Korean War Memorial
From 1950 to 1953, the United States joined with the forces in Korea to take a stand against the threat to democratic nations worldwide. At war's end, a million and a half American veterans returned to a peacetime world of families and to a country reluctant to view the Korean War as something to memorialize. To the men and women who served, the Korean War could never be a forgotten war.
The passing of more than five decades has brought a new perspective to the war and its aftermath. A place of remembrance for the people who served in this hard-fought war half a world away was set aside. The Korean War Veterans Memorial in the National Mall, honors those Americans who answered the call, those who worked and fought under the most trying of circumstances, and those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom.
Some 8,000 servicemen are still missing from this war, the "War That Never Ended." The US government has never asserted publicly that there are any US POWs still in North Korea, although in 1996 a Pentagon analyst wrote in an internal report that 10 to 15 "possible POWs" probably were in communist captivity. In February 2005, the pentagon announced that the remains of a Korean War Air Force pilot that was shot down during a dogfight and crashed in Chinese territory had been identified.
Chinese soldiers fought on the North Koreans' side against the U.S. and South Korean forces, and the communist government in Beijing has balked at U.S. inquiries about the fate of missing U.S. servicemen.
Air Force Captain Troy Cope, of Norfork, Arkansas, was piloting what at the time was the Air Force's best fighter, the F-86 Sabre, on September 16, 1952. He encountered MiG-15 fighters, commonly said to be North Korean but flown by Russians, over the Yalu River that separates North Korea from China. His plane was shot down and Cope was never seen nor heard from again.
This recovery has put a spotlight on the Russian role in the 1950-53 Korean War that was kept quiet for decades. Many in the government have felt that the Russians had attempted, and possibly had managed, to capture U.S. pilots to exploit them for intelligence purposes. Cope was among 31 F-86 pilots lost and unaccounted for during the Korean War whom the Pentagon had suspected may have been captured alive and secretly smuggled into the Soviet Union.
If it were not for an unusual set of circumstances, Cope, 28, might not have ever been identified and brought home to rest on American soil. In 1995, a U.S. businessman saw Cope's name on a U.S. dog tag on display in a military museum in the Yalu River city of Dandong, China.
Four years later, during a search by Pentagon analysts of Russia's Podolsk military archives, documents describing Cope's shootdown were discovered. The papers included statements and drawings by Russian pilots who had flown the MiG-15s for the North Koreans in combat against the U.S. Air Force.
Detailed reports on a search of the crash site by Russian and Chinese officials were searched and they gave the Pentagon enough detail about the site to ask the Chinese government for permission to send a team of U.S. specialists to investigate. The site was excavated by U.S. officials in May of 2004, who were able to recover aircraft debris and human remains.
The remains were identified in October of 2004 and marked the first time remains of a U.S. military pilot from the Korean War had been recovered from Chinese territory. Cope was buried with full military honors on May 31 2005 in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
In the attempt to contain the spread of communism without sparking a larger war with China or the Soviet Union, 33,600 American lives were lost in combat. About 140,000 South Korean soldiers and 3,200 from the 15 other nations involved in the UN effort also died.
The UN Forces were comprised of the following troops:
Fourteen foreign nations sent ground forces to Korea. Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom comprised the British Commonwealth Forces. Belgium, Luxembourg, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, the Philippines and Thailand had battalion-sized units attached to U.S. Army divisions and Turkey deployed an infantry brigade.
Korean War Memorial, Washington, D.C., dedicated July 27, 1995
Information National Parks Service
and Columbus Dispatch
Short Timeline of the Korean War
The War That Never Ended
June 25: North Korea invades South Korea with 135,000 men.
The United Nations demands that North Korea returns to it's borders.
June 29: Seoul, the South Korean capital, falls to North Korea.
June 30: United States President Harry S. Truman
July 1: The first US infantry unit arrives and 4 days later
the US ground action begins.
September 15: US Marines and Army troops land at Inchon.
September 27: Under the command of General Douglas MacArthur,
the US and it's allies take control of Seoul.
October 9: The US 1st Cavalry Division leads a general assult
across the 38th parallel to reunify Korea.
October 20: US planes drop 2800 paratroopers near the Korean capital, Pyongyang.
October 25: Chinese communist forces launch their first offensive.
Nov 25 - Dec 15: Seven US divisions join a counteroffensive against Chinese forces.
The US 2nd and 25th divisions are defeated and begin a general Eighth Army retreat.
Jan 1st - 15th: 500,00 Chinese troops push UN forces
south of the 38th parallel and recapture Seoul.
Feb 1st: A UN resolution to end the war is approved.
Feb 16th: The seige of Wonson begins.
The Naval operation lasts for 861 days,
the longest effective seige of a port in Navy history.
March 7th - April 4th: Seven US divisions retake Seoul.
April 11: Truman dismisses MacArthur.
April 22nd - 29th:The communists launch the war's largest single battle with 250,000 men.
July 10th: Truce talks begin.
Sept 5th - 23rd: The 2nd Infantry seizes Heartbreak Ridge.
Sept 21st: In the first ever helicopter deployment of a combat unit
12 Sikorsky S-55 helicopters lift a company of 228 Marines.
Nov 27th: Both sides agree on the 38th parallel as the cease fire line of demarcation.
Feb 18th: Riots break out in Koje-do prison camp,
with 150,000 communist soldiers rising up against US and South Korean captors.
Another riot occurs March 13.
On May 7, POWs capture the US general in charge.
June 23rd - July 23rd: The US bombs North Korea electrical and hydroelectric power facilities.
Aug 12th - 25th: Marines capture Hill 122, east of Panmunjom..
Aug 29th: The US launches its largest air strike,
1400 warplanes hit Pyongyang.
Oct 8th: Truce talks are stopped.
Dec: The stalemate continues.
Feb 11th: General Maxwell taylor takes command of the US Eighth Army.
Mar 30th: Truce talks resume.
North Korea and China agree to a POW exchange.
Mar - Apr: Battles at Little Gibraltar, Old Baldy and at outposts Vegas, Reno, and Carson.
Apr 16th - 18th: The US 7th Infantry suffers heavy casualties in the Battle of Pork Chop Hill.
June 15th - 30th: the US attacks enemy positions by air.
July 6th - 10th: The 7th Infantry is ordered to evacuate Pork Chop Hill .
July 13th - 20th: the last communist offensive takes place.
July 27th: The US, North Korea and China sign an armistice.
Sept 4th: POW repatriation begins.