into Korea and ferried across signal equipment, jeeps, ordnance, maps, quartermaster stores, and medical supplies to support the division. [note]

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The warning alert, followed by appropriate operations and movement orders, went out to the 22nd and 92nd Groups on or soon after 1 July. Officers and airmen who had been planning Fourth of July celebrations found themselves packing crates, loading cargo planes, or standing in lines before the boarding ramps of planes bound for the Far East. (They will not actually begin deployment until the 5th of July). [note]

The warning alert, followed by appropriate operations orders, went out to the 22nd and 92nd Groups on or soon after 1 July. Officers and airmen who had been planning Fourth of July holidays found themselves packing crates, loading cargo planes, or standing in line before the boarding ramps of planes bound for the Far East. After hurried hours of packing and preparation, the deployment airlift got under way. [note]

The troubles of command, however, seemed less pressing in early July than the matter of bringing FEAF's combat units within range of Korean targets, a problem involving bases which could be made available and the types of aircraft which would be employed.

Until airfields could be prepared in Korea, fighters and light bombers had to fly from Kyushu or southern Honshu.

During the first weeks of hostilities, when it was not yet evident whether other Communist nations might attempt active intervention in Korea, the air defense of Japan could not be neglected.**

** As late as September 1950, a report was circulated in Communist channels within Aichi Prefecture that on or about 10 September some 1,000 Russian planes would strike U. N. airbases in Korea and Japan.

General Stratemeyer therefore directed that one squadron of F-80 's and one flight of F-82 's were to be maintained at Misawa, Johnson, and Itazuke Air Bases.

As soon as strength permitted, another F-80 squadron would be stationed in the Tokyo area. One F-80 squadron of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Group was to remain in the Philippines, charged both with local air defense and with flying a show of force over Formosa. [note]

GENERAL MACARTHUR had hoped that American intervention in Korea would rally the ROK forces for a stand along the Han River, but the North Korean Peoples' Army, after pausing to regroup at Sŏul, forged across the Han and occupied Suwŏn in force on 1 July. This day, 374th troop Carrier Wing C54's shuttled six loads of 24th Division troops to Pusan before foul weather forced other elements of the division to cross by water. [note]

During early July, however, it was still by no means certain how the F-80C would work out in combat. The Air Materiel Command did not approve of the use of the "big" 265-gallon wing tanks, because of structural limitations of the wing tips and the bomb shackles. Use of the large tanks did, as a matter of fact, result in numerous cracked wing tips and pulled rivets. Without the large tanks, however, the F-80's could not have operated effectively in the Korean war.

Movement of tactical units to Korea was the easiest solution to the range problem, but the loss of Kimp'o and Suwŏn during the first days of hostilities cost the Fifth Air Force the two best airfields in South Korea. Pusan had a 4,930-foot. runway, and although it was poor even for transports and was surrounded by mountain hazards, it nevertheless seemed the most promising location for jet fighters.


Taegu had a 5,250-foot hard clay surface runway, at first suitable only for C-47 's. Further reconnaissance showed a 5,000-foot surfaced strip at P'ohang, which appeared to have possibilities for expansion, although it was situated in one of the areas of prewar Communist guerrilla activities.

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Having asked the USAF for an initial shipment of one million square feet of pierced-steel plank (PSP) and having set about reclaiming the PSP in Japan to use in Korea," early in July FEAF began expanding Pusan (K-1), Taegu (K-2), and P'ohang (K-3) to meet Fifth Air Force operational standards. [note]

Serious enough to pose a problem from the first days of operations was a confusing similarity in Korean place names. P'yŏngyang, for example, was the capital of North Korea; P'yŏnggang was the site of an advanced enemy airfield just north of the 38th parallel; Pyongyong was a town of no especial importance on the railway north of Pusan. Alternate place names appeared on different maps. The airfield on the southeastern coast of Korea was variously called Geijitsu Bay, Yŏngil-wan, P'ohang-dong, P'ohang-wan, or P'ohang. FEAF soon had to demand that all names of towns and villages be accompanied by identifying geographical coordinates, and early in July it would assign a "K-site" number to each airfield in Korea for purposes of exact identification.#90

#90 Msg. AX-1841, CG FEAF to CG FAF, et al., 1 July 1950.

66 U.S. Air Force in Korea
While the importance of weather to military operations had been theoretically reduced as American armed forces had increased their all-weather potentials, climatology and weather remained major factors in planning air operations over Korea. Lying in the same latitudes as the eastern seaboard of the United States between upper New York and North Carolina, Korea has a climate that is generally hot and humid in the summer and cold and fairly dry in the winter. Summer is the season of" heavy rains. In July most of the country receives from eight to ten inches of rain. and the southern highlands sometimes get more than sixteen inches. Summer cloud cover is generally heavy, and fogs and haze further reduce visibility, particularly in the forenoons. Winter temperatures in Korea are more extreme than those of the eastern seaboard of the United States. They range below zero degrees almost every night in the northern interior and between thirty and forty-live degrees during the day in southern coastal areas. There are strong upper winds at this season, but the predominantly dry air of the winter makes it the most favorable period for air operations.#91

The prevailing flow of weather over Korea is from the northwest, a factor which would complicate any forecasting of weather with the degree of accuracy which is needed by aerial operations. During the Korean hostilities Russian weather stations would continue to broadcast international meteorological observations, and from these periodic radio broadcasts FEAF weathermen could mark weather trends as they originated in central Siberia. The Chinese Communists, however, provided no weather data, and, as a result, weather fronts could not be mapped during the several days when they moved across North China and Manchuria. Even under the best of conditions. forecasting weather for mountainous Korea. which is surrounded by several thousand square miles of warm ocean currents, would have been a difficult problem. From the beginning of the war FEAF planners recognized that weather predictions for the battle area would not be completely accurate.#92

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An F-51 of the South African Air Force taxis out for a mission despite the weather.

[note]

On 1 July General Stratemeyer dispatched another requirements message to Washington. This time he asked for air units, some for service in Korea and some for air defense. Wanted were:

[note]

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Because of the fluid ground situation in Korea, the Army, on 1 July, had drawn its official bombline along the south bank of the Han River. North of this line aircrews were permitted to attack targets without restriction, but south of the bombline they had positively to identify targets as hostile before attacking them. How Fifth Air Force pilots were expected to identify ROK troops was somewhat indefinite. General Partridge submitted the question to General MacArthur's staff and received the reply that the ROK troops would mark themselves with white panels and carry South Korean flags, but that the North Koreans would probably do the same.#33

[note]



July 1, 1950 Saturday

Bio Bio

Early in July General Partridge had planned to use aviation engineers and civilian contractors to lengthen and improve a total of six of the old airfields which the Japanese had built in southern Korea. Such a number of fields would allow him to move all of his tactical air groups to Korea, where they would be proximate to the battle zone.#141



#141 Rpt., Lt. Gen. K. B. Wolfe, Dep. CofS Materiel USAF, subj: Report on Special Inspection trip to FEAF, ca. 21 July 1950.

Bio Bio


But as July progressed General Partridge's air-facilities planning went completely awry. Prospective airfield sites at P'yŏngt'aek, Taejŏn, and Kunsan were lost to the North Koreans. Both General Stratemeyer and General Partridge had expressed the expectation that the airfield at Pusan (K-1) could soon be prepared to support a tactical air group, but an on-the-spot survey made by General Timberlake and Lt. Col. William S. Shoemaker, the staff engineer of Advance Headquarters, revealed that Pusan could not be immediately improved.

Colonel Shoemaker accordingly established a detachment which would keep Pusan's airstrip sufficiently patched to permit light transport and emergency landings, and General Timberlake had diverted Company A of the 802nd Engineer Battalion to undertake an improvement project at P'ohang Airfield (K-3), on the southeast coast of Korea.#142


#142 Hist. 1st Const. Comd., pp. 4-5.
110 U.S. Air Force in Korea


The second airfield in Korea selected for development was the ROKAF facility at Taegu (K-2). FEAF decided to move the 822nd Engineer Aviation Battalion from Okinawa and concentrate it at Taegu. With the 822nd, although not attached to it, would travel the contact platoon of the 919th Engineer Aviation Maintenance Company.

[note]

US Maine Corsp

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Forward Echelon, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (July - September 1950)


[note]

Two days later [7/1] General Cates “attended SecNav’s conference.”

[note]


Admiral Sherman CNO, asked Admiral Arthur W. Radford, CinCPacFlt on 1 July how long it would take to move (a) a Marine BLT and (b) a Marine RCT from the Pacific Coast. [note]

By 1 July the North Korean invasion had progressed to a point where the great disparity in strength, equipment, and training between the opposing forces became apparent; an impartial glance at the balance revealed that it weighed heavily in favor of the North Korean army. To unprejudiced eyes and judgments, it was obvious that even with the commitment of the then contemplated United Nations forces, additional units would-be needed if the tide were to be stemmed. The choice logically fell on the Marines, as yet uncommitted in Korea. [note]

US Navy

Unfavorable weather; however, took off at 0800 in B-17 for
Itazuke and Ashiya - our advance bases.[52-Because of their proximity to Korea, the Kyushu bases of Itazuke and Ashiya became the primary fields for jet operations against the enemy. (At this time, the few Korean fields were ill-suited for these operations.) One squadron of the 49th FBG moved from Misawa to Itazuke on the 1st to join the 8th FBW, while a second squadron went to Ashiya. The group's last squadron remained at Misawa. Moving to Ashiya on July 6 was the 35th FIG, less its 41st Squadron, which went to Johnson AB for air defense. (Futrell, pp 67-68.)] Spent the day there; returning at 1823 Haneda. South Korean ground armies giving way; morale non-existent. CINCFE sending in U. S. infantry troops to attempt to bolster their lines and also secure security of our few bases.[53-President Truman's first decisions on June 25 were based on recommendations from the State and Defense Departments. These decisions were: order MacArthur to send arms and ammunition to Korea; furnish ships and planes for the evacuation of American dependents; and order the Seventh Fleet to report to MacArthur.] Reported that Suwon Airfield taken by the enemy. CSAF grants permission for my retention of Eubank and his team's services. All requests so far approved by CSAF. Will make report of my visit to 8th Fighter Wing to GHQ staff, tomorrow morning.

 

This perception was quickly dispelled by the stunning reverses suffered by the ROK troops. Finally, permission was granted on the 30th (Korean date) to attack airfields, troop concentrations, and other military targets in North Korea. U.S. planes were to stay well clear of the Manchurian and Russian borders.

As can be seen, General MacArthur anticipated the release of his air units by almost a day. It would not be the last time he would take action without consulting either the JCS or the President. ("History of the JCS,"¯ Vol. III, pp 108-110.)

[note]

CINCPACFLT formed Task Force Yoke (ships assembled on West Coast of U.S. and at Pearl Harbor for Korean campaign) under RADM Boon.

COMNAVFE authorized COMSEVENTHFLT to continue strikes after 3 July as practicable.

COMNAVFE discontinue routine ASW patrols of Sasebo area until further notices. [note]

Two more organizational problems faced Admiral Joy in the first hectic days: the provision of some sort of escort for shipping en route to Pusan, and the establishment of the blockade of North Korea, recommended by the Chief of Naval Operations on 30 June

and ordered by the President next day [7/1]. These matters were dealt with by ComNavFE in Operation Order 8-50 promulgated on 3 July and effective on the 4th, which made further refinements in the organization of Task Force 96.

[note]

USS Cabezon (SS-334) made a fast turnaround at Hong Kong and joined with the others on the 28th off the northern tip of Luzon. Revised orders from Commander Seventh Fleet changed their destination also from Sasebo to Okinawa, and there they arrived on 30 June, to be joined next day by the submarine rescue vessel USS Greenlet (ASR-10) from Guam. At Buckner Bay new orders were received,

and on the 3rd Greenlet and her three charges sailed in company for Yokosuka.

[note]

Escort of shipping between Japan and Korea had so far been on a wholly catch-as-catch-can basis:USS Arikara (ATF-98) and HMAS Shoalhaven (K535)had been so used on 1 and 2 July, HMS Jamaica (C-44) and USS Collett (DD-730) on the 3rd. But now provision was made for an Escort Group, Task Group 96.1, with a commander and units to be assigned when available. Shortly the job would be turned over to the frigates under Captain A. D. H. Jay, DSO, DSC, RN, commanding officer of HMS Black Swan (U-57). [note]

On the 1st, HMS Alacrity (U-60) and Black Swan arrived, and the day was spent in patrolling the coast and reorganizing the Support Group. USS De Haven (DD-727) and USS Collett (DD-730) were detached to Sasebo to fuel and to escort troopships to Pusan; Alacrity was ordered into the Yellow Sea to relieve USS Mansfield (DD-728) in Area Yoke; Juneau, Jamaica, and Black Swan continued on east coast patrol. [note]

Having taken up the challenge of the 25th of June, the maritime world for the third time in a century faced excruciating problems of time and distance. From the 38th parallel north of Sŏul, where the main invading force came down across the border, the airline distance to Pusan is some 225 miles. From Pusan to San Francisco by the great circle route is 4,914 miles, and by way of Pearl Harbor a thousand more. The task which faced the United States in mid-summer 1950 was that of equalizing these distances.

It was on this mission [7/1] of equalization that Task Force Smith flew to Pusan and entrained for the north. It was not an impressive force: two companies of infantry, one company of field artillery, two mortar platoons and one of recoilless rifles, six rocket launching teams. The emergency which brought it to Korea was one for which it had neither planned nor trained.

Others, however, had gone before it on a similar errand. Like the British Expeditionary Force of another generation at Mons, like the RAF in the September sky ten years before, like the Americans and Filipinos at Bataan, the navies in the Java Sea, and the carrier pilots at Midway, Task Force Smith and those who followed were put in to hold the line. Whether this commitment would be justified depended on the speed with which help came. To come, it had to cross the seas. [note]

The troops and supplies, so urgently needed in Korea, could come in the first instance only from within the Far Eastern theater. In the first days of war ammunition had been sent in on the USNS Cardinal O'Connell (AKV-7) and USNS Sergeant George D. Keathley (T-APC-117), and Admiral Doyle's Amphibious Group had been ordered down to Sasebo.

On 1 July Task Force Smith was flown to Pusan, the rest of the 24th Division had begun a hurried embarkation, at Sasebo and Inland Sea ports, in vessels belonging to the Shipping Control Administration, Japan. Escort for the priceless cargo carried by these Scajap ships was provided by the fleet tug Arikara, a somewhat limited screening force to represent the greatest naval power on earth.

The Scajap fleet, Japanese manned and Japanese supported but operating under occupation force control, held the designation of Task Group 96-3 in the organization of Naval Forces Japan. In the emergency of 1950 its 12 freighters and 39 LSTs were to prove a priceless asset, and beginning with the movement of the 24th Division the Scajap ships would be used to the limit in intra-area lift. But the principal responsibility for over-water transportation, both by statute and by order of CincFE, fell upon the Military Sea transportation Service.

The Military Sea transportation Service is a unified logistic organization, established within the Navy Department to provide, under a single authority, the necessary sea transport for Defense Department cargo and personnel, save only that handled by the fleet itself. As such it had absorbed the old Naval transportation Service and the ships and seagoing functions of the Army transportation Corps. Headed by a vice admiral responsible to the Chief of Naval Operations and administered through a naval command structure, but staffed largely by civil service personnel, the Service was designed to function both as a scheduling and as an operating agency.

In the first capacity MSTS chartered from commercial operators the space required for the greater portion of Defense Department sea lift.

In the second, in addition to its commissioned and Navy-manned (USS) and civil service-manned (USNS) transports and cargo ships, MSTS came to own and control a tanker fleet operated under contract by private companies for the Military Petroleum Supply Agency, the unified petroleum procurement agency of the Department of Defense.

In emergencies for which space charter and the MSTS fleet were together inadequate, the Service could resort to time charter of merchant shipping.

MSTS had been created in October 1949 by directive of the Secretary of Defense, pursuant to the National Security Act of 1947. In the following months it developed into a world-wide operating agency, with major area commands in London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. The first Deputy Commander for the Western Pacific reached Tokyo in January 1950 to organize his command, activation of which was scheduled for 1 July

On that date [July 1], in accordance with plan, Captain Alexander F. Junker assumed his responsibilities as DepComMSTS WestPac to find himself faced by an emergency of wholly unexpected dimensions.

The first problem was to find the shipping for an immediate large scale lift of troops and supplies. That under Captain Junker's own control the MSTS "owned" shipping in the area-was initially limited to 25 intra-area support ships inherited from the Army. Not all of these were of types useful to the task, but there were ten 175-foot, 500-ton capacity cargo ships (AKL) of Army design, the two 340-foot coastal transports(T-APc) USNS Sergeant George D. Keathley (T-APC-117) and USNS Sgt. Joseph E. Muller each normally carrying 100 troops, and six LSTs. Three LSTs and two AKLs had been inactivated, but work on them was quickly put in hand, and the LSTs were operating by the 8th.

A second source of shipping was, of course, to be found in the Scajap fleet, which was immediately made available and which continued to be employed in close connection with MSTS. A third expedient it was to retain and employ MSTS transports and cargo ships which, like the aircraft transport USNS Cardinal O'Connell (AKV-7), had reached the Far Eastern theater on normal transPacific runs. Finally, most fortunately and most importantly, there was the possibility of charter of Japanese merchant ships. [note]

Three days later [7/1]Admiral Sherman queried CincPacFleet as to the time necessary to move out a battalion landing team or a regimental combat team. [note]

On 28 June CincPacFleet asked the Chief of Naval Operations for operational control of the west coast squadrons,

and two days later the request was granted.
On 1 July, in his capacity as CinCPac, Admiral Radford requested the commander of the Pacific Division of MATS to double his lift within ten days. [note]

Only Admiral Higgins’ minesweeping groups and the Military Sea transportation Service continued to grow in strength. Reinforcements for the former were still arriving as November came, while the latter had not yet reached its peak. Having entered business on 1 July as the proprietor of 25 small ships, Captain Junker’s command had undergone an explosive expansion, until by the time of the Wŏnsan landing it controlled 243 vessels.

[note]

On the 1st, HMS Alacrity (U-60) and HMS Black Swan (U-57) arrived, and the day was spent in patrolling the coast and reorganizing the Support Group. USS De Haven (DD-727) and USS Collett (DD-730) were detached to Sasebo to fuel and to escort troopships to Pusan; Alacrity was ordered into the Yellow Sea to relieve USS Mansfield (DD-728) in Area Yoke; USS Juneau (CLAA-119), HMS Jamaica (C-44), and Black Swan continued on east coast patrol. [note]

On the evening of 1 July Task Force 77, now enlarged to two carriers, two cruisers, and ten destroyers, sortied from Buckner Bay and headed northwest and north toward the launching area in the Yellow Sea. [note]

Since the evening of 1 July Task Force 77 had been steaming north from Buckner Bay, Buckner Bay to the Yellow Sea

and by early morning of the 3rd Admiral Struble's Striking Force had reached the designated launching point. [note]

Korean_War

[note]


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After this Blair House meeting the Pentagon group returned to Johnson's office to recast the instructions to MacArthur to reflect Truman's view that no limits be placed on the commitment of MacArthur's available ground forces. The discussion proved to be more complicated than at first envisioned because MacArthur's longstanding, primary military mission was to protect Japan. The matter was finally resolved with this cable:

"Restrictions on use of Army Forces imposed by JCS . . . are hereby removed and authority granted to utilize Army Forces available to you as proposed . . . [3-in your report]. ... Subject only to requirements for safety of Japan in the present situation which is a matter for your judgment."[3-56]


The Pentagon group then rushed back to the White House for an 11:00 A.M. [3-6/30/1950]. meeting to brief the leadership of the Senate and House. Despite considerable advice to the contrary, Truman had decided to continue downplaying the crisis and not to ask the Congress for a formal declaration of war; he would continue publicly to describe - and demean - Korea as a "police action." This decision came back to haunt Truman, but that day the congressional leadership backed his decisions almost unanimously. Only one member of Congress - Truman's "enemy" Republican Senator Kenneth S. Wherry - expressed disapproval. Wherry believed Truman should have consulted Congress before committing Americans to war in Korea.[3-57] [note]

This momentous decision was arrived at in a mere six days. One of the more curious aspects about it was that no one in a high position in the Truman administration opposed the decision. All the senior men who helped shape it—Truman, Acheson, Johnson, the JCS, MacArthur—appeared to be trying to outdo the other in bellicosity and haste. [note]

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By 0300 1 July Colonel Smith and his men were on trucks and started on the seventy-five mile drive from Camp Wood to Itazake. They rode in a downpour of rain, the same monsoon deluge that descended on General Church and his ADCOM party that night on the road from Suwŏn to Taejŏn. [note]

Task Force Smith departed Camp Wood Japan, at 3:00 A.M. the next morning in a rainstorm for Itazuke Airfield - an Air Force base some seventy five miles [5 hours] away. [note]

0315 Korean Time

These instructions were formalized in an Eighth Army Operation Order at 0315 1 July which provided that

(1) a delaying force of two rifle companies, under a battalion commander, reinforced by two platoons of 4.2-inch mortars and one platoon of 75-mm. recoilless rifles was to go by air to Pusan and report to General Church for orders;

(2) the division headquarters and one battalion of infantry were to go to Pusan by air at once;

(3) the remainder of the division would follow by water; and

(4) a base was to be established for early offensive operations.

The mission of the advance elements was phrased as follows:

"Advance at once upon landing with delaying force, in accordance with the situation, to the north by all possible means, contact enemy now advancing south from Sŏul towards Suwŏn and delay his advance." [06-2]

The order also stated that General Dean would assume command of all U.S. Army Forces in Korea (USAFIK) upon his arrival there.


In the next few days Eighth Army transferred a total of 2,108 men to the 24th Division from other units to bring it up to full authorized strength, most of them from the other three infantry divisions. The division, thus readied for the movement to Korea, numbered 15,965 men and had 4,773 vehicles. [06-3] [note]

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The enemy's main crossing effort, aimed at Yŏngdŭngp'o, came the next morning. The 4th Division prepared to make the attack. For the assault crossing, it committed its 5th Regiment which had been in reserve all the way from the 38th Parallel to Sŏul. The 3rd Battalion of the regiment started crossing the river southwest of Sŏul at 0400 1 July, and upon reaching the south side it immediately began a two-day battle for Yŏngdŭngp'o. The remainder of the 4th Division followed the lead battalion across the river and joined in the battle. [note]

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3PM 6/30 Washington

That afternoon Delegate Warren Austin addressed the Security Council of the United Nations telling them of the action taken by the United States in conformity with their resolutions of 25 and 27 June. On the afternoon of 30 June, also, the President announced his momentous decision to the world in a terse and formal press release.[04-41]

The die was cast. The United States was in the Korean War.

[note]

The sources of replacements within the Far East quickly dried up. Men were taken from administrative and noncombatant duties and sent to the combat units. In the United States, every installation was combed for individuals who could be shipped quickly to Korea.


General MacArthur first asked for 5,000 combat and 425 service replacements. On 1 July, he asked that these troops be added to the normal number shipped to his command each month, stipulating that they be qualified and experienced, for they were "going directly into the combat zone in Korea for an indefinite period...." [05-23] This number could be sent without difficulty, and most would reach Japan within the month, the remainder early in August.
The Department of the Army gave MacArthur special dispensations that would improve the replacement status in the Far East while not enfeebling military strength elsewhere. He could retain enlisted men in his command even though their foreign service tours had been completed. He could keep Reserve officers after their category commitments had expired, if they agreed. He could call to active duty limited numbers of Reserve personnel already in the Far East. [05-24] [note]

0513 Sun Rise

But during the night the 374th Wing unloaded its aircraft, and at dawn on 1 July a fleet of C-46's, C-47's, and C-54 's was standing by for the troop lift at Itazuke. #l


Plans for moving the 24th Division to Korea were worked out at Itazuke between General Dean and representatives of the 374th troop Carrier Wing. As a matter of priority, General Dean wanted the 24th Division headquarters and two battalions of infantry troops lifted to Korea by air. The remainder of the division could proceed by water transport from Fukuoka to Pusan. Using C-54's, each of which would carry 50 soldiers, the representatives of the 374th Wing thought that the task could be accomplished in three days without much difficulty. But the planners did not reckon with foul flying weather and the sorry condition of the runway at Pusan. On the morning of 1 July a cloud ceiling hung only a little above the rice paddies which surrounded the Pusan landing strip, and [note]

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The change from garrison to combat duties had come abruptly on the morning of 1 July 1950 when the division commander (Maj. Gen. William F. Dean) called the commander of the 34th Infantry and alerted the entire regiment for immediate movement to Korea. At the time the regiment consisted of only two under-strength battalions. [note]

Later that day [3-1700 6/30/1950] the White House issued a terse statement to the press, outlining the major decisions the president had taken over the preceding two days. It stated that the Air Force had been authorized to attack "specific military targets" in North Korea "wherever militarily necessary" and that a naval blockade had been imposed for "the entire Korean coast." However, the extent of the commitment of American ground forces was not forthcoming, presumably for security reasons. The White House merely said: "General MacArthur has been authorized to use certain supporting ground units." But the press was not misled. Within an hour or so of the release the Washington Evening Star appeared on newsstands with a banner headline: U.S. SENDS GROUND TROOPS INTO KOREA.[3-58]


The die was cast; there was no turning back. America was committed to waging air, sea, and ground war against Asians on the Asian mainland. America was intervening in a Korean civil war, not because its strategic Interests in the Far East were threatened but because Washington had to show Moscow that "raw aggression" was unacceptable, that a line had to be drawn. [note]

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About 8 AM the small delaying force part of the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry landed at Pusan Airfield on 1 and 2 July, with Lt. Col. Charles B. Smith in command. The artillery battery originally called for had been replaced by two 4.2-inch mortar platoons. A platoon of 77-mm recoilless rifles and six 2.36-inch bazooka teams had also been added. Because of the poor flying weather many trucks and some soldiers could not be flown in until later. [05-4] [note]

The 34th Infantry had not been the first unit of the United States Army to reach Korea. Part of the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry (24th Division), had been airlifted from Japan on the morning of 1 July. After landing at Pusan it had boarded trains immediately, and rushed northward. The battalion commander (Lt. Col. Charles B. Smith) had the mission of setting up roadblocks to halt the North Korean southward thrust.

Korean_War

Part of this force had gone to P'yŏngt'aek and part to Ansŏng, a village ten miles east of P'yŏngt'aek. [01-3] [note] [map]

0805 Korean Time

Smith's motor convoy reached Itazake at 0805.


General Dean was waiting for Smith at the airfield.

"When you get to Pusan," he said to him, "head for Taejŏn. We want to stop the North Koreans as far from Pusan as we can. Block the main road as far north as possible. Contact General Church. If you can't locate him, go to Taejŏn and beyond if you can. Sorry I can't give you more information. That's all I've got. Good luck to you, and God bless you and your men." [06-5]


Thus, the fortunes of war decreed that Colonel Smith, a young infantry officer of the West Point Class of 1939 who had served with the 25th Division in the Pacific in World War II, would command the first American ground troops to meet the enemy in the Korean War. Smith was about thirty-four years of age, of medium stature, and possessed a strong, compact body. His face was friendly and open.


Assembled at Itazake, Colonel Smith's force consisted of the following units and weapons of the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment:


Each man had 120 rounds of .30-caliber rifle ammunition and 2 days of C rations.

In all, there were about 440 men, of whom only 406 were destined to be in the group air-landed in Korea that day. [06-6]


Smith's force had a liberal sprinkling of combat veterans from World War II. About one-third of the officers had had combat experience either in Europe or in the Pacific. About one-half of the noncommissioned officers were World War II veterans, but not all had been in combat. Throughout the force, perhaps one man in six had had combat experience. Most of the men were young, twenty years old or less. [note]

At 8:05 A.M. on July 1 Brad Smith, leading a convoy of 440 men through a torrential downpour, arrived at the Air Force base outside Itazuke, Kyushu.* Bill Dean was there to greet the force and wish the men well, but he had bad news. So far FEAF had managed to provide only six C54s for the airlift. More were on the way - maybe. Meanwhile, they would have to make do with what they had.[4-25]


*Task Force Smith was composed of about half a battalion: two rifle companies (B and C) which were beefed up with riflemen from Pryor's 3/21, two composite heavy weapons platoons, equipped with four 75mm recoilless rifles, four 4.2inch mortars, and four 60mm mortars. [note]

picture of Smith & Dean & Church & Walker + Map

The convoy arrived at 8:05 A.M., five hours later. Smith was met at the airfield by Major General William Dean, Commander of the 24th Infantry Division. Brad Smith later commented the order given him by General Dean was "the most general, widespread, far-flung order that a battalion commander ever had."[2] Dean issued the following order to Smith at Itazuke Airfield:


When you get to Pusan, head for Taejŏn. We want to stop the North Koreans as far from Pusan as we can.


Block the main road as far north as possible. Contact General Church. If you can't locate him, go to Taejŏn and beyond if you can. Sorry I can't give you more information. That's all I've got. Good luck to you, and God bless you and your men.[3]


3

p09
General Dean could not even tell Smith where Brigadier General John Church could be located. Brad Smith later said that he was convinced that Dean did not know if they could even land in Pusan because the enemy might already be there waiting for them.[4] Some have criticized General Dean for not challenging the Eighth Army Commander, General Johnnie Walker, for sending 24th Division soldiers into combat.[5]


picture of C-54


Task Force Smith departed Japan on six C-54 transport aircraft headed for Pusan, Korea. Because of the restricted cargo capacity of the C-54's, critical weapons, equipment and vehicles were sent via ship with the remainder of the battalion.


D Company, the heavy weapons company, traveled by ship because of the heavy load of equipment it carried. It would not rejoin the battalion until after the initial battle was over. In Japan, Smith had no knowledge of additional support, if any, that he would have with which to fight the North Koreans with.[6]


Arriving at Pusan on July 1st, Task Force Smith proceeded to Taejŏn by train on an all night ride. , [note]

0845 Korean Time

Only six C-54 planes were available for the transport job. The first plane was airborne at 0845. The first and second planes upon arrival over the small runway near Pusan found it closed in with fog and, unable to land, they returned to Japan. [note]

Notwithstanding the downpour in Japan and the reportedly unfavorable weather in South Korea, Smith and his men immediately began to load and board the aircraft. At 8:45 A.M. the first C54 was airborne. Minutes later a second aircraft, carrying Smith and a slimmed down 1/21 headquarters, took off.

The flight to Pusan took only one hour, but it concluded with more bad news: The field at Pusan was closed on account of bad weather. Both planes were forced to return to Japan, a maddening anticlimax for Smith's keyed up men.


Later in the day the weather improved, and the airlift commenced anew. Six planeloads of infantry got to South Korea before bad weather again closed the Pusan field. [note]

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Early in July, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had approved sending a Marine RCT with supporting tactical air to the Far East Command. [09-12]

[note]

0945 Korean Time

The flight to Pusan took only one hour, but it concluded with more bad news: The field at Pusan was closed on account of bad weather. Both planes were forced to return to Japan, a maddening anticlimax for Smith's keyed up men.

Later in the day the weather improved, and the airlift commenced anew. Six planeloads of infantry got to South Korea before bad weather again closed the Pusan field. [note]

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Although Admiral Andrewes' ships had received the designation of Task Group 96.8, these for the moment were divided between the Support Group and the Seventh Fleet Striking Force, which had reached Okinawa on 30 June.

Joined on the next day by HMS Triumph (R16), HMS Belfast (C-35), HMS Cossack (D-57), and HMS Consort (D-76), Task Force 77 remained for the moment poised between Korea and Formosa. [note]

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Colonel Emmerich, who the previous afternoon (????6/27???) had received instructions to have the airstrip ready, a few other KMAG officers, and a great number of South Korean civilians met the first elements when they landed about 1100. [06-7] [note]

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Early the next afternoon Admiral Joy's headquarters issued its Operation Order 7-50 assigning 16 Scajap LSTs to Admiral Doyle, and instructing him to lift the 24th Infantry Division, Major General William F. Dean, USA, from Fukuoka and Sasebo to Pusan.

Pursuant to this order CTF 90 got underway at once with USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7), USS Cavalier (APA-37), and USS Union (AKA-106), escorted by HMS Hart (M-55), and headed for Sasebo. [note]

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1430 Korean Time


Colonel Smith was on the second plane but he could not land in Korea [at 0945]until the tenth flight-between 1400 and 1500.
[note

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1536 Korean Time

the first C-54 could not leave southern Japan for that destination until 1536 hours in the afternoon. After six loads of infantry troops were landed, the weather at Pusan closed in again and a few planes had to return to Japan without accomplishing their mission. [note]

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First U.S. ground combat troops, Task Force Smith (1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, 24th Infantry Division), arrive in Korea. [note]

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On the evening of 1 July Task Force 77, now enlarged to two carriers, two cruisers, and ten destroyers, sortied from Buckner Bay and headed northwest and north toward the launching area in the Yellow Sea. [note]

Owing to budget cuts in the U.S. Navy, the units of the 24th Division which moved to South Korea by ship had to scrounge transportation. The commander of the 34th Regiment, Jay Lovless, was lucky. He found some ships at the Navy base in Sasebo and embarked on the night of July 1 - the first day of the vaunted airlift [note]

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1954 Sun Set

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A miscellaneous assortment of about a hundred Korean trucks and vehicles assembled by Colonel Emmerich transported the men of Task Force Smith the seventeen miles from the airstrip to the railroad station in Pusan.

Cheering crowds lined the streets and waved happily to the American soldiers as they passed. The city was in gay spirits-flags, banners, streamers, and posters were everywhere. Korean bands at the railroad station gave a noisy send-off as the loaded train pulled out at 2000. [note]

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2134 Moon Rise

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Sun Rise 0513 1954
Moon Rise 2134 0611
Moon Phase 95% 16 days

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0900 AM Washington DC

Secretary Johnson, on 1 July, asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff how he should approach the general problem of military assistance from other nations for the Korean fighting. He wanted to know if the United States should actively solicit other nations for troops and, if so, what kind of troops should be sought.

The passing of the United Nations Security Council resolution of 7 July made definite standards for accepting or turning down forces mandatory. [note]

On a Sunday morning, under overcast skies, the Roanoke Reservists assembled in front of the armory and marched down Naval Reserve Avenue to the Norfolk & Western station. The few people on the sidewalk, including a few Churchgoers in front of St. John's Episcopal, watched in silence as the troops marched by, their boondockers making the characteristic crunching sound on the macadam. At the station, a photographer from the Roanoke Times took a picture of Hopkins shaking hands with his father. The caption would read, "Goodbye and good luck, son."

A large percentage of Reservists were veterans of the Second World War, a war that had ended only five years earlier. Corporal Roy Pearl of Duluth, Minnesota, had seen action on Bougainville, Peleliu, Guam, and Okinawa. Joining the Reserves after the war, he attended weekend drills and summer camp, drawing meager pay to supplement the income he earned servicing cars. Like most of his peers he answered the unexpected summons without complaint, but it was hard. One of his concerns was that his daughters, three years and three months old respectively, had not been baptized.

"I was greatly relieved," he recalls, "when our minister agreed to stop by and take care of it in our living room."

The Duluth Reservists marched to the train station early the following morning. Helen Pearl was to meet her husband there with the girls. At first she was unable to find him among the Marines already boarding; but after a frantic search, there he was, smiling bravely. There was just enough time to present him with a keepsake ring inscribed To Roy FROM HELEN and kiss him good-bye.

1st Lt. Chew-Een Lee's memory of leaving home remains vivid in his mind nearly half a century later. "I came from a family of limited means. My father, whose Chinese name was Brilliant Scholar, distributed fruit and vegetables to restaurants and hotels in Sacramento. He stayed home from work that morning, and my mother, whose Chinese name was Gold jade, made a special meal. There was an awkward moment when the clock on the wall said it was time to depart. My mother was very brave. She said nothing. My father had been reading the Chinese newspaper, or pretending to. He was a tough guy, my father, and I admired his toughness. He rose from his chair and shook my hand abruptly. He tried to talk, but couldn't, and that's when my mother broke down. I was the first-born and now I was going away, probably for good. This departure was very difficult for me ... leaving them behind like that, such hardworking people, struggling for survival."

[note]


Casualties

Saturday July 01, 1950 (Day 007)

Korean_War 002 Casualties

Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous 7 17 1 0 0 25
Today 2 0 0 0 0 2
TOTAL 9 17 1 0 0 27

Aircraft Losses Today 1

Korean_War

Notes for Saturday July 1, 1950 - Day 7