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Albert P. DiRaimo Staff SGT  US Army 1952-1954


The Korean War Reaches a Stalemate

In July 1951, President Truman and his new military commanders started peace talks at Panmunjom. Still, the fighting continued along the 38th parallel as negotiations stalled. Both sides were willing to accept a ceasefire that maintained the 38th parallel boundary, but they could not agree on whether prisoners of war should be forcibly “repatriated.” (The Chinese and the North Koreans said yes; the United States said no.) Finally, after more than two years of negotiations, the adversaries signed an armistice on July 27, 1953. The agreement allowed the POWs to stay where they liked; drew a new boundary near the 38th parallel that gave South Korea an extra 1,500 square miles of territory; and created a 2-mile-wide “demilitarized zone” that still exists today.

Unlike World War II and Vietnam, the Korean War did not get much media attention in the United States. The most famous representation of the war in popular culture is the television series “M*A*S*H,” which was set in a field hospital in South Korea. The series ran from 1972 until 1983, and its final episode was the most-watched in television history.


H-19 Chickasaw / The 13th Transportation Company

The H-19 Chickasaw holds the distinction of being the US Army's first true transport helicopter and, as such, played an important role in the initial formulation of Army doctrine regarding air mobility and the battlefield employment of troop-carrying helicopters. The H-19 underwent live service tests in the hands of the 6th Transportation Company, during the Korean War beginning in 1951 as an unarmed transport helicopter. Undergoing tests such as medical evacuation, tactical control and front-line cargo support, the helicopter succeeded admirably in surpassing the capabilities of the H-5 Dragonfly which had been used throughout the war by the Army


On May 1, the 13th Transportation Company (Heli-copter) arrived at Inchon, after which nine of its pilots were sent to the 6th for orientation and training. They teamed up with crews from the 6th to fly 16 of the H-19s to supply three frontline regiments of the 25th Infantry Division in Operation Skyhook on May 22-24.

To improve administrative control, on June 15 the two companies were united into the 1st Transportation Army Aviation Battalion. In June the Marine and Army cargo helicopter units teamed up in the largest chopper operation of the war, using a total of 45 aircraft to move 800 ROK troops. The two services also shared the duties of returning allied prisoners of war to freedom, starting with Operation Little Switch, on April 20-26, 1953, and accelerating with Operation Big Switch after the July 27 armistice. Thousands of U.S. and allied POWs were carried on helicopters to freedom from the exchange point at Panmunjom.

Although the first extensive use of helicopters in combat was handicapped by the limited capabilities of the early aircraft and the need to develop procedures under wartime pressure, they were widely hailed as tools that would be vital in future conflicts. On the basis of his experiences in Korea, Eighth Army commander Lt. Gen. Maxwell Taylor said: “The cargo helicopter, employed in mass, can extend the tactical mobility of the Army far beyond its normal capability. I hope that the United States Army will make ample provisions for the full exploitation of the helicopter in the future.”

Karen Foust: Major.  US Army 1986-1990, USAF 1991-2006


Post War Korea


The aftermath of the Korean War set the tone for Cold War tension between the superpowers. The Korean War was important in the development of the Cold War, as it showed that the two superpowers, United States and Soviet Union, could fight a "limited war" in a third country. The "limited war" or "proxy war" strategy was a feature of conflicts such as the Vietnam War and the Soviet War in Afghanistan, as well as Angola, Greece, and wars in the Middle East.

The Korean War was the first war in which the United Nations (UN) participated.  Some commentators argued that it showed that the UN was a powerful organization for helping to keep world peace. The UN Command in South Korea is still functional.

The war scarred both North and South Korea. Both nations suffered massive damage to their economies and infrastructure, as a result of bombings, artillery strikes and loss of skilled workers. In the aftermath of the war, South Korea was able to modernize and industrialize with the help of the United States. By contrast, North Korea's economy was at first robust, but in the 1990s it went into crisis.

Korean War Monument in Pyongyang, North Korea

Korea remains in a state of war, with no permanent peace treaty existing. Although a ceasefire exists, occasional violence generally blamed on North Korea by the west, still occurs. North Korea, some non-western countries, and even some factions within western countries, often blame the west for such violence and/or altercations. However, it is generally accepted that North Korea is the antagonist in these situations by most of the world. This has included hijacking and bombing of aircraft, shelling of territory, assassination attempts, bombings of South Korean government members abroad, torpedoing a South Korean naval ship, kidnapping, seizures of boats, and the construction of secret tunnels into South Korea.

Lou Bruschi: SGT - Medical Unit / Command Post.  US ARMY 40TH Infantry Division 1952- 1954

An operation is performed on a wounded soldier at the 8209th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, twenty miles from the front lines.  August 4, 1952.  Feldman.  (Army)
NARA FILE #  080-SC-409689

Mobile army surgical hospital

The Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) refers to a United States Army medical unit serving as a fully functional hospital in a combat area of operations. The units were first established in August 1945, and were deployed during the Korean War and later conflicts. The term was made famous in the television series M*A*S*H, which depicted a fictional MASH unit. The U.S. Army deactivated the last MASH unit on February 16, 2006. The successor to the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital is the Combat Support Hospital.

Field Care

The Korean War played a great role in defining MASH units. High casualties in the front line called for onsite paramedic care, such as ambulances and medical tents. Having learned from World War Ⅱ that transporting wounded soldiers to rear hospitals was highly inefficient in reducing mortality rate, MASH units were established near front lines to supply mobile and flexible military medical care. They contributed to making improvements in resuscitation and trauma care, patient transport, blood storage and distribution, patient triage, and evacuation.[7] Aeromedical evacuation system was developed to transport soldiers by unnoisy air crafts at a quicker pace. Helicopters were frequently used as "air ambulances" during Korean War. The Bell H-13 was a dominant medical evacuation aircraft during the war. Military doctors stabilized wounded soldiers midair, before getting them to field hospital. MASH onsite paramedic care and air ambulance system decreased post evacuation mortality by 37.5%, from 4.0% in World War to 2.5% in Korean War.

Casualties of the Korean War

The Korean War was relatively short but exceptionally bloody. Nearly 5 million people died. More than half of these–about 10 percent of Korea’s prewar population–were civilians. (This rate of civilian casualties was higher than World War II’s and Vietnam’s.) Almost 40,000 Americans died in action in Korea, and more than 100,000 were wounded.