Korean War Commemoration

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History Overview on the Korean War 1950-1953


Shortly before dawn on 25 June 1950, seven infantry divisions and one armored division of the North Korean People's Army crossed the 38th Parallel into South Korea, quickly brushing aside resistance, the North Korean juggernaut captured the South Korean capital city of Seoul within three days.

The Security Council of the United Nations quickly declared the North Korean attack a breach of world peace, and requested member nations to aid the Republic of Korea in driving back the hostile force. On 29 June, President Harry S. Truman authorized the sending of U.S. forces to the area.

A request for the immediate employment of Marines came on 2 July from General Douglas MacArthur, USA, the Commander-in-Chief, Far East. Within five days of General MacArthur's request, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, with its major elements built around the 5th Marines and Marine Aircraft Group 33, had been formed at Camp Pendleton, California. On 12 July, the 6,534-man brigade sailed from San Diego, California to answer their nation's call for help. As they had been for 175-years, the Marines were ready.

For the next three years, the performance of the 1st Marine Division and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in helping to stem the tide of Communist aggression in Korea was nothing less than outstanding. In addition to their specialty of amphibious operations, Marines were called upon to fight alongside the Army in land campaigns. Such unfamiliar names as Inchon, Seoul, and the Chosin Reservoir soon joined Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima in the pantheon of Marine Corps history. The American people had great reason to be proud of their Marine Corps.

During the Korean War, the ground operations of the Marine Corps can be divided into six distinct periods. They are:

August-September 1950-Defense of the Pusan Perimeter
September-October 1950 Assault on Inchon-Seoul 
November-December 1950-Chosin Reservoir Campaign 
January 1951-March 1952-The East-Central Front 
March 1952-July 1953-The Western Front 
July 1953-February 1955-Post-Armistice period

Reference Branch
USMC History Division

Marine Corps University