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Korean War

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On 26 June, one day after 90,000 North Korean troops, armed with Soviet weapons, crossed the 38th parallel to invade South Korea, President Harry Truman directed U.S. military forces to assist South Korea. This began the Korean War, which came at a time when America was becoming more and more fearful of Communism. The fact that Communist China and the Soviet Union were backing the North Koreans added to American fears of a "Communist Takeover" of the world. Led by General Douglas MacArthur, American troops spent three years fighting in Korea. The war ended in stalemate in 1953 with the North Koreans north of the 38th parallel, a border that still separates North and South Korea. When North Korea invaded South Korea , the U.S. Air Force was less than three years old from its prior designation as the U.S. Army Air Forces, which ended on 30 September 1947. Thus the Korean War was its first conflict as an independent service. The Korean War was also the first war in which a world organization, the United Nations, played a military role. The Korean War marked the first battles between jet aircraft. Early in the conflict, Allied bombers and fighter planes based in Japan, Okinawa, and South Korea roared over North Korea unopposed. They supported Allied troops, killed enemy troops, and damaged Communist bases. The Soviet Union soon began to supply North Korea with MIG-15 Fagot jets, and dogfights became an important part of the war. As many as 150 to 200 U.S. F-86 Sabrejet, F-84 Thunderjet, F-80 Shooting Stars rose to meet MIG-15s flying from their fields in Manchuria. All the dogfights occurred over North Korea because Allied planes were Ð''not permitted' to cross the Yalu River, and the MIG-15's Ð''never' flew south of the 38th parallel. Most of the battles took place in "MIG Alley," an area between the Yalu and Pyongyang. The Allies used helicopters to carry wounded soldiers from battle zones to hospitals. Helicopter pilots made daring rescues of Allied fliers who had been shot down. For the first time, helicopters carried troops into combat. The U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps lost more than 2,000 planes during the war. Most of them were shot down by Communist antiaircraft guns. Allied fliers destroyed more than 1,000 Communist planes. Navy and Marine fliers killed about 100,000 Communist troops, and Air Force fliers killed about 184,800 troops. An armistice agreement was signed on July 27, 1953, and the fighting ended. A buffer zone, called the Demilitarized Zone, divided the two sides. It was 21/2 miles (4 kilometers) wide along the final battle line. South Korea gained about 1,500 square miles (3,880 square kilometers) of territory. Both sides agreed not to increase their military strength. "The Forgotten War." "Police Action." The Korean War has endured many names over time. However, it was more importantly recognized as the first major conflict between the East and West, and an important milestone in the initial years of the Cold War. But this war had a most devastating toll. The Korean War was one of the bloodiest wars in history. Over a million South Korean civilians were killed and several million were made homeless. Approximately 580,000 UN and South Korean troops and approximately 1,600,000 Communist troops were killed, wounded or reported missing. For US Forces, over 33,600 dead and almost 100,000 wounded and missing in action, with US Air Force totals at 1,841 killed, wounded or missing in action. It's important to note that no one service claim victory over another, but all made immeasurable contributions to the Korean War effort, with the Air Force no exception. Once again we must take this time to remember that Freedom is Not Free and to honor our fallen heroes. Time Line up to 14 July June 25 - Early morning - North Korean People's Army under General Chai Ung Jun, invades South Korea with seven assault infantry divisions, a tank brigade and two independent infantry



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