*Now believed to be 235 (unverified)
SELECTED HOSTILE AND NON-BATTLE DEAD
The Surgeon General, Department of the Army, does not have a comprehensive roster of the total of personnel who were wounded in action (WIA). No records are maintained of wounded who were treated in the field and who did not require hospitalization. For example, one man told me he had been slightly wounded four times, but no records were kept. In each instance he was patched up at an aid station and sent back on the line. Thus, he was never awarded a Purple Heart.
According to DoD DIOR, neither the current data base nor the 1980 KCCF data base contain any listing of personnel wounded in action. The official accounting is: 105,519 WIA, of which 2,535 died of wounds (DOW).
It is important to remember that the DoD DIOR data was received by me in October 1994, revised in October 1995. Changes may have not been made since. Undoubtedly, in the future there will be more changes in the mix of the statistics as additional information is received and reported by the Services. The next scheduled publication is due in 1999. As remains are returned from North Korea, it is very porbable that a number of those who now are listed as "Died While Missing" or "Died While POW" will be reclassified as "Killed in Action" or "Died of Wounds."
PRINCIPAL WARS IN WHICH THE UNITED STATES PARTICIPATED
ARMY NON-BATTLE DEAD
Department of the Army: Reference No. 601-07, POW, MIA, Non-Battle Casualties, Korean Operation (all services) Korean War, March 31, 1954; the Army portion of the microfiche set (Fiche Nos. 0001-0018) contains the names of 30,073 dead from all causes (See Exhibit No. 5 for sample page). Although the title does not mention KIA ("Killed in Action") deaths, they are nevertheless included. For the purposes of this work, only the "Non-Battle" information was extracted from the 1954 microfiche list.
Insofar as it can be determined, the 1954 Army microfiche data identifies "Non-Battle" deaths as follows:
Thus, it appears that there are 2,392 Army "Non-Battle" dead (DNB, MNB, FOD) identified in the microfiche (See Appendix I for a compilation); 60 cases less than the official Army statistic of 2,452 Army "Non-Battle" dead contained in Frank Reister’s Battle Casualties and Medical Statistics: U.S. Army Experience in the Korean War, published by the Surgeon General, Department of the Army, 1973 (See Part I).
Column 1 indicates the sequence in which a name is contained in a Fiche. Columns 2, 3 and 4 show Name, Rank and Serial Number.
Column 5 shows Casualty Dates; only one date is shown where the casualty date and the reporting date is the same; a second number indicates a later reporting date; the dates are shown as Day-Month-Year; thus 08=06-53 = 8 June 1953. Column 6 shows Reclassifications from DNB to HDWM (18 in all) and FOD to KIA (three in all).
The above referenced microfiche data was obtained from the Department of the army on November 3, 1995 and December 18, 1995, respectively, as a result of concurrent FOIA requests submitted by John C. Everts (deceased), a member of the CPL Allen F. Kivlehan Cahpter, Korean War Veterans Association, Staten Island, New York, and the author, a member of Burton-Goode-Sargent Chapter, Maine KWVA.
Upon receipt of the microfiche set, I asked DA for a hard copy printout of the information in the microfiche and offered to pay $.03 per page for copying. The microfiche consists of 18 sheets. Each sheet contains 63 pages of printed material for a total of 1,134 pages. Robert Dickerson, DA’s Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Officer, responded this way:
"The list exists in microfiche format. The list is not automated. Your desire to obtain a printout is noted; however, resources and equipment are not readily available to reproduce the microfiche set into hard copy. It is my understanding that most public libraries have microfiche viewers that are capable of reproducing hard copy documents from microfiche. I recommend you pursue that alternative since the FOIA provides that Federal agencies are under no obligation to create or compile a record to satisfy a FOIA request. Accordingly, your desire for the Army to recreate an existing record into another format would undoubtedly be denied."
We quickly determined that the cost for production and copying at state libraries would be in the neighborhood of #100 plus or minus for just one copy. And because the microfilm itself was in extremely poor condition, we also discovered rather quickly that several copies of each page had to be made in order to produce the best copy possible, thus at least doubling the estimated cost for just one complete set.
At that point, I asked Senator William S. Cohen (R-ME) to intercede at the Department of Army on our behalf. However, his office also was unsuccessful. Rebuffed, but not outflanked, Sen. Cohen arranged for the University of Maine’s Fogler Library at Orono to produce three copies of the entire microfiche set for us at no cost. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, the library staff was unable to produce clearly a large number of pages due to the extremely poor condition of the microfilm. So, a request for HELP was published in the Graybeards (March-April 1996) and quickly responded to by KWVA member and microfiche expert Murray Newman of Documentary Reproduction Services, NYC, NY. Thanks to Murray, the number of unreadable pages has been reduced significantly.
I asked DA for an explanation of the casualty code DNB and others; in a letter dated June 27, 1996, I received an explanation (See Exhibit No. 6) under cover of a letter from James S. Jones, Jr., Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel and Logistics, who informed me that: "This is the most complete information we can provide regarding the microfiche."
However, the DA explanation for DNB as "Missing in Action" did not make sense to me, for I believed that DNB translated to "Died, Non-Battle." I had solid information on at least a dozen casualties who were coded DNB and each one had died either from injury or disease. Furthermore, I did not receive an explanation of the other codes (MNB, FOD) which I believed also identified "Non-Battle" casualties.
In a letter dated August 7, 1996, Mr. Jones informed me that: "There are no provisions which would require Government officials to speculate, evaluate documents or circumstances, or draw conclusions in order to answer questions. Members of the public can gain access to U.S. Government documents under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Under the FOIA, you have been provided copies of the microfiche and explanations of the code meanings. You can evaluate the documents and draw your own conclusions based on information provided."
Thus, in the absence of any further explanation from the Department of the Army, Appendix I to this booklet assumes that all of the names (coded DNB, MNB and FOD) listed in the Army microfiche, that are not included in the Department of defense’s "Selected Korean Conflict Casualties" roster, are in fact Army "Non-Battle" deaths.
I find it distressing that a number of the service associations do not list the "Non-Battle" dead in their honor rolls or casualty lists. Thus, the combat infantryman who died from enemy fire makes the Roll of Honor; whereas the combat infantryman who died of hemorrhagic fever does not. Nor does the combat engineer who drowned while attempting to save a bridge during flooding.
I believe it is important to remember that most of the individuals who died from disease or injury in Korea died honorably in the line of duty, and like their comrades-in-arms who had been struck down by lethal enemy fire, they too were casualties of war and no less deserving of recognition. [See Exhibit 7a.]
EXHIBIT 6 - CASUALTY CODE DEFINITIONS FOR THE KOREAN OPERATIONS POW, MIA, NON-BATTLE CASUALTIES MICROFICHE
|William H. Baker||Civilian|
|Walter S. Eltringham||Civilian|
|John J. Henry||Civilian|
|Dewitt C. Leonard||Civilian|
|Robert L. Mikels||Civilian|
|William R. Moore||Civilian|
|Henry L. Perry||Civilian|
|Harvey J. Spencer||Civilian|
|Horace H. Underwood||Civilian|
|SMN George W. Miller||USMM|
|SMN Alfred J. Morales||USMM|
|MS Espiridion M. Nufable||USMM|
|MS Silvestro Porpora||USMM|
|MS Lemuel A. Thomas||USMM|
|MS Tavita Tivao||USMM|
(2) Also newly added to the 1997 roster as "Died of Non-Hostile Injuries" are the names of 71 Army personnel. In addition, they appear in the 1994 DoD roster of "Selected Korean Conflict Casualties" as "Hostile/Died While Missing." Is this a mistake, or have the deaths been reclassified after 43 years from hostile to non-hostile deaths? If so, why now?
I have asked ABMC for an explanation. If it turns out that re-classifications from HDWM to "Died of Non-Hostile Injuries" are taking place, then I suspect it may have something to do with the ongoing joint remains-recovery project in North Korea. In any event, I can see why changing General Walton H. Walker, Jr’s casualty status from HDWM to "Died of Non-Hostile Injuries" would make sense, in that he died in a vehicle accident around Christmas of 1950.
The other 70 names, all Korea deaths, are:
Name Unit Pfc Donald J. Ashley 82 AAA AW Bn, 2 Div Cpl Clifford J. Barr, Jr. 99 FA Bn, 1 Cav Div Pfc Leroy Bickers 35 Inf, 25 Div Pfc Jimmie D. Bingham 37 FA Bn, 2 Div Cpl Gilbert D. Brinson 24 Med Bnm, 24 Div Sgt John JR. Bush` 180 Inf, 45 Div Pfc Supremo Calves 27 Inf, 25 Div Sgt Wesley B. Carpenter 17 Inf, 7 Div Pfc Dupree Charvis 24 Inf, 25 Div Pfc Hubert F. Cochran 5 Cav Regt, 1 Cav Div Pvt Richard K. Cook 16 Rcn Sqdn, 1 Cav Div Pvt Roy R. Cook 140 Tnk Bn, 40 Div Pfc Donald Leon Davis 8 Cav Regt, 1 Cav Div Sgt Frederick F. Davis 24 Inf, 25 Div Pvt Gennaro S. DeAngelis 140 Tnk Bn, 40 Div Pvt Floyd W. Donahoo 8 Cav Regt, 1 Cav Div Pfc Fred A. Dorris 2 Repl Co, 2 Div Pfc Dick J. Eliot 388 Cml Smk Gen Co Cpl Ova E. Elliott 15 Inf, 3 Div Pfc Charles W. Faidley 31 Inf, 7 Div Cpl Paul C. Farmer 15 AAA AW Bn, 7 Div Pvt Paul Garcia 5 Cav Regt, 1 Cav Div Pfc Rosado C. Garcia 65 Inf, 3 Div Pfc Ernest J. Gordon 24 Inf, 25 Div Pfc Mitsuoro Goto 545 MP Co, 1 Cav Div 1Lt Joseph G. Govan 140 Tnk Bn, 40 Div Pvt James A. Henderson 9 Inf, 2 Div Pfc Garland R. Higgs 23 Inf, 2 Div Cpl Donald F. Holdway 25 MP Co, 25 Div Pvt Orville C. Howze 7 Cav Regt, 1 Cav Div Sgt Joe Edward Johnson 503 FA Bn, 2 Div Pfc Clifford L. Jones 38 Inf, 2 Div Pvt Jackie N. Mann 29 Regt Cmbt Team Cpl Quintin Maravillo 23 Inf, 2 Div Pfc Gilbert Marquez 224 Inf, 40 Div Pvt Ovide L. Maurice 31 Inf, 7 Div Cpl Gilbert W. McKenna HHC, 1 Cav Div Pvt Loran L. McLaughlin 15 Inf, 3 Div Pvt Jack D. Moore 31 Inf, 7 Div Pfc Ramon R. Moreno 552 Sig Constr Bn Pfc Lewis G. Moxley 99 FA Bn, 1 Cav Div Sfc Mike H. Mundy 70 Tnk Bn, 24 Div Pfc Norris Owens 180 Inf, 45 Div Pfc Roy Melvin Patten 31 Inf, 7 Div Msg Oscar P. Peveler 31 Inf, 7 Div Pvt John M. Phelps 159 FA Bn, 25 Div Pfc Robert J. Philippen 38 Inf, 2 Div Sfc Ray Remorin 15 QM Co, 1 Cav Div Sgt George Riggins 140 Tnk Bn, 40 Div Cpl Wayne Robbins 32 Inf, 7 Div Pvt Joe Robinson 37 FA Bn, 2 Div Sfc Alexander Roessler 21 Inf, 24 Div Pfc Johnie B. Rutheford 522 Sig Constr Bn Cpl Carlos R. Salazar 82 FA Bn, 1 Cav Div Pvt Manuel Sarate 19 Inf, 24 Div Pfc John J. Shay, Jr. 19 Inf, 24 Div Pvt Roy L. Smith 503 FA Bn, 2 Div Pvt Wendell E. Smith 50 AAA AW Bn Pvt Claude E. Tennant 15 Inf, 3 Div Pfc Andreas C. Thiel 92 Armd FA Bn, IX Corps Pfc William B. Thomas 24 Inf, 25 Div Sgt Leslie C. Thompson 38 Inf, 2 Div Cpl Eugene O. Trask 49 FA Bn, 7 Div Pfc Lloyd R. Warfield, Jr. 15 Inf, 3 Div Pfc William R. Weitman 9 Inf, 2 Div Pfc John R. Williams 999 FA Bn, 3 Div Sgt Harold F. Wilson 92 Armd FA Bn, IX Corps Pvt Ralph G. Young 23 Inf, 2 Div Pfc Charles R. Youngblood 90 FA Bn, 25 Div Pfc Eugene G. Zelkowski 19 Inf, 24 Div
(3) Also newly added, with unit and location of death, are the names of seven additional Army personnel, all Korea, as "Non-Hostile Deaths." They are:
|Pfc Milo F. Clifton||23 Inf, 2 Div|
|Msg Ralph Raymond Dunn||23 Inf, 2 Div|
|Cpl Donald Anderson Joyce||10 Sp Svc Co, 24 Div|
|Pvt Charles Bernard Kirk||840 Engr Constr Bn|
|1Lt Richard Henry Mealor||3 Div|
|Cpl Glen Z. Wallace||3 Div|
|Capt John Thomas Wells||U.S. Army|
The seven names also appear in the 1954 DA microfiche identified as "Died Non-Battle," and they are included in Appendix I to this booklet. Their appearance in the 1997 ABMC List may mean that the Department of the Army is in the process of validating the Army "Non-Battle" deaths, but at this point, that is just conjecture. I have asked ABMC for an explanation, and so should you if you recognize any one of the above names.
(4) Also newly added are the names of 15 men who are listed as "Non-Hostile Deaths," some of whom are not listed in either the 1994 DoD roster or the 1954 DA microfiche:
|Name||Unit and Location|
|Ltc Robert Maxwell Barclay||665 Med Det, Korea|
|Capt John Linden Bennett||509 Bomb Wing, U.S.|
|Capt Charles Edward Bonner||U.S. Army, U.S.|
|*Pfc Edwin A. Bowden||32 Inf, 2 Div, Korea|
|Sgt Jack Rayfull Brown||21 Inf, 24 Div, Korea|
|Capt James Eugene Bruce||97 Bomb Gp, U.S.|
|*Pfc Rosas Pablo Cruz||24 Inf, 25 Div, Korea|
|A2C John Joseph Eagan||USAF, Korea|
|Pvt Guadalupe Ibarra||Wpns Co, 3 Bn, 1M, 1M, Korea|
|*Cpl Horace M. Maner||8 Cav Regt, 1 Cav Div, Korea|
|*Pvt Jesus C. Martinez||27 Inf, 25 Div, Korea|
|Pvt Donald F. Rineer||H co, 3 Bn, 7M, 1M, Korea|
|*Pfc Ronald E. Steele||31 Inf, 7 Div, Korea|
|*Pvt Keith A. Sweet||5 Cav Reg, 1 Cav Div, Korea|
|Pfc Henry R. Vassallo||HHC, 7M, 1M, Korea|
1996 VS 1997 ABMC "NON-HOSTILE" LISTS
|Also Listed In|
|"Non-Hostile Air Crash"||302||0||DoD list as NBDI ("Non-Battle Death, Injuries")|
|"Non-Hostile Death"||540||539||DoD list as NBD ("Non-Battle Death")|
|"Non-Hostile Death"||5||0||DoD list as NBD ("Non-Battle Death")|
|"Died, Non-Hostile Injuries"||7||0||DoD list as NBDOW ("Non-Battle, Died While Missing")|
|"Non-Hostile Death"||0||71 *||DoD list as HDWM ("Hostile, Died While Missing")|
|"Non-Hostile Death"||0||7 **||DA list as DNB ("Died, Non-Battle")|
|"Non-Hostile Death"||0||15||Not listed in either DoD or DA lists|
|"Non-Hostile Death"||0||6||U.S. Merchant Marine|
* = Possible that the Army is in the process of reclassifying a number of HDWM cases, and that we’ll see more in the future.
** = Possible that the DA is in the process of validating heretofore invalidated Army DNB cases, and that we’ll see more in the future.
So there you have it—three distinctly different ABMC rosters, surely one must be accurate? Hopefully, the list of 37,277 names comes the closest. The trick in the future will be for the DoD, the Services, and the ABMC to get on the same wave length and come up with one totally accurate accounting!
"OTHER" DEATHS NOT ON OFFICIAL LISTS
This section lists the names of Americans who are reported to have died either "in-theater" or "out-of-theater: during the Korean War era, but whose names do not seem to be listed in any of the official Government casualty rosters. Altogether, some 17,355 personnel died worldwide whose deaths were not attributed to the Korean Operation or simply not recorded. Possibly, some of the names listed above and below fall into one or the other category:
In Memory - Lest We Forget
The names listed below are included in Charles E. Casey’s 1993 book In Memory - Lest We Forget – a monumental work, undertaken out of dedication and love. His book contains 34,194 names consisting primarily of the listing of 33,629 "Hostile" deaths taken from the Department of Defense’s 1980 Korean Conflict Casualty File (superseded).
In addition to the 1980 DoD data base of names, Casey’s book contained hundreds of additional names which he gathered from a variety of miscellaneous sources. Most of the added names apparently are duplications caused by more than one state reporting the same casualty. His book, nevertheless, is a valuable information source for cross-referencing and unit of assignment data for a lot of the entries.
In preparing the following list, I have extracted only those names which I could not find in any of the DoD, DA or ABMC lists that I have obtained so far under the Freedom of Information Act or other requests:
Name City/County/State See Below* Altenburg, Lavern Pfc M DOW 21-09-50 Braden, Roger F. Tucson, AZ HN N KIA Evans, James D. Wabash, IN PVT A DOC 22-03-51 Jones, Edward Kemp Wabash, IN SGT A DOC 14-11-52 Marmol, John E. OH SGT F DOC Martin, Gerald A. N DNB 27-09-51 Mason, Richard NYC, NY A2C F NHC Nance, Forrest B. N DNB 07-08-52 Perkinson, Robert J. Pleasantville, NY CDR N NHC Ronquillo, Jose R. Glenville, AZ PFC Ryan, George C. Kenton, KY LTJG N DNB 15-06-51 Schallon, Richard W. Cleveland, OH SGT A DOC Schmitt, Edward C. US55183029 Chicago, IL A KIA 19-08-52 Undersinger, Robert L. Bronxville, NY AD3 N NHC White, Samuel Lee Sylacauga, AL LTCM N KIA Wilson, Lonnie D. CPL A KIA 24-12-51
*Serial number, rank/rate, branch of service, casualty description, date of casualty, and unit designation shown if available. Hostile: KIA = "Killed in Action"; DOW = "Died of Wounds"; Non-Hostile: DNB = "Died Non-Battle"; DOC = "Died Other Causes"; NHC = "Non-Hostile Casualty."
Questions about any of the information in the above listing should be sent to: Charles E. Casey, 4104 S. 32d St., Omaha, NE 68107-1096.
Soldiers of Misfortune
(1) In Soldiers of Misfortune, 1992, James D. Sanders, Mark A. Sauter and R. Cort Kirkwood, the authors named Ltjg Robert Reynolds, Lt. John H. Fette and crew member Joe Danens who, on April 8, 1950, along with the rest of the crew of a Navy PB4Y-2 Privateer aircraft, failed to return home after an electronic reconnaissance mission over Soviet territory.
(2) On April 9, 1950, an American B-29 went down in waters off the coast of the Soviet Union. Ten crew members were declared dead on April 9, 1951.
(3) A Navy P2V-3W Neptune plane (#124283) was shot down by Soviet Union forces while on a weather reconnaissance mission in the Sea of Japan on November 6, 1951 with ten crew members aboard.
The following names, including last known address, were provided by Patricia Dickinson, 506 Shue Drive, Newark, DE 19713. She is interested in hearing from anyone who has further information about her brother Jack Denney Lively, one of the Neptune crew members.
Name Last Known Address Foster, Paul Riley, AD1 Fleet P.O., San Francisco, CA Baggett, Samuel Rueben A01 Fleet P.O., San Francisco, CA Hodgson, Judd C., Lt (jg) Dakota, IL Juric, Paul Gus, AL2 San Bernardino, CA & Newark, OH Meyer, William Samuel, AT2 Richview, IL Raglin, Erwin Doyle, ADT1 Fleet P.O., San Francisco, CA Rosenfeld, Sam, Lt (jg) San Francisco, CA Smith, Donald A., Ens. Fleet P.O., San Francisco, CA Wigert, Ralph Andrew Jr. Oahu, HI
Ms. Dickinson gave this as the latest information on the crew of the Neptune:
"A Russian citizen, Mr. Vladimir Trotsenko, has come forward with information that he was in hospital #404 in Novosysoyevka, Russia, during November 1951, with four live American fliers. He told the Russia/U.S. Joint Commission on POW/MIAs that the Americans wore medallions around their necks and were interrogated by Soviet officers. (Round dog-tags were used by the Navy until 1955.) Only one American was ambulatory. He came to the bars and said "San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Cleveland." (These cities correspond with crewmen on the Neptune.) Mr. Trotsenko was told a fifth American had died and was shown a grave by a hospital employee in a nearby cemetery…To date, U.S. recovery teams have excavated three graves in Novosysoyevka cemetery, but have not confirmed identify of an American."
(4) On June 13, 1952, a B-29 bomber modified for surveillance went down in connection with a reconnaissance of Soviet shipping near the Sakhalin islands. One of the crew members was Major Samuel N. Busch.
(5) On October 7, 1952, a B-29 went down off Russian-held Yuri Island (See "Ring of Truth" story below).
(6) Also named in the book are the names of Captain Stanley O’Kelly, co-pilot of an RB-50 reconnaissance plane, Lt. Warren Sanderson, and other crew members who, on July 29, 1953, were shot down over the Sea of Japan by a Soviet MiG15 some 40 miles off the coast of Siberia.
(7) In 1956, a P4M-1Q electronic warfare plane and its entire crew of 16 men were lost some 32 miles off the Chinese mainland after reporting an attack from a Red Chinese airplane.
(8) Another Air Force RB-50 was lost over the Sea of Japan on September 10, 1956. The Air Force denied the plane was shot down. According to authors: "More than one hundred American lives and twenty U.S. airplanes have been lost in action during similar peacetime reconnaissance operations since 1945."
Ring of Truth
In February 1996, Readers Digest ran a story, "Ring of Truth," about a downed Air Force photo navigator, Captain John Robertson Dunham, Easton, MD, who, along with seven other crew members, was shot down while on anRB-29 reconnaissance mission on October 7, 1952 near Yuri Island in the Soviet Far East. In December 1993, Dunham’s Annapolis class ring was returned to his daughter by a former Russian sailor with a heart and a conscience, who found Dunham’s body and personal effects amid floating wreckage from the RB-29 reconnaissance plane. The Russian sailor vowed to someday—somehow—return the ring to Dunham’s family and succeeded in making good on his promise.
(1) Thomas Chilcott, Brighton, MI, provided me with a newspaper clipping dated February 6, 1952 wherein it was reported that crew member Air Force Technical Sergeant Wade McCook, Howell, MI, was reported MIA as of February 1, 1952, after his B-29 was shot down over Korea. Information received from the ABMC in November 1996 reports that McCook officially was carried as MIA and that there was a "Presumed Finding of Death" (PFOD) on June 2, 1952. McCook, a B-29 "Flying Fortress" crew member, was stationed on Okinawa. It was thought that the mission on which he disappeared over the Yalu River in Korea was probably his second.
(2) Chilcott also provided the following names of Air Force personnel who died while on a B-29 raid launched from Yakota, Japan in August 1952. All were members of the 344th Bomb Squadron, 98th Bomber Wing:
Name ABMC Shows: 1st Lt. Orval Funk ABMC shows MIA, PFOD, August 1952 SSgt James W. Hathaway ABMC shows MIA, PFOD August 1952 Airman 1st Class Howard M. Higby ABMC shows MIA, PFOD August 1952
Note: At my request, the ABMC prepared memorial certificates for the following men and sent them to me in a letter dated November 13, 1996. Though they were not listed in the 1997 ABMC roster, I assume they have been added:
Henry J. Rittenhouse Wade McCook James W. Hathaway Billy A. Yohner Orval Funk Howard M. Higby
(3) According to Chilcott, another Michigan man, Sgt. Donald Parker, reportedly died in a hospital in Japan on July 11, 1950 after coming down with poliomyelitis in Korea.
(4) Roland Boucher, Waterville, Maine, gave me the name of Roland Carey, born: February 1, 1933, entered service Feb. 2, 1951, died July 10, 1952 in hospital from hepatitis resulting from burns suffered in an ammunition explosion.
(5) C. David Benbow, Statesville, NC, sent me the name of Ronald J. Phair, Detroit, MI, born: July 25, 1931, USA, SGT, ASN 55272620, KIA, 25-03-54; Sgt. Phair was a tank commander, 35th Tank Co, 35th Inf, 25th Inf Div. Phair was on patrol duty when his tank struck a mine killing the entire crew. His name does not show up in either the DoD or DA rosters (See Exhibit 7b).
(6) I have heard from several sources that a plane carrying 130 combat personnel on Rest and Relaxation leave went down near Japan in June 1953. I would like to hear from anyone who has information on that event.
Only a Trickle
The above information on "Other" deaths provides only a trickle of information, but provides an insight into the knowledge about Korean War deaths that resides with the general public. The ABMC continues to update its roster. If you have information, please sent it to the applicable Armed Service (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force). Also send a copy to the Department of Defense and the American Battle Monuments Commission. A list of agencies are in Appendix III.
The following list of minefield deaths, which occurred on March 26, 1954, was obtained from C.J. Baumgarner of Hudson, North Carolina:
Minefield Deaths Occurred March 26, 1954 Sgt Jabier Arrufat, 65th Inf, 3d Inf Div, NYC Sgt Jimmie Lee Spivey, 65th Inf, 3d Inf Div, Atlanta, GA Name unknown (Army doctor)
Women in Service
During the Korean War, women served in Korea as nurses in MASH units, evacuation hospitals, hospital ships, and in Navy and Air Force air ferry and evacuation units, both in Korea and in support of the Korean Operation in bases across the Pacific and in the United States. A number of them died in the line of duty. Most of the names do not appear in the DoD casualty data base for the Korean Operation.
When the war broke out in June 1950, the need for nurses in the war zone was immediate and the services responded immediately. But, several tragedies occurred. Army Major Genevieve Smith was killed in a plane crash en route to her new assignment as the Chief Nurse for the Korean Theater. In August 1950, off the California coast, the hospital ship USS Benevolence was rammed by another ship on a trial run and sank within 30 minutes. Fifteen nurses assigned to the ship ended up in the water hanging on to wooden rafters to keep afloat. Eventually they were picked up by an Army tug. One died from shock.
On September 19, 1950, eleven Navy nurses on their way to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, were killed when their plane crashed off Kwajelein Island in the Pacific:
Name Death Date Lt Wilma Ledbetter Sept 19, 1950 Lt (jg) Alice S. Giroux Sept 19, 1950 Lt (jg) Jeanne E. Clarke Sept 19, 1950 Lt (jg) Jane L. Eldridge Sept 19, 1950 Lt (jg) Calla C. Goodwin Sept 19, 1950 Lt (jg) Constance A. Heege Sept 19, 1950 Lt (jg) Margaret Grace Kennedy Sept 19, 1950 Ensign Eleanor Beste Sept 19, 1950 Ensign Marie Boatman Sept 19, 1950 Ensign Constance R. Esposito Sept 19, 1950 Ensign May E. Lijegreen Sept 19, 1950 Ensign Edna J. Rundell Sept 19, 1950
[KWE Note: There is an error in the above O'Brien research. Wilma Ledbetter did not die in this plane crash. She was the only Navy nurse to die as the result of the sinking of the hospital ship USS Benevolence on August 25, 1950 off the coast of San Francisco, California.]
One Air Force officer is listed, Captain Vera M. Brown, AF Nurse Corps. Source: "American Women in Uniform, Veterans Too," Captain Barbara A. Wilson, USAF (Ret.), http://userpages.aug.com/Captbarb/.
The ABMC lists two Navy enlisted personnel who died from non-hostile causes and two Air Force enlisted personnel who were killed in air crashes (*):
SN Doris Frances Brown AB3 Kay Sherill Platt *AN Virginia May McClure *AN Margaret Fae Perry
[KWE Note: Doris Brown and Kay Platt were male casualties, but often show up in error in various reference materials as female casualties of the Korean War.]
During the war, some 540 Army nurses served in Korea. 75% of them served in Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals. The MASH units followed the combat troops and moved frequently. Some 50 Navy nurses and almost as many Air Force nurses also served in Korea. A substantial number of nurses and members of the Women’s Army Corps were stationed in Japan and the Pacific; and more than 120,000 nurses and service women served in the United States. Undoubtedly, there were more women who died worldwide during the period of the Korean War; perhaps included in the total of 17,355 (unlisted) worldwide deaths acknowledged by the Department of Defense.
The following is a condensed SUMMARY of the material contained in Parts I, II and III:
(1) Department of Defense, Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports [see Part I].
(2) Battle Casualties and Medical Statistics: U.S. Army Experience in the Korean War by Frank Reister, published by The Surgeon General, Department of the Army, 1973 [see Part I].
(3) Department of the Army, U.S. Total Army Personnel Command [see Part II].
(4) American Battle Monuments Commission [Part III].
SUMMARY OF KOREAN WAR CASUALTIES
PART I: "HOSTILE" - Korean Operation
Validated - Included in DoD's Data Base
|Killed in Action||20,010||303||3,323||199||23,835|
|Died of Wounds||1,956||27||536||16||2,535|
|Died While Missing||3,358||144||384||959||4,845|
|Died While POW||2,385||1||26||24||33,651|
PART I: "NON-BATTLE" - Korean Operation
Validated - Included in DoD's Data Base
|Died of Injuries||0||0||0||7||7|
[Note: The Total Validated figure includes 8,177 Body-not-Recovered BNR Cases.]
PART II: "NON-BATTLE" - Korean Operation
Unvalidated - Not included in DoD’s Data Base
|Died of Injuries||1,943||0||0||0||1,943|
|Died of Diseases||509||0||0||0||509|
[Note: A total of 2,392 names have been identified from DA microfiche records; DA has not reported a validated list to DoD as of this writing.]
PART III: "OTHER" - Not Attributed to Korean Operation
Unvalidated - Not included in DoD’s Data Base
Note: The breakout for the Total Worldwide figure listed in the table above is:
|Branch of Service||Korea||Other Than Korea||Totals|
One wonders how many of the 17,355 "Other" deaths were actually attributable to the war in Korea? The DoD, however, blames the high rate of "Non-Battle" and "Other" deaths on a variety of factors. Here is DoD’s explanation:
The following is an approximate comparison of just the total "Non-Battle" and "Other" casualty statistics from the Korean War [officially 2,452 Army "Non-Battle" (Korea) + 810 USN, USMC, USAF "Non-Battle" (Korea) + 17,355 "Other" deaths = 20,617 Worldwide] with data maintained in the DoD "Worldwide Casualty System." The data base contains worldwide record information from fiscal year 1980 (October 1, 1979 through September 30, 1980) through October 27, 1994.
|Active Duty Period of Time||Strength||Non-Battle
100,00 Per Year
|June 25, 1950-July 27, 1953
(approx. 37 mos.)
|Fiscal Year 1980||2,050,627||2,389||117|
|Fiscal Year 1993||1,705,103||1,234||72|
*Derived from the average of June 30, 1951; 1952; and 1953 force levels of 3,249,371, 3,635,912 and 3,555,067 respectively. Roger D. Jorstad, Director, Manpower Management Information Division, DoD DIOR, explained that:
"As the data above suggests, the non-battle deaths per 100,000 strength per year has improved over time. Factors such as better safety awareness and programs, increased training, better educated personnel, more reliable weapon systems, and a leadership commitment to view their personnel as a valued resource have all contributed to a decrease in non-battle deaths and the corresponding death rate per 100,000 strength."
Sounds good, but why would there be almost as many Air Force Non-Hostile or "Other" deaths [5,586] outside of Korea as Hostile and Non-Battle deaths in Korea [5,884 + 298 = 6,182]? And why so many Navy Non-Hostile or "Other" deaths outside of Korea [3,870] vs. Hostile or "Other" deaths in Korea [4,043 + 173 = 4,216]? Notwithstanding, the ratio of deaths in Korea vs. deaths outside of Korea leaves one to question DoD’s claim that all of the 17,355 deaths not attributed to the Korean Operation were due solely to Non-Hostile causes.
Undoubtedly, our military un-preparedness left something to be desired prior to and during the war and more than likely contributed to somewhat higher casualty rates. In a speech before the House Armed Services Committee on February 28, 1951, General J. Lawton Collins pointed out the folly of "our habitual peacetime system – or lack of system – when we are suddenly confronted with even a small-scale conflict." [See Figure 1.] He called for a Universal Military Service and Training Program to correct "the dreadful experiences of rushing under strength units into action… of long delays in training our citizen soldiers, with the dire necessity in case of emergency, of sending them into combat not fully trained…"
According to VFW Magazine (November 1997), in December 1950, 82% of the Army was made up of regulars—mostly enlistees and WWII "retreads." However, the units they were assigned to were lacking in training, equipment and strength. In March 1951 President Harry Truman issued an executive order deferring students from military service who scored at least 70 on an intelligence test. By the spring of 1952, 65% of the 400,000 students tested were deferred.
"Such draft policies," said VFW Magazine, "gave preference to what famed newsman Edward R. Murrow called an "intellectual elite." By the spring of 1952, the ratio was 37% regular and 63% draftee, hastily trained and sent as replacements. The working middle class went, fought, bled, died—and when they came home the "elite" gave them no parades. On July 27, 1953 an Armistice was signed and few Americans noticed.
Edgar O’Ballance, a British historian wrote, "His conduct in battle was of an exceedingly high standard…despite the negative effects of home front disenchantment on morale, the spirit and cheerfulness of American soldiers remained exceedingly high."
FIGURE 1 - GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT*
[*Rather than scanning this faded document, the contents were manually typed into the Korean War Educator by Lynnita Brown.]
FUTURE RELEASE - PLEASE NOTE DATE
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
OFFICE OF PUBLIC INFORMATION
Washington 25, D.C.
HOLD FOR RELEASE NO. 38-51S UNTIL RELEASED BY COMMITTEE AT APPROXIMATELY 10:00 AM. (EST) WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1951 LI 5-6700, Ext. 71252
STATEMENT BY GENERAL J. LAWTON COLLINS, CHIEF OF STAFF, UNITED STATE ARMY, BEFORE THE HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE ON UNIVERSAL MILITARY SERVICE AND TRAINING
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1951, AT APPROXIMATELY 10:00 A.M. (EST)
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
The traditional military policy of this country has always been to maintain an active Army of sufficient size to withstand only the initial shock of war until we could mobilize our National Guard and Organized Reserve Corps and as much of the rest of our resources as were required.
This is still our policy, and it is our belief that the proposal of the Department of Defense is not only a means of applying that policy effectively to the threat which our Nation faces in the world today, but it is also the soundest method of improving our ability to adjust to conditions as they may change in the future.
If we are to continue our traditional military policy of placing a large measure of dependence for preparedness for defense upon our National Guard and our Organized Reserve Corps, then we must make it possible for them to achieve the degree of preparedness that modern war requires. I am convinced that they cannot do this without some sound system of universal military service and training.
One of the principal lessons of Korea is that our Regular forces must be kept at full authorized strength backed by a strong National Guard, and a strong Organized Reserve Corps consisting of both units and individuals. These individuals must be trained men, who after a short refresher period of training can effectively fill the ranks of our divisions and other units, whether these units are in action overseas or in training here at home. The utter need for such a system has been clearly and shockingly demonstrated by our experiences in Korea.
Just prior to the opening of our operations in Korea in June 1950, the Regular army was 38,000 men under the strength of 630,000 originally authorized by Congress for the fiscal year 1951. We had been struggling for months trying to reach and maintain that strength through volunteer recruiting alone, since we had promised the Congress that we would not use the Selective Service Act except as necessary to fill that gap between authorized strength and the number of men we could obtain through recruiting alone. But despite the fact that we were required by law to accept enlistments for such short terms as one year—which is a terribly costly and inefficient way of doing business-we were unable to get sufficient volunteers, and our strength had dropped gradually to 592,000 against an authorization of 630,000.
We thus started our operations in Korea short in authorized strength by 38,000. But this is by no means the complete picture. As the gentlemen on this Committee know, the strength that army units, such as divisions, regiments, and battalions, should have in action is fixed by Tables of Organization which are based on our combat experience. Throughout our history, limitations on funds coupled with difficulties of recruiting and other factors have prevented in peacetime the maintenance of our units at the war strength called for by the Table of Organization. This was true when we entered Korea. The Army as a whole was below T/O&E strength approximately 94,000 men in its combat units and of this over-all shortage General MacArthur’s Eighth Army was short 32,000 men.
In both World Wars we had time—while our Allies were engaged with the enemy—to bring our units up to full strength before placing them in action. But time was not available for this when we entered Korea. The Republic of Korea forces,w hich had been organized solely for internal police purposes, were about to be overwhelmed by the Korean Communist army. This Army had been deliberately organized and equipped by the Communists with the aggressive intent of overthrowing the Republic of Korea which had been established under the aegis of the United Nations.
The American 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions and the 1st Cavalry Division of General MacArthur’s Eighth Army had to be rushed into Korea with two-battalion regiments, instead of the authorized three, and with all units greatly understrength.
Here at home we took steps at once to strengthen the Eighth Army. The only trained men immediately available were in our Regular units, which were themselves understrength. We pulled nine battalions of infantry, armor and artillery from these units, and selected individuals from every organization in the Army to obtain trained cadres for six additional battalions. The 2nd Infantry Division was brought up to strength by stripping our remaining units until still further and was then dispatched to Korea. The 3rd Infantry Division was similarly strengthened, though we simply could not get it to full strength before it had to sail. We had to take a regiment from Puerto Rico for the third regiment in this division. The 11th Airborne Division was decimated in order to provide General MacArthur a full strength Airborne Regimental Combat Tea, the 187th Airborne Infantry.
When we got through with this process, there remained in the Regular army in this country only one division, the 82nd Airborne, in condition to fight. We dared not reduce our last division to impotency, even though the Eighth army still was desperately in need of men, not only for the original units it had but for the many supporting units needed to round out the Army for field operations.
As you know, the Eighth army had been engaged in the business of occupation of Japan and, as the over-all strength of the army fell, it was necessary to eliminate two Corps Headquarters in Japan, with their essential signal and engineer troops. Therefore, these and many other supporting antiaircraft and field artillery battalions, Ordnance, Transportation Corps, and Quartermaster supporting units had to be provided the Eighth Army from the United States.
Provisions for units of this type is made within our National Guard and Organized Reserve Corps. One thousand two hundred twenty-four National Guard and 852 Organized Reserve Corps company-size units were ordered into the active military service. But just like the Regular Army, these units also were short of trained men. The only sources of manpower to fill them up—since the Regular army had already been stripped—were Selective Service and the reservoir of trained men still remaining in our Organized Reserve Corps and National Guard.
Selective Service had not been operative since January 1949 and would have required two or three months before its machinery would be ready in full swing to call up selectees. These men would then require an absolute minimum of 14 weeks of basic training before they would be reasonably competent to fill the ranks of a combat unit. If used to fill up a Guard or Reserve unit, they and the unit would require additional training and hardening before entering combat.
The question has been raised as to why we have not called out men as individuals from the units of the National Guard and the Organized Reserve Corps to solve the manpower shortages among Regular Army units. The reasons why we have not done so are logical and compelling.
First, in accordance with the oft-expressed desire of the National Guard and Organized Reserve Corps—a desire which we believe was supported by this Committee and the Congress as a whole—the Department of the Army had agreed that we would not break up Guard and Reserve units which had not yet been ordered to active duty unless there was no other alternative for securing the needed trained men to fill up the Regular forces and the Guard and Reserve units which had already been ordered up.
Second, levies on Guard and Reserve units would further have reduced the effectiveness of these civilian component units as forces to back up the active Army in the event that the conflict in Korea should be broadened by the Communists into larger scale war. And since the Guard and Reserve units were at low strength—and Guard units at about 50 percent, and Reserve units at about 25 per cent—drawing upon them for individual replacements would virtually have destroyed many of them as units.
The only practicable remaining source of relatively well-trained men was the large group of Reservists not in units. To furnish such men in time of emergency is one of the primary purposes of the Organized Reserve Corps. Fortunately for the country, the Organized Reserve Corps was able to meet the pressing demands. By the end of November, 128,000 reservists had reported for active duty to fill vacancies in units in Korea, or in units destined for Korea, or to provide trainers for new recruits.
Unfortunately, in the initial rush of trying to meet the emergency conditions existing in Korea, there was not much time to give consideration to variations in individual cases of numbers of dependents, or length or nature of service among our reservists. General MacArthur properly made his calls on the Department of the Army for men by categories of specialists in accordance with our standard MOS’s (Military Occupation Specialists). In filling these calls we had to order up men based on our records of their military occupational specialties. This resulted in many instances in calling up a man living on one side of the street who had had service overseas during World War II and had acquired one or more children, while another reservist, living on the other side of the same street, who had never been overseas and had no children, was not called. The answer in most cases lay in the fact that the men had different occupational specialties. These inequities are being eliminated as we get time to catch our breath.
The bulk of the Reservists ordered up initially were veterans, many of them married men with dependents, and many held important positions in business or industry which could ill afford to lose them. This was inescapable because, though we have always had a dire need for trained men in the initial phases of war, we had failed to provide a system of universal military service and training such as the bill proposed by the Department of Defense. Such a system, if it had been in effect since the last war, would have provided the necessary pool of trained young men who had not already served their country in action, and who had not yet acquired large numbers of dependents.
Meanwhile, in order to replace the Regular army troops sent to Korea, as well as to meet the imperative need of strengthening our military position in the light of world conditions, we have started the activation of two new Regular Army divisions and have ordered six National Guard Divisions and three Regimental Combat Teams into the active military service. Fortunately our Guard units have fine cadres of officers and noncommissioned officers who had experience during the last war. But many of their men are relatively newly-recruited and need tough and intensive training before being ready for combat. Guard units have been mustering about 50 percent strength and must be filled with men from Selective Service. Since we had no reservoir of trained men available, and our Replacement Training Centers were fully occupied trying to meet General MacArthur’s requirements, it has been necessary for these Guard units to take on the added task of training their own fillers from Selective Service.
Actually, we have never been able to fully catch up with General MacArthur’s essential requirements. We are being forced this month to levy on practically all our units in the active military service in the United States for several thousand men to bring the combat units of the Eighth Army up to nearly full strength. Hereafter, we hope and expect that the output of trained selective service men from our Replacement Training centers will be adequate to meet requirements without further levies on troop units.
The proposal of the Department of Defense for Universal Military Service and Training would solve many of the problems that I have been discussing, for not only would UMST bring up the strength of the active Army, but it would also increase the strength and readiness of these civilian component units for the time when we may need them. If the Guard and Reserve units could be brought up to 75 to 85 percent strength with pre-trained men, then these units could be called up and put into fighting condition in a very much shorter time than at present. At the same time we would be establishing a large reserve of young men not in units who would be available, after a very short refresher course of training, to fill out the ranks of the units called to active duty.
I have shown in some detail the actual working of our habitual peacetime system—or lack of system—when we are suddenly confronted with even a small-scale conflict, in order to bring into cold, hard light our glaring deficiencies. It is my considered judgment that the dreadful experiences of rushing under strength units into action; of early emergency calls for combat veterans with family responsibilities; or long delays in training our citizen soldiers, with the dire necessity in case of emergency, of sending them into combat not fully trained—all of these stark deficiencies can be corrected, if an effective Universal Military Service and Training Program is not only passed but kept in operation for some years to come.
The bill, as drafted by the Department of Defense, would provide sufficient manpower to meet the requirements of the Army segment of the 3,462,000 man Armed Forces, which is the strength established by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to meet current strategic requirements. And the term of service of 27 months provided by the bill would also insure an adequate training level and readiness posture. The UMST program, when fully implemented, would preclude a repetition of the conditions I have just described, when we were forced to strip our active Army units in the United States in order to rush sorely needed reinforcements to General MacArthur.
Under this program, as men leave active service, they would join our Guard and Reserve units and, in addition, provide a reservoir of trained men to fill and keep filled these units if called to service.
I have been discussing our manpower problems primarily as the fighting in Korea has affected the Army because our needs there are, at the moment, most important. However, there are conditions elsewhere in the world that make urgent the need for a greater readiness on the part of the Army.
We were fortunate, in the two world wars of the past, in having a cushion of time in which we were able to mobilize and train our Army. However, today we do not have this cushion of time. For, in Western Europe, Army troops are already stationed on the front lines of democracy in position to assist our friends to withstand the initial attack of an aggressor. And even in the United States, Army antiaircraft units must have a higher degree of preparedness effectively to perform their part in the defense of our Nation from a possible aerial attack.
If the world situation improves, then of course the need for large active forces will be reduced. However, an effective Universal Military Service and Training program would also decrease the need for large active forces, because the readiness of the National Guard and the Organized Reserve Corps would be substantially increased. We estimate that with an effective Universal Military Service and Training program, the Guard and Reserve units would require substantially less than the 7-9 months training now required.
Congress has taken steps to support, and we hope will continue to support, our program for modernization of the equipment of the Army. All that we lack now is a sound manpower system.
Such a system will require some sacrifice, but it is time we face up to these problems.
For the mobilization of a modern army is a difficult and complex procedure. No longer is it simply the calling up of man and marching them off to training camps. Highly complicated equipment must be produced before men should be called up to use it, and conversion of industry must be accomplished before equipment can be produced. The lead-time on Army equipment today in many cases is longer than the time that it takes to train men. And this means that general mobilization should consist of a careful synchronization of the production of equipment and the training of men.
Although the modernization of the Army’s equipment remains, in my judgment, the Army’s Number 1 problem, yet the finest equipment in the world is literally worthless without technicians trained as soldiers—hardened, seasoned, and highly skilled in its maintenance and operation. We cannot expect too much of machines alone. Once the soldier is trained to his weapon, he becomes part of one of the highly-developed combat teams of a modern Army division. Whether one of these divisions fights well or poorly depends on the training and leadership of its smaller component combat teams of infantry, artillery and armor.
These battle teams are the most difficult, the most complicated of all teams to create. They must be capable of operating on unfamiliar ground, in darkness as well as daylight, amid incredible confusion, danger, hardship, and discouragement. The leadership of such teams is of the utmost importance; it requires judgment, intelligence, courage, and resourcefulness. The sergeant leading his squad, the lieutenant leading his platoon, and the captain leading his company into combat carry one of the heaviest and most critical responsibilities of the Armed Services. Their abilities, their strengths, their weaknesses directly affect the lives of the men in their care. That is why we in the Army must have equal claim with the other services on the best of the Nation’s manhood.
Even though we can provide our foot soldier with the best weapons, he must have the training and conditioning that will enable him not only to withstand the physical and mental strains of battle, but he must have the training required to operate modern equipment. There is virtually no counterpart in civilian life today which gives him this training. He must, therefore, receive it by taking time from his civilian pursuits—it would be unfair to him to expect him to go into modern battle without it.
These are my basic reasons for supporting the Department of Defense program for Universal Military Service and Training. If adopted, it will tremendously enhance the security of the United States.
Reproduced in the Office, Chief of Legislative Liaison, March 2, 1951
KOREAN HIGHLIGHTS FOR 27 JULY 1953
WEATHER - Broken to overcast low clouds and scattered thunderstorms and rain showers north of parallel 39. Visibility 6 miles lower to 1-3 miles in showers. Battle area temperature ranged between 85 and 74.
GROUND - Ground activity for the period ending 271800 in Korea consisted mainly of exchanges of mortar and artillery fire. 38,936 rounds of enemy mortar and artillery fire fell within friendly lines. There were no probes reported for the period. The central and eastern sectors of the front reported 28 patrol contacts.
NAVY - Naval aircraft flew a total of 412 sorties, 376 from the carriers of TF 77 and 30 from TG 95.1. 6 PatRon missions were reported. Naval surface units continued their offshore bombardment and blockade. A delayed report for 36th listed 635 sorties from the east coast carriers.
AIR - Aircraft under FEAF control flew 1,384 sorties of which 965 were combat. Of these 185 were armed reconnaissance, 376 counter air and 404 close support (102-I US; 97-IX; 16-X; 74-I ROK; 27-II ROK; 86-III ROK). The FEAF bomber command flew 3 sorties, leaflet and reconnaissance. In the air, 12 MIG-15s were observed but no engagements reported. Later 2 F-86s engaged 1 IL-12 and claimed to have destroyed it. No friendly damage. Fighter bombers attacked North Korean airfields during the period, 8 at Namsi, 26 at Chungganjin, 26 at Kanggye and 13 at Ongjin airfield.
VEHICLE SIGHTINGS: Evaluated night vehicle sightings for 26-27 July: Total 565, 400 southbound.
SECURITY INFORMATION - DECLASSIFIED
Background: Post-Armistice Deaths [Between July 27, 1953 and January 31, 1955]
The Korean War, officially styled as the Korean Conflict, raged in Korea from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953, the date of the signing of an armistice between the United Nations Command (UNC) and the military forces of the North Korean Peoples Army (NKPA) and the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF).
The truce in Korea still is in effect. The military representatives of both sides continue to meet periodically to discuss alleged violations of the long-standing period of relative peace in that troubled land. Although a truce was in effect, through January 31, 1955, another 641 Americans, mostly Air Force, would die from "Hostile" and "Non-Battle" actions on the ground and in the air in Korea.
As mentioned elsewhere in this booklet, their names are included in the "Selected Korean Conflict Casualties" and data base maintained by the DoD DIOR (See Part I). The list is available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. The list is current as of October 27, 1994 (as amended) and supersedes all previous DoD lists. According to Roger D. Jorstad, Director, Manpower Management Information Division, DoD DIOR:
"The record data has been revised in order to correct erroneous data, reexamine casualty status, and to include an accounting of those individuals who died from non-hostile causes for all Services except the Army. Dates of death range from 1950 to 1955. Of the 541 deaths with casualty dates after July 27, 1953, the majority are classified as hostile, died while missing (presumptive finding of death). Most of these deaths were Air Force personnel."
The "Non-Battle" deaths listed in the DoD data base pertain only to USN, USMC and USAF personnel. With respect to any post-Armistice Army "Non-Battle" casualties (July 27, 1953-January 31, 1955), please refer to Part II of this booklet.
AN ENDURING OUTRAGE
Although the shooting war officially ended on January 31, 1955, from February 1, 1955 to date, another 98 men would die in Korea as a result of "Hostile" and combat-related actions. According to researcher Tom Murray, Kingman, AZ, "…another 814 American soldiers died from non-hostile causes in Korea from 1961 to the present." They too must be remembered.
- Headquarters, Eight U.S. Army, June 1996; Eight U.S. army Staff Historian’s Office, November 1970
- Naval Military Personnel Command, 1996
- VFW Magazine, "Fighting Brush Fires on Korea’s DMZ"
- C. David Benbow, author, Statesville, NC
- Tom Murray, Jr., 3375 N. Fairfax St., #66, Kingman, Arizona, has compiled a list of deaths in Korea for the years 1966-1969. Most of the deaths occurred in or around the DMZ.
POST-WAR "HOSTILE" DEATHS [AFTER JANUARY 31, 1955]
According to Headquarters, Eight U.S. Army, Korea, June 26, 1996, 60 USFK servicemen died as a result of post-war North Korean "Hostile" actions between August 17, 1955 and December 17, 1994. In addition, according to VFW Magazine, august 1996 and the Naval Military Personnel Command, 30 Navy personnel and one marine were shot down in an EC-121 aircraft on April 15, 1969 over the Sea of Japan; and, one seaman was killed in the USS Pueblo incident off the coast of Korea in January 1968.
|Anderson, DeLynn E.||LTC||6146 AFAG||20-04-61|
|Anderson, James L.
|Anderson, Thomas L.||SFC||2ID||06-12-79|
|Arcemont, Terry G.
|SP4||23 Inf, 2ID||16-07-67|
|Balderman, Louis F.||ADR2||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Ballinger, Robert M.||CDR||UNCAAD USN*||20-11-74|
|Barrett, Mark T.||1LT||USASG JSA||18-08-76|
|Bass, Joseph A.||SSG||32 Inf, 7ID||18-08-68|
|Benton, Johnny W.
|PFC||23 Inf, 2ID||02-11-66|
|Bisbee, Robert R.
|PVT||31 Inf, 7ID||21-04-68|
|Bonifas, Arthur G.||MAJ||USASG JSA||18-08-76|
|Boudreaux, Philip||SFC||31 Inf., 7ID||10-08-67|
|Boyd, Tommy D.
|PFC||23 Inf., 2ID||16-07-67|
|Brown, Charles W.||CPT||Eight USA||17-08-55|
|Burrell, Robert W.
|PFC||23 Inf, 2ID||02-11-66|
|Capp, Raymond Jr.
[Name is spelled Kapp in
the 1996 USFK roster.]
|Cayer, Joseph E., Jr.||SP4||2ID||27-09-68|
|Chartier, Stephen C.||AT1||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Colgin, Bernie J.||AT1||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Connors, Ballard F., Jr.||ADR1||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Cook, Billy J.
|SP4||23 Inf, 2ID||22-08-67|
|Corp, Philip N.||SGT||38 Inf., 2ID||29-08-67|
|Czaplicki, Donald J.
|PFC||21 Inf., 7ID||10-08-67|
|Dessart, Charles T. III||PFC||9 Cav, 1CD||29-07-63|
|Dillingham, Jimmy E.||2LT||1CD*||08-10-62|
|DuCharme, Gary R.||CT3||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Dzema, John N.||LT||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Fischer, Morris L.
|PVT||23 Inf., 2ID||02-11-66|
|Gibbs, John L.
|PFC||23 Inf., 2ID||16-07-67|
|Gleason, Dennis B.||LT||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Graham, Gene K.||ATN3||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Greiner, LaVerne A.||AEC||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Grimes, William E.||PFC||7ID||18-10-69|
|Grissinger, James R.||SSG||7ID||18-10-69|
|Hasty, Leslie L.
|PVT||23 Inf, 2ID||02-11-66|
|Haynes, Robert C.||SGT||17 Avn Gp||14-07-77|
|SGT||23 Inf., 2ID||02-11-66|
|Hilemon, David W.||CW2||17 Avn Bde||17-12-94|
[Hilemon was the last U.S. serviceman to die as a result of "Hostile" action in Korea. He was killed when his helicopter went down over North Korea. His body was returned on December 22, 1994.]
|Hodges, Duane D.||SN||USS Pueblo||01-68|
|Holmdahl, Jan S.||SP4||7ID||20-07-68|
|Hopkins, Jerry L.
|SGT||32 Inf, 7ID||18-08-68|
|Horrigan, Dennis J.||ATR2||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Johnson, James A.||SP4||1CD||20-11-62|
|Johnson, Richard M.
|Kincaid, Richard H.||ATN2||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Larion, George F.||CPL||30 Art, 7ID||30-07-63|
|Lindsey, Calvin Lee||PFC||23 Inf, 2ID**||15-03-69|
|Lund, Paul G.
|PFC||38 Inf, 2ID||29-08-67|
|Lynch, Hugh M.||SSGT||EC-121 USMC||15-04-69|
|Martin, Paul W.
|SGT||23 Inf, 2ID||24-01-68|
|McKee, Edgar A., Jr.
|PFC||38 Inf, 2ID||29-08-67|
|McNamara, Marshall H.||ADRC||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|McNeil, Timothy H.||ATR2||EC-121 USN|
|Miles, Joseph A.||CW2||17 Avn Gp||14-07-77|
|Miller, John A.||CT3||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Mojica, Salvator T.
|PVT||72 Arm, 2ID||26-01-68|
|Morris, Jack L.||SP4||7ID||18-10-69|
|Mueller, Carl R.||SP4||23 Inf, 2ID||22-05-67|
|Nassani, Stephen A.||SP4||2ID||05-10-68|
|Overstreet, James H.||LCDR||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Perrottet, Peter P.||LT||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Peterson, Terrance A.||PFC||38 Inf, 2ID||05-08-68|
|Potts, John H.||CT1||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Prindle, Richard T.||AMS3||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Randall, Frederick A.||CTC||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Reynolds, Ernest D.
Awarded Silver Star)
|PVT||23 Inf, 2ID||02-11-66|
|Reynolds, Michael B.||PFC||2ID||27-09-68|
|Ribar, Joseph R.||LTJG||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Rimer, Richard J.||PFC||15 Art., 1CD||03-10-62|
|Rivers, Curtis Jr.||PFC||76 Eng Bn||28-08-67|
|Roach, James L.||AT1||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Rymarczuk, Michael||SP4||23 Inf, 2ID||30-07-68|
|Seiler, David A.
|PVT||9 Cav, 1CD||29-07-63|
|Singer, John H.||LT||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Skaggs, Jerry D.
|PFC||31 Inf, 7ID||10-08-67|
|Smith, Baron J.||PVT||23 Inf, 2 ID||22-05-67|
|Smith, Richard E.||CTC||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Sundby, Philip D.||CT3||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Sweeney, Richard E.||AT1||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Sykora, Robert J.||LTJG||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Taylor, Charles E. Jr.||SP4||7ID||18-10-69|
|Taylor, Robert F.||LT||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Tesmer, Stephen J.||CT2||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Turner, David L.||PFC||38 Inf, 2ID||23-10-68|
|Tyler, Press Jr.||SP4||23 Inf, 2ID||12-02-67|
|Vogel, Michael E.
|SP4||76 Eng Bn||28-08-67|
|Weeks, James L.||2LT||2ID||20-07-68|
|Wells, Ronald||SGT||17 Avn Gp||14-07-77|
|Wilkerson, Norman E.||LTJG||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Willis, David M.||ATN3||EC-121 USN||15-04-69|
|Wood, Larry M.
AFAG = Air Force Advisory Group;
USASG = U.S. Army Support Group;
JSA = Joint Security Area;
UNCAAD = United Nations Command Armistice Affairs Division;
Bn = Battalion;
Gp = Group;
Bde = Brigade;
1CD = First Cavalry Division;
2ID = Second Infantry Division;
7ID = 7th Infantry Division;
Inf = Infantry;
Art = Artillery;
Avn = Aviation;
Arm = Armor;
Eng = engineer;
Cav = Cavalry;
EC-121 = Type of Aircraft;
USA = U.S. Army;
USN = U.S. Navy;
USMC = US Marine Corps;
USFK = U.S. Forces, Korea.
* Although listed as a "Hostile" death by Eight U.S. Army in June 1966, a compilation published by the Eight Army’s Historian’s Office in 1970 indicates that the deaths previously were determined to be accidental; whereas,
- Ballinger was killed in an explosion when a tunnel was discovered in the southern portion of the DMZ;
- Capp was killed when his group became disoriented and opened fire;
- Dillingham stepped on a flare and mistakenly was killed by a ROK patrol;
- Johnson was killed while on patrol by another American patrol when the two patrols mistook each other for NKPA infiltration teams.
** Shortly after Lindsey’s death in a firefight, a U.S. Army helicopter carrying soldiers wounded in the same firefight crashed and burned resulting in six deaths. At the time, the deaths were reported as accidental casualties. Killed in the crash were:
|Kern, Peter M.||SP4||23 Inf, 7ID||15-03-69|
|McKinney, George T.||SSG||23 Inf, 7ID||15-03-69|
|Park, Benjamin Jr. (doctor)||CPT||121 Evac Hospital||15-03-69|
|Rothwell, James C. (pilot)||MAJ||377 Med Co||15-03-69|
|Stoller, Edwin L. (crew)||SP4||377 Med Co||15-03-69|
|Zanchi, Carroll C. (crew)||SP5||377 Med Co||15-03-60|
McKinney’s casualty status is unclear. Of the six, his name also is carried as a "Hostile" casualty on the 1996 Eight Army roster.
Post-Korean War Wounded in Action
After January 31, 1955, a total of 132 men were reported as wounded in action.
Full Recognition Long Overdue
No medal was awarded for post-war service in Korea after the war through September 30, 1966. And it is unlikely that the government will ever do the right thing (even though 14% of the post war deaths occurred between January 1955 and March 1966)!
The Veterans of Foreign Wars lobbied to no avail for some 10 years to award the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal to personnel who served in Korea during that period of time. That is the major reason why the VFW changed its bylaws to admit all Korea service veterans. The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was authorized between the period October 1, 1966 and June 30, 1974.
Although Hostile Fire pay became effective on April 1, 1968, the Combat Infantry Badge was authorized only to those who served and met the criteria for the award after January 4, 1969.
Six of the post-war deaths occurred between June 1974 and December 1994.
Source: The Frank Reister Report
According to the "Reister Report," which covered only a three-year period, 50 Army hemorrhagic fever (HF) patients died while admitted to the 8228th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH)/48th Surgical Hospital in Korea. Other sources indicate that a number of deaths may have occurred in other MASH and Army evacuation hospitals; as well as in a variety of other UN medical facilities operating in Korea, Japan and elsewhere during the Korean War. An unknown number of deaths occurred prior to hospitalization; thus, are not included in the report.
Source: The Ho Wang Lee Report
It may surprise the reader to know that altogether there were almost 3,000 cases of HF among U.S. forces in Korea between 1951 and 1983 with a fatality rate of 6%. Additionally, another 9,000 Korean soldiers and civilians contacted HF—with a similarly high mortality rate.
That startling revelation is contained in a paper presented by Ho Wang Lee, a noted epidemiologist. Entitled "New Implications of Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS)", the paper was presented at the First International Symposium of Public Health convened in Hawaii in March 1983. According to the report, there were 2,422 U.S. cases of HF in Korea between 1951 and 1954 and 503 cases between 1955 and 1983.
Beginning in June of 1951, U.S. troops in large numbers suddenly fell ill with high fever, renal and other failures, diffuse hemorrhages and sometimes fatal shock. At that time, the virus was widely described as hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) because of an high incidence of death from renal failure—even though over 60% of all HF cases involved pulmonary and other symptoms which resulted in mild to moderate flu-like symptoms characterized by fever, headache, pain in the back and abdomen and a flushed face.
Strangely, reporting of HF among South Korean soldiers did not occur until 1956. Between then and 1983 there were 4,810 cases with a fatality rate of 6%. Between 1951-1954, the report noted that only 19 Korean civilians had the disease; whereas, 4,117 Koreans came down with HF between 1964 and 1983—at an 8% mortality rate.
Altogether in Korea, there were about 12,000 American and Korean cases through 1983. As late as 1986, newspaper clippings indicate that another 14 cases occurred among U.S. Marines in Okinawa. Altogether, there were about 800 American and Korean deaths. The precise breakdown of American deaths from HF during and since the Korean War is uncertain. Since 1983, Japan and Korea each have reported about 10 cases per year.
The 8228th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital
According to the "Reister" report, the hospital was organized to treat HF patients exclusively. It opened between April 6, 1952 and June 30, 1953. On July 1, 1953, it was renamed the 48th Surgical Hospital and operated until June 30, 9155 when it closed.
Several individuals who served with the unit in Korea, or were patients there, confirmed that the hospital primarily treated HF cases. The biggest problem encountered by the medical staff was renal shutdown. Patients who exhibited routine medical problems were transferred to other hospitals after initial treatment. The later function of the hospital was to conduct research on hemorrhagic fever and hepatitis, to include autopsies. The unit treated mostly Koreans and Americans; but, a small number of Turks, British, Canadians and other UN soldiers also were admitted.
219th Medical Detachment (PMS)
In an article in the May-June 1996 issue of The Graybeards, entitled "The 219th Medical Detachment (PMS) and Hemorrhagic Fever," Henry Augustine reported that malaria and HF were the main areas of concern, but that Korea was a land of many other diseases—encephalitis, leprosy, plague, tuberculosis, dysentery, helminthic infestations and polio, to name the chronic ones.
He said that the unit, a preventive medicine survey outfit of some 11 men, operated under the administrative aegis of the 25th Station Hospital in Taegu. Much of their efforts, he said, involved trapping mice and rats which were then chloroformed, put in plastic bags, frozen so that the parasites would then leave and die.
At that time, they were mounted on slides, identified, and survey reports completed. Then the rodents were shipped to John Hopkins University or other labs for additional study. Augustine reported that some 28-30 years later he "came across an article in a weekly newspaper (he couldn’t remember the name or when he saw it) that said that hemorrhagic fever in Korea was caused by ‘coughing’ rats."
Other than the "Reister" study, it is not known if a comprehensive breakdown of HF cases exists in published form anywhere; including admissions, releases and deaths which occurred throughout the U.S. (or UN) hospital system operating in Korea, Japan, U.S. etc.
One source that possibly could be of historical interest if it were available is "Proceedings, Study Group on Acute Renal Failure (U.S. Army Surgical Research Unit, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, October 14-16, 1957). However, all of the study remains unpublished data according to John P. Merrill, an HF researcher and author.
No public figures appear to be available on the experience with hemorrhagic fever among the North Korean or Chinese armies, or civilians—if indeed any were kept.
Japanese 731 Regiment
In the fall of 1951 a joint U.S.-Japanese medical team visited South Korea just after the outbreak of HF occurred there. The Japanese members of the team had considerable experience in experimenting with hemorrhagic fever and respiratory diseases in Manchuria during the second World War.
In an article which appeared in the Journal of Pediatrics in June 1962, Dr. Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, who was on the staff of the army Medical Service Graduate School at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., wrote that both russia and Japan fielded medical research teams in the Far East between 1936 and 1942. He said that Russia operated to the north of the Amur River, Japan to the south. Both teams used human "volunteers" for bio-medical experimentation.
Gajdusek said that the teams worked independently of each other. Both established infectious and probably virus etiology, and conducted extensive clinical and epidemiologic studies. A number of reports have noted that the Japanese used mostly Asian subjects and some Allied and U.S. POWs held by the Japanese in Manchuria during WWII. The Russians also reportedly used humans in their experiments, including mental patients.
The gory details of the extensive Japanese testing of chemical and biological warfare agents in the Far East during WWII, hidden from the world until recently, now have been made public and have been written about in Military and other publications. It is now a matter of general publication that after World War II General Douglas MacArthur cut a deal with Lt. Gen. Ishii Shiro, the former CO of the 731 Regiment, which conducted the experiments.
Ishii and his staff were spared prosecution for committed war crimes in exchange for information about Japanese biological experimentation. Both Ishii and Kitano Masaji were employed as consultants during the Korean War, and more recently in September 1962 in Colorado. Over the years, in interviews with a number of historical researchers, men assigned to the notoriously evil Japanese research unit in Manchuria have admitted that they cultivated more than a dozen pathogens, including typhoid, cholera, plague and others, and used them to infect prisoners or spray villagers in occupied areas. Several of the men testified that doctors studied the progress of the disease, then concluded by dissecting prisoners without anesthetic while they were still alive. At least 3,000 people are believed to have been victims.
Gavin Daws, in Prisoners of the Japanese, writes that Unit 731 in Manchuria operated a compound numbering 150 buildings. He said that both whites and Asians were used as guinea pigs. They were called maruta, meaning logs of wood. The Japanese also experimented with hemorrhagic viruses. According to Daws: "Others were cut up alive to see what happened in successive stages of hemorrhagic fever. Others had their blood siphoned off and replaced with horse blood."
In the February 1996 issue of the American Legion, Cliff Kincaid in his "Washington Watch" wrote that VA Secretary Jesse Brown, some 50 years later, has led a behind-the-scenes attempt to get special compensation for U.S. victims who survived the inhuman medical experimentation.
Evil Research Saved Lives
Although the Japanese researchers employed a deadly mix of science and evil in Manchuria, due to the questionable MacArthur-Ishii deal, the U.S. was able to learn what the Japanese knew about hemorrhagic fever and that knowledge saved lives in Korea.
In the beginning months of the HF outbreak in Korea, there was little knowledge as how to treat the disease. But thanks to the availability in nearby Japan of living Japanese medical personnel who had been assigned to the 731st during WWII, and a great deal of literature, American doctors were able to study the results of that barbaric and reprehensible research in detail. In the process, they were able to develop effective therapy to combat the various sub-strains of the disease.
According to Dr. Gajdusek, investigative work similar to some of the work done by the Japanese and Russians in the Far East had been conducted by the 8228th MASH in Korea. He said that "American efforts, more extensive than earlier Russian and Japanese attempts, likewise failed to establish the disease in any of the wide range of experimental hosts, including tissue cultures of human cells." He did not explain the extent of the experiments.
It is interesting to note, that although West Germany was not listed as a participant in the Korean War, there was a German medical unit in Korea that operated under the auspices of the World Health Organization of the United Nations. The unit worked independently of U.S., British and other medical organizations. It handled hemorrhagic fever cases, performed autopsies and conducted research. In January 1956, a report of 18 such autopsies was featured in an article by W.D. Germer in the German Medical Journal. The findings of death due to hemorrhagic fever pointed mostly to renal causes, a few pulmonary and other causes.
"Hantavirus" in the United States
Before 1992, there were several deaths from hemorrhagic fever in the U.S. of military personnel who had returned home from Korea during the incubation period of their disease. Then in 1992, an outbreak of a new strain of fever described as "hantavirus," a sub-strain of the HF virus, occurred at the juncture where Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico meet in the U.S.
Purportedly, the dung of the "deer mouse" was the suspected reservoir for the disease in that outbreak. How the dung came to harbor the virus was not explained. There was some panic, due to the deadly and gruesome nature of HF which can cause severe pulmonary infection, or intensive bleeding and shock, resulting in death—but the epidemic was short-lived.
Deaths from similar diseases over the past decade in the U.S. so far has resulted in the deaths of at least 43 people. According to a recent report on the News Wire Service, July 3, 1996, the death of an Illinois resident, due to confirmed Hantaviral infection (a.k.a. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome "HPS") occurred in a Madison, Wisconsin hospital.
HF Follow-Up Testing
Some 45 years after the first case of HF in Korea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a call for proposals to do a records-based follow-up on 1550 veterans who survived "Korean Hemorrhagic Fever," one of the sub-strains of HF in Korea.
According to an article written by Michael Strysick in the May-June 1996 issue of The Graybeards, the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of sciences, has agreed to collaborate with investigators at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in doing the research. The research will be conducted as soon as the CDC funds the project.
Veterans who were hospitalized with "Epidemic Hemorrhagic Fever," "Songo Fever," of "Korean Hemorrhagic Fever" between January 1951 and August 1953 are strongly advised to contact the Institute of Medicine National Academy of Science, 2101 Constitution Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20418.
Hemorrhagic Viruses: A Long History
History tells us that a number of such viruses have been around for a long, long time—perhaps as long as a thousand years as suggested by descriptions of similar viruses in old Chinese medicine journals.
Before Korea, epidemics occurred in western Europe and in the vast land masses of China and territories of the former USSR and west to Finland and Scandinavia—mostly in times of war—variously called:
- "Trench Fever" (3,855 British troops, France, and an unknown, but large-scale, number of German troops, WWI);
- Crimean, Omsk, Bukovian, Uzbekistan, Alma-Ata, Kazakh, Yaroslavl, Tula (915 cases) and Churilov hemorrhagic fevers, 1930-50, USSR;
- "Far Easern Nephroso-Nephritis" or "Epidemic Hemorrhagic Nephroso-Nephritis" (1,200 Soviet troops, Far East, WWII);
- "Nephropathia Epidemica" (10,000 German troops, Lapland WWII);
- "Feldnephritis" or "Epidemic Nephritis" (6,000 German troops, Yugoslavia, WWII); [Hopefully, our troops in the Balkans will not encounter such occurrence]
- "Songo Fever" or "Epidemic Hemorrhagic Fever" (12,600 Japanese soldiers, Manchuria, China, WWII—with a 20% mortality rate); the Japanese also named local fever outbreaks in China after the Chinese towns, areas, etc. in which they occurred.
- Some other hemorrhagic diseases are "Junin" in Argentina and "Machupo" in Bolivia.
- In recent years, outbreaks of the "Ebola" virus, a more deadly form of HF, have occurred in Africa.
At one point in doing this study, I revisited Reister’s book for additional clues as to the HF deaths and noted that on a worldwide basis there were 2,410 U.S. Army deaths due to disease alone. Inasmuch as there ere 509 cases of infectious and parasitic diseases in Korea, as noted above, then there had to be 1,901 cases in other parts of the world—leading up to the questions, where and what kinds of diseases were they?
News Article, Evening Star, Washington, DC, February 21, 1952
"There has been a decline of frostbite cases among Army troops in Korea this year, but little progress has been made so far in combating epidemic hemorrhagic fever there, Maj. Gen. O.E. Armstrong said yesterday. The Army surgeon General told a news conference that 6 ½ percent of the 1,000 cases of the fever among United Nations troops, excluding South Koreans, have proved fatal. There are few cases among South Koreans, he said.
The disease, first encountered by the Japanese in Manchuria in 1938, is believed to be transmitted by mites which live on rats. It begins with a fever, redness of the eyes and finally kidney hemorrhages. Now a medical team, headed by Dr. Joseph Swadel of Walter Reed Army Medical Research School, will leave next month to be on hand for any new outbreaks.
But the progress in combating cold weather injuries has been more encouraging. So far this year there have been some 700 cases of frostbite, compared with 4,400 last year, Gen. Armstrong said. The general, who only last week returned from a trip to Korea during which he studied the whole battle front by jeep, reported greater precautions to eliminate frostbite. Reprimands are handed out to victims who contract frostbite through negligence, he said.
Asked about neuropsychiatric cases in the battle area, Gen. Armstrong reported there was an average of 54.1 cases per 1,000 men annually. But out of every 200, roughly 65 recover without leaving the front-line area and only five ever have to be brought back to the United States for treatment. The objective, the general said, was to treat such cases as far forward as possible.
There have been 6,000 cases of malaria among troops who have been rotated back to this country, he said, but the United States Public Health Service does not think this presents a menace because the mosquitoes that transmit it are under control. Malaria in Korea itself is being kept down, and Gen. Armstrong reported that primaquin is being used successfully among suppressed cases, which developed among the returned soldiers."
A./The Cole Trilogy:
From October 1991 to April 1993, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Department of Defense, sponsored a study which focused on U.S. POW/MIA issues from the Korean War. The research was conducted in the National Defense Research Institute, RAND’s federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff. The research and study for the trilogy was conducted by Paul M. Cole and a team of RAND researchers and others.
In 1994, RAND published the results of the study in three volumes: POW/MIA Issues:
- Volume 1, The Korean War addresses issues relating to American Prisoners of War (POW) and U.S. servicemen who were declared or presumed to be Missing in Action (MIA) following the Korean War—men who were not repatriated and whose bodies were not recovered, or if recovered were not identified—including men who may have been transferred to the Soviet Union [8,177 Body-Not-Recovered (BNR) cases in 1954; 8,140 in 1994 and 8,135 in 1996].
- Volume 2, World War II and the Early Cold War examines the plight of American POWs who were held in Soviet custody in World War II; early Cold War incidents; and recovery and accounting efforts and issues.
- Volume 3 contains appendices, maps and lists which complement the material in Volumes I and II.
B./The CILHI Mapper Data Base:
In a letter dated June 22, 1995, Charles W. Henley, Director, External Affairs, Defense POW/MIA Office, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C. advised me that Cole used the CILHI Mapper data base of 8,140 Body-Not-Returned (BNR) cases as a starting point for much of the calculations in his work. CILHI is the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Honolulu, Hawaii. Henley said CILHI continues to research archival sources of Korean War casualty and POW/MIA statistics to improve the data base.
The data base continues to be revised and should not be considered as a final authoritative source of BNR statistics. Since the publication of Cole’s study, five identifications have been made, reducing the BNR count to 8,135.
He cited a fire in 1973 at the National Personnel Records Center at St. Louis, Missouri and a 1990 fire in D.C. which destroyed the American Battle Monuments Commission’s (ABMC) historical record of the "8,177" list as two events which has made the task of researching data more difficult. Henley said: "We hope to resolve this issue as soon as possible, but currently have no deadline in sight."
No explanation was offered, however, as to why the total information had not been retrieved by CILHI and researched thoroughly prior to the fires in 1973 and 1990. According to Military, November 1996: "The VA now says they have found 10 million duplicate records of those destroyed in the fire of 1973. If you are one of those who was told your records were burned, contact VA at National Personnel Records, GSA, 9700 Page Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63132."
C./Court of Honor
In a letter dated March 7, 1995, William E. Ryan, Jr., Colonel, ADA, Director of Operations and Finance, The American Battle Monuments Commission, Washington, D.C., informed me that the names of 8,182 members of the Armed Forces who lost their lives and whose remains were not recovered, are memorialized on the marble panels of the "court of Honor" in the Honolulu Memorial at the National Cemetery of the Pacific, Hawaii. Included are 8,177 men listed as Missing in Action, lost or buried at sea or whose remains are un-identifiable; and the crew of a United States Navy loss not directly related to the Korean War—except for the time period.
D./The "Selected Korean Conflict Casualties" Roster and "Korean Conflict Casualty Summary": See Part I of this study.
Scope of this Analysis
This analysis examines the relationship of the information contained in references A through D above, in conjunction with a number of other documents from a variety of different sources.
The Truly Missing
Cole’s Volume I report concluded that the total number of BNR cases from the Korean War stood at 8,140 in 1994. See Exhibit 8 for subsequent changes. Of that total, 5,945 cases had been confirmed or verified by eye-witness testimony or documented by U.S. forces in Korea—leaving 2,195 officially un-confirmed and un-documented cases of men who indeed can truthfully be referred to as the "truly missing."
They are believed to include:
BREAKDOWN OF THE 8,140 BNR CASES: 1./
[Universe of POW-BNR and MIA-BNR (including KIA-BNR) and some PCK-BNR ("Post Capture Killed") Cases]
A./ Prisoner of War Body-Not-Recovered (POW-BNR) Cases
Confirmed/Documented POW-BNR Cases 2,119 2./
B./ Missing in Action (MIA-BNR) Cases (to include Killed In Action (KIA-BNR) and Some Post Capture Killed (PCK-BNR) Cases
Confirmed U.S. Graves in North Korea 2,096 3./ Deaths Not Confirmed/Documented 2,107 4./ 4,203 USSR (Air Force) - not confirmed/documented 51 USSR (Air Force) - some existing evidence 37 88 5./ Documented Deaths During Forced Marches in North Korea 959 Burials Linked to Aircraft Crashes 412 Lost at Sea (All Services) 293 Post-War Identifications (CILHI) 13 Cases Outside of Korea (e.g., Japan/
/Between Japan & Korea)
53 1,730 Total Cases: 6,021
C./ Recapitulation: 2,119 POW-BNR Cases + 6,021 MIA-BNR Cases [3,096 + 2,107 + 88 + 1,730] = Total 8,140 BNR or "unaccounted for" cases. The total 6,021 MIA-BNR cases include a small number of KIA-BNR and PCK-BNR cases. Over 50% of the cases have an incident date.
1./ 8,140 Body-Not-Returned Cases:
In 1954, the list of BNR cases totaled 8,177 (all categories, MIA, POW, KIA (including PCK-KIA); according to the Cole/RAND study, a total of 37 cases were "resolved" independently of "Operation Glory" reducing the number to 8,140, not recovered from the Korean War (See Cole, Volume, page 23).
At the end of "Operation Glory" in 1954, the DoD stated that the remains of 4,023 United Nations Command personnel, including 1,868 Americans were returned by the Communists; including, according to Cole (pg. 247), a total of 556 remains returned to U.S. control from Pyoktong (Communist Prison Camp No. 5) between September 1 and October 12, 1954).
Of the Americans returned, 1,020 were identified and 848 were unidentified and declared unknown casualties. Over the years, an additional 11 Americans were added to the list, bringing the total up to 859. The 11 are believed by some to be Navy air personnel who were shot down during the "Cold War," who were known to be detained in Siberia, but who never returned home. See Cole, Volume I, page 73. The 859 remains are buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Unfortunately, the DoD DIOR "Korean Conflict Casualty Summary" does not explain the casualty categories of the 859 (now 854) unidentified remains. According to Cole, the 859 (now 854) deaths were attributed to KIA, MIA and POW. Until DoD/CILHI releases more information, the true make-up of the list will not be known to the public at large. Because the remains are considered to be un-identifiable, they remain in the BNR list which in 1994 stood at 8,140 cases, according to the Cole/RAND study.
According to an article written by Donald M. Cush, "One Man’s Long Journey Back to Korea," in the May-June 1996 issue of The Graybeards, KWVA, an undisclosed number of remains were transferred from the United Nations Cemetery in Pusan to Hawaii to the Punch Bowl. Whether the remains from Pusan were included in the original 859 is unclear.
According to a Korean cemetery official, only 29 Americans were interred in the Pusan cemetery, purportedly at their own request. A cemetery official told Cush that, "The few Americans which remain had requested to be interned (sic) in Korea." According to a recent visitor to the cemetery, only three Americans are now interred. According to DoD, since 1994, a number of remains have been recovered and identified. See Exhibit 8.
In a letter dated December 1, 1994, John F. Manning, Assistant Chief, Mortuary Affairs and Casualty Support Division, Department of the Army, U.S. Total Army Personnel Command, Alexandria, Virginia 22331-0482, advised me that:
"In May 1990, for the first time since 1994, the Korean People’s Army (KPA) released remains alleged to be those of Americans who died in the Korean War, to United Nations Command officials in Panmunjom. A total of 208 coffins containing remains have been released since that time, incremental, in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994. ‘Thirty-eight of these remains were returned with name associations by the KPA. The remains have been taken to the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, for identification processing. Four of these remains have been identified to date….Due to the condition and co-mingling of the remains, the lack of recovery information, and the lack of antemortem records and X-rays, a considerable amount of time will be required before many of these remains are identified."
In a letter dated January 6, 1995, James W. Wold, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (POW/MIA Affairs), Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, 2400 Defense Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301-2400 informed me that:
"Since 1990 the North Koreans have returned to the United States 208 coffins containing the probable remains of American servicemen. The inclusion of more than one set of remains per coffin, as a result of co-mingling, has complicated our ability to determine the total number of repatriated remains. To date four identifications have been made. The mains of United States Army Sergeant Frank Morales of Puerto Rico were identified in early 1994, followed by the most recent identification of Captain George Aaron of New York, New York; First Lieutenant Elmer T. Bullock of Concord, New Hampshire; and Master Sergeant Robert W. Jones of Dekalb, Texas—three United States airmen."
Based on the above information, Cole’s analysis logically is amended as follows: 2,119 POW-BNR Cases = 6,016 MIA-BNR Cases = Total 8,135 BNR—leaving 854 unidentified remains. See Exhibit 8 for a recapitulation of the above BNR identifications.
The following is a comparison of the Dole/RAND study and Department of Defense casualty figures (PART 1) with respect to remains returned and remains not returned:
(DoD DIOR - 1994)
DOW 2,535 2,535 DPOW 2,436 2,119 317 KIA * 23,835 DWM * 4,845 6,016 22,664 DNB 810 810 Totals: 34,461 8,135 26,326
*Indicates 6,016 KIA/DWM ("missing") and 22,664 KIA/DWM presumed recovered.
Since 1996, additional remains have been recovered, further reducing the 8,135 figure. See Exhibit 8. Whether or not the information gleaned from CILHI daa by Paul M. Cole, and subsequent recoveries, is true and correct is open to question.
The Stars and Stripes, 8-14 April 1996 had this to say: "There will never be a ‘fullest possible accounting’ for American service members missing from the Vietnam War. There can never be such an accounting, because there is no one who can be trusted to make such an accounting. The government agencies charged with the job have made such a hash of it—sometimes through honest error but also through outright falsehood—that no one seriously interested in the issue can ever trust them again."
The editorial gave numerous examples of "scientific fraud" perpetuated by CILHI over the years with respect to the identification of remains from the Vietnam War. According to Stars and Stripes, "The final nail in the coffin may have been the case of Mateo Sabog. One year ago, the United States government through its high-tech sophisticated Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii (CILHI) identified the remains of Mateo Sabog, missing since 1970, and buried them with full honors. Last month, Sgt. Sabog, now 73, walked into a Social Security office in Georgia and filed for benefits."
2./ Korean War POW Deaths:
In 1953, as many as 2,730 POW deaths were reported by repatriated prisoners. Over the years, the number of POW deaths has been modified based on a continuing program of re-examination of data. By 1954, official reports of POW deaths ranged from 2,660 to 2,701 (7,129 POWs—4,428 men who were repatriated in 1953).
A report dated November 4, 1954, prepared by the Office of Secretary of Defense, Progress Reports and Statistics, indicated that a total of 2,701 POW had "Died while captured or interned." The official total of 7,129 captured POW did not include 11 men held in "special" status [some 1954 reports show 7,140 as the POW total].
The 4,428 men repatriated in 1953 consisted of 149 returned in Operation Little Switch; 3,597 returned in Operation Big Switch; plus 682 escapees, evadees and others released after capture and returned to military control by the Communists. Branch of service totals were: 3,973 Army; 224 Air Force; 200 Marine Corps; and 31 Navy.
In 1980, the official number of POW deaths was changed to 2,415; and as of October 27, 1994 the total stood at 2,436. [Korean War Educator note: An update on these figures can be found elsewhere on the "People Not Statistics" page of this website.] These data suggest that at least since November 4, 1954 a total of 265 DWC cases have been reclassified from DWC to KIA or DOW (2,701-2,436). See "Summary Comparison of Selected "Hostile" Casualties" in PART 1 of this booklet.
Heavy POW Death Toll in 1950-1951
One interim estimate by the DA, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, dated September 30, 1954, serves as a terrible reminder of the heavy death toll of POWs during the early months of the war. The report shows a total of 6,654 men captured between June 50 and July 53, of which 2,660 died during that period of time for a 39.98% death rate:
Captured Died % Jun-Oct 50 1,037 575 55.45 Nov 50-Feb 51 4,139 1,896 45.80 Mar-Jun 51 975 165 16.92 1st Year: 6,151 2,636 39.62 Jul-Apr 52 234 15 6.40 May-Mar 53 130 9 6.93 Apr-Jul 53 139 - - 1950-1953: 6,654 2,660 39.98
Considering the 1994 (current) DoD statistics, the ratio of men who were POWs (7,129) to deaths (2,436) is 34%--a vivid testimony to the cruelty and barbarism of their Communist captors when you compare the ratios with other recent wars: Vietnam (12%) and World War II (10.8%).
3./ Known Graves:
According to Cole/RAND, there are 2,508 known graves in North Korea (2,096 + 412; see above chart). Of these, 1,520 are in United Nations Command temporary cemeteries and 576 are in isolated burial sites (Army 217, USAF 4, branch/nationality unknown 108, and 247 identified from Army Quartermaster data). See Cole, Volume 1, Page xvi.
4./MIA Deaths Not Confirmed:
It is possible that hundreds, possibly as many as 1,000-2,000, of the 2,107 undocumented/unconfirmed MIA deaths, noted in the above analysis may have been transported to prisons in the former Soviet Union (according to a DoD DPMO POW/MIA Office) study—based on testimony and data provided by Lt. Col. Philip Corso and Journalist Zygmunt Nagorski.
Corso told a Senate investigations committee in 1992 that a high-level Soviet defector confirmed to him the transfer of hundreds of American POWs to Siberia in rail cars during the war, but that President Eisenhower chose not to force the issue on the grounds that a confrontation might escalate into all-out war. An unlikely story—the real reason more than likely had to do with cost-benefit analysis.
In 1996, a document dealing with the smuggling of U.S. POWs to Siberia, dated January 31, 1955, stamped "Secret" has surfaced from the White House files of President Dwight D. Eisenhower naming the Soviet official as saying that "U.S. and other U.N. POWs were being held in Siberia."
Also see Cole, Volume 3, page 102; Corso’s testimony regarding two train loads of U.S. POWs, 450 per train, with "ample evidence" of a third train—for a total of 1,200. Also see Soldiers of Fortune, page 152, by James D. Sanders, Mark A. Sauter, and R. Cort Kirkwood, 1992. Also see John M.G. Brown, "Our Unknown POWs," The American Legion Magazine, September 1995, who said that 1,200-2,000 POWs may have been transferred to the former USSR. [Brown served as a POW/MIA expert for the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. He is the author of Moscow Bound: Policy, Politics and the POW/MIA Dilemma.]
In May 1996, an article with a Washington dateline appeared in the press indicating that the "Remains of as many as 4,000 of the more than 8,100 servicemen unaccounted for from the Korean War could be recovered in field searches that may begin in North Korea before year’s end, a Pentagon official said Friday." By September, the joint effort had been put on hold. (See Part IX.) Inasmuch as 2,096 deaths/burials have been confirmed in North Korea, the 4,000 number is suspect—unless the number includes the 2,107 unconfirmed/undocumented cases.
In February 1998, Robert Burns, an Associated Press writer, reported that the Army has declassified a series of eight "secret" reports written at different intervals during the Korean War by Army intelligence officers attempting to track POW movements. The intelligence summaries, each entitled "UN Prisoners of War Camps and Conditions in Korea, Manchuria and China," led to the conclusion that American servicemen were shuttled through a clandestine network of prison camps in Manchuria and China during the war, with Manchuria being used as a collecting area.
So-called "peace" camps were established in Beijing, Dandong and Shanghai. Other camps were located in Harbin and Tsingtao (now Qingdao). One of the reports indicated that the POWs who were not sent to China for political indoctrination were sent to mines and labor camps in Manchuria. An August 1952 report said that the largest of this type of camp as of May 1952 was at Chungchun in the Manchurian region of northeastern China: "2,000 POWs here; they will not be exchanged." [Contradiction: Currently living in the U.S. is a Marine ex-POW who escaped from the Manchurian coal mines. He said that the Soviets on occasion bought POWs from the CCF for labor in Siberia.]
5./ Russians Confronted Over POWs:
On September 27, 1993, the Houston Post reported that the U.S. government confronted Moscow, allegedly for the first time, with evidence that hundreds of U.S. Korean War POWs were secretly moved to the former Soviet Union. The "evidence" is spelled out in a report, dated August 26, 1993, prepared by the Joint Commission Support Branch, Research and Analysis Division, DPMO, DoD—the "POW/MIA Office"—entitled "The transfer of U.S. Korean War POWs to the Soviet Union."
A copy was given to the Russians at a meeting in Moscow early in September 1993. But, according to the Houston Post, "the Clinton administration has refused to release it." Notwithstanding, a copy of the report was obtained by the Associated Press. I got a copy from Congresswoman Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME). Part of the "evidence" is a list of 37 airmen (35 pilots and two enlisted men) missing from the Korean War whom the U.S. believes may have been captured and sent to the USSR. See Appendix II to this booklet for the list. Also see Cole, Volume 1, pages 161 and 166.
RECAP OF RAND/COLE STUDY OF BODY-NOT-RETURNED (BNR) CASES
|"Operation Glory" (Cols. 3., 4., 5.)|
|8,140 5./||6,272||1,868 6./||1,020 6./||848 6./||11 7./|
|6,272||1,868||1,025||843 9./||11 9./|
1./ The ABMC lists 8,182 BNR cases.
2./ Five of the 8,182 BNR cases were not related to the Korean Operation.
3./ Thus, in 1954, the BNR count was 8,177 cases.
4./ Unrelated to "Operation Glory," 37 cases were resolved.
5./ That reduced the BNR total to 8,140. This constitutes the CILHI Mapper Data Base (and it is the total arrived at by the Cole/RAND Study published in 1994 for the Korean Operation). Of the total of 8,140 cases [2,119 POW(BNR) cases and 6,021 MIA/KIA (BNR) cases], some 5,945 were witnessed/documented cases. However, 2,195 cases were not documented/witnessed and an unknown number of the 2,195—"The Truly Forgotten"—were believed to be transferred to the USSR, estimated to be anywhere from 50 to 1,200.
6./ In "Operation Glory" in 1954, the remains of 1,868 Americans were returned. 1,020 were identified/resolved and 848 were not identified or resolved. The co condition of the remains was deplorable.
7./ Over the years, an additional 11 Americans were added to the roster of those whose remains have been recovered by not identified. The 11 men may be Navy personnel shot down during the "Cold War" known to be alive and detained in Siberia, who never returned.
8./ Since 1990, 208 coffins have been returned containing probable remains. Four identifications were made in 1994/95. A fifth ID was made in 1996. The condition of these remains also were deplorable, and there were stories in the press that remains were co-mingled and no one was sure if all the remains were American or for that matter all human.
9./ Thus, the cases not resolved from just the Korean Operation now stand at 843. [843 + 11 = 854 total cases Korea & Other]
10./ At the end of 1996, the total BNR count was 8,135. In February 1998, the Air Force Casualty Office discovered information in the National Records Center in St. Louis, MO which confirmed that the remains of four USAF personnel listed as KIA-BNR were in fact recovered. Thus, the BNR count was effectively reduced to 8,131.
In 1998, an identification of a soldier was made stemming out of joint U.S.-DPRK recovery operations in North Korea in 1996, further reducing the BNR count to 8,130 (see Part IX for information). The forensic identification of the soldier was made by the U.S. Army’s Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, using dental records.
A large number of Americans are against sending U.S. troops to foreign lands under the aegis of the United Nations to intervene in international disputes. But if our troops are committed, as patriotic Americans we will support them 100%, even though we do not support the policy.
Should significant hostilities break out during one of these missions and prisoners are taken, it is our hope that we will do everything in our power to rescue them. Not aid and abet the enemy, as some Americans did in the 1950s during the Korean War, by callously blaming our POWs for their own misfortunes and dehumanizing them in the process—while they were in captivity and when they returned home.
CCF and NKPA Atrocities
According to the Department of Defense, a total of 2,436 POWs died in Korea in the brutal Communist prison camps and their environs. Most of the deaths resulted from murder, disease, starvation, maltreatment, and medical experimentation (the so-called "monkey gland" experiments in the so-called "sick houses"), etc. In 1957, a Senate committee gathered evidence that showed:
"The treatment given American prisoners in Communist prisoner-of-war camps was a sequel to the brutalities and indignities suffered by the prisoners on death marches. The prisoners at these camps were survivors of marches and were necessarily in poor physical condition. The deliberate plan of savage and barbaric handling of these men was a continuation of he policy which existed on all the marches and violated virtually every provision of the Geneva Convention of 1929. They were denied adequate nourishment, water, clothing, and shelter. Not only were they denied medical care but they were also subjected to experimental monkey-gland operations. Housing conditions were horrible, resulting in widespread disease."
In a five-month period ending in the spring of 1951, some 1,600 POWs died in Camp 5 and several of the smaller surrounding camps situated on the Yalu River, according to eye-witnesses. Hundreds of others died in other camps. No major effort was staged by the United States to rescue them. Another 4,845 Americans were listed as missing in action, many of whom may have died in enemy hands. Many of them were written off in 1953 despite credible evidence that some of them were still alive. Perhaps as many as 700-1,200 may have been spirited off to the USSR.
Altogether, by the end of 1995, the remains of at least 8,135 American fighting men officially have not been recovered. If any of them have been recovered, they have not been officially identified. In 1954, the total stood at 8,177, thus it is apparent that not much progress has been made over the past 40+ years to recover or identify remains.
Most of the men who wound up in the Communist camps fought valiantly on the field of battle before being captured. But once cut off and abandoned along the frozen Yalu they had no hope of rescue. 67 tried to escape in vain. At the end of 1953, 149 POWs were repatriated during Operation Little Switch. Later 3,597 were repatriated in Operation Big Switch. Within a year, all remaining MIAs were written off as dead.
In January 1996, the Pentagon confirmed that four U.S. deserters were still alive in North Korea but dismissed as "totally false" accounts in the South Korean press that some U.S. POWs were alive there. In the 24-30 June 1996 issue of The Stars and Stripes, writer John Herrara reported that 10 to 15 U.S. soldiers may still be alive and held in North Korea, according to another Pentagon report.
The two-page report, leaked to the press by Rep. Robert Dornan, R-California, summarizes the conclusions of In Sung Lee, an analyst at the Pentagon’s POW/MIA office. The Pentagon, however, said that the memo was a draft report that does not reflect the official position of the office or the Department of Defense. It would be interesting to know how the men were carried on official casualty lists—if at all.
As time passes, more information on Communist cruelty to our POWs comes to light. On June 21, 1996, AP military writer Robert Burns reported that "up to several dozen" Americans and other UN prisoners taken prisoner in the Korean War may have been used as "laboratory specimens" in drug tests run by Soviet and Czech doctors and then executed to preclude public exposure of the testing.
According to a formerly secret U.S. government report dated April 27, 1992, source unnamed, Air Force intelligence officials first learned of the alleged testing program in 1990. The information may not have been shared with Congress. Copies of the report were made public in June 1996 by Rep. Robert Dornan, R-California in a hearing that focused on POW/MIA issues. The drug experiments allegedly were done at a Czech-built hospital in North Korea during the period of the three-year war.
In a note attached to the report, Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, Jr., then director of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, revealed the details of the program. He wrote that: "The purpose of the program was to develop comprehensive interrogation techniques involving medical, psychological and drug-induced behavior modification."
Although the AP report did not identify the source of the information, it said that Gen. Clapper had described the source of the information as reliable. Speaking of the source, Gen. Clapper said: "The source was well placed in that he personally saw progress reports on the work in North Korea that were forwarded to top leadership in the Czech Central Committee and Ministry of Defense." It would be interesting to know how their deaths were reported in official casualty reports also.
Korean War POWs held to Stricter Standard
There are a number of myths about the Korean War POW experience which need to be addressed, but for the purpose of this part, only the charge of "cooperation" by the POWs with their captors will be discussed.
American POWs in Korea were held to much stricter standards by their fellow Americans than their World War II fathers and older brothers who died in the prison camps in that war—and they were severely criticized for the slightest infraction of rules.
During World War II in Germany, it was commonplace for Americans who were captured by the Germans to cooperate with them in order to make life easier for themselves. In some of the Stalags, Germans and Americans cooperated quite freely and even put on Christmas shows together. Trading between the captors and the captives was winked at. Red Cross parcels were given up for privileges. In some instances, lasting friendships were developed between the enemies. The two sides got along quite well and there were no instances of Germans killing Americans in a systematic and brutal way in the prison camps.
Although POWs in other wars were regarded differently, in Korea, no slack was given to American G.I.s who were forced, upon threat of certain death, to cooperate with the enemy. The POWs behaved no differently than U.S. and allied POWs during the war in the Pacific in such places as Bataan, Corregidor, Singapore and Mukden, China, where the murderous Unit 731 operated.
The perfidious slander of our POWs came mostly from an alarming number of Americans who seemingly were sympathetic to or duped by the Communist propaganda apparatus and who were too willing to believe the worst about their fellow Americans. Others, who had never been POWs themselves, honestly believed that Americans under no circumstances should ever cooperate with the enemy even in the face of certain death.
The harsher standards dictated that even passive "cooperation" with the enemy was deemed to be traitorous "collaboration." Sadly, too many Americans peddled that line and in the process slandered everyone unfortunate enough to get captured by the Communists. That rigid mind set led to the establishment of a new Code Conduct. Although the 1955 code had beneficial aspects, it should be noted that it was, nevertheless, scrapped in 1977 as unrealistic and unworkable—so much for good intentions!
History tells us that the slander of our Korean War POWs had its roots in Cold-War Communist propaganda in an attempt to discredit Americans as weak and decadent while at the same time portraying Communists as strong and invincible. The propaganda also served as a means to exonerate the Chinese Communists from their despicable propaganda-driven behavior in Korea by shifting blame from themselves onto American POWs for the POWs own suffering and deaths in their brutal prison camps—places reminiscent of Stalin’s death camps in the Siberian Gulag system.
If one takes the time to look, there is an abundance of evidence to refute the Communist lies, making it difficult to believe in 1995 that some people still are willing to parrot long-discredited misrepresentations about American POW behavior during the Korean War.
Americans Willing to Blame Americans
During and after the Korean War, there seemed to be a willingness, almost eagerness on the part of some Americans, including members of the media, government officials, and others to blame the Korean War POWs for the misdeeds and misfortunes of a few miscreants in order to paint them all with the same wide brush. And, they seemed too ready and anxious to exonerate the Communists for their savage and brutal behavior toward our comrades-in-arms and to blame the POWs for their own deaths at the hands of their captors--deaths which actually were caused by inhuman and barbaric treatment, disease, murder and medical experimentation in prison "sick houses".
Prison Camp 5, Pyoktong, North Korea
Don Snyder, an author who researched conditions at camp 5 from National Archives documents, described the prison as a "miniature holocaust." He found, curiously, that Camp 5 had been built by the Communists before the Korean War started in anticipation of receiving American prisoners of war—a camp ready and waiting for its victims. He said that upon arrival, prisoners:
"were packed tightly into dozens of floor-less mud-and-stick huts. Packed so tightly they slept like sardines, no one able to stretch out his legs. It was an arctic place, with little sunlight and no warmth. At night the rats burrowed between their bodies to keep alive. The prisoners’ cries for food and water were ignored. There was no medicine to kill their pain. At night they prayed for the wind to howl hard enough to drown out the sounds of men vomiting and weeping. Below the sound of the wind there were death rattles to awaken them. The Chinese were in charge of this subjugation, carrying out a program of systematic torture and torment that went on day and night. Prisoners were thrown into holes in the ground too shallow and narrow for them to lie down or stand up in. For days they were kept there, crouching and calling out. They were kept in cages and stabbed with sharpened sticks by the passing guards. As a form of entertainment for their captors, they were tied with ropes and strung up on wooden beams in such a way that when they moved involuntarily they would die by hanging themselves. There were prisoners with their eyes gouged out of their skills and others with limbs missing. Twice a day they were given a meal, but here, too, it consisted of cracked corn like chicken feed. They were covered with lice. There was pneumonia and beri-beri and dysentery. Men had dysentery so bad that their bowels moved every half hour for months. Every night there were more horrors, and in the morning more men to bury, their bodies already gnawed upon by the rats. Those wounded prisoners who had made it this far submitted to the Korean ‘sick houses’ hoping for refuse. Instead, they were used a guinea pigs for indescribable medical experiments."
Between the fall of 1950 and the spring of 1951, anywhere from 1,600 to 2,000 American fighting men, who had the misfortune to fall into Communist hands, died under such circumstances.
The Army and Air Force Studies
After the Korean War, two primary POW studies were conducted—an Army-sponsored study at George Washington University and an Air Force study at Maxwell Air Force Base. Both efforts were terminated before they were completed without comprehensive reports being compiled by the study groups.
Out of these studies emerged a recommendation from the Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Defense on Prisoners of War (1955) which formulated the new Code of Conduct rules—a code which did not stand up under the test of time.
In lieu of a report, the Defense Advisory Committee published a pamphlet which contained only summary information and almost no documentation. It must be assumed that whatever was not in the pamphlet, including individual dossiers, was for the most part held in secret. The reason why, perhaps, there never was an official public report. Thus, the whole truth was never told to the American people, and thousands of America’s servicemen were smeared in the process. And a slanderous myth was allowed to continue into perpetuity by our government and the U.S. Army, whose uniform, even though reduced to rags, the POWs so proudly wore until the time of their untimely deaths- -most of whom were in their late teens or early 20s—thousands of whom were murdered or died from causes arising out of malnutrition or disease—men who were not around after the Korean War to defend themselves against the malicious slander of their fellow Americans—for dead men tell no tales!
One of these POWs was Robert Englehart, Infantryman, Company C, 19th Infantry, 24th Infantry Division—captured by the Chinese in November 1950. He died of pellagra, a horrible disease, in May 1951. He was a boyhood friend, who followed me to Korea only to be murdered there after several months of intense combat. Listen to what Life magazine, December 1950, had to say about the 19th Infantry Regiment after receiving a Christmas card from them:
"The card was from Korea, and it was late in arriving. On the outside was the regimental shield and identification pictured above. A simple legend inside conveyed ‘best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year—from the officers and men of the Nineteenth Infantry.’ In reply, we cannot very well wish the officers and men of the 19th Regiment a happy 1951, for we know they are not going to have a happy year. Not a happy start of the year, anyhow. They are giong to have more fighting, and killing and dying for their country. And they are going to have it without much thanks from their country or notice in the press. Theirs is the kind of Regular Army outfit which gets the mean jobs, and little else besides.
"Just a so-so outfit with a home-spun sort of fellow (Colonel Ned Moore of Guthrie Center, Iowa) for a commander. The 19th has been getting mean jobs since the first week of the war, and not many of the men and officers who first went into battle are left now. No, there isn’t much to say about or to the 19th Regiment. Except this, from the heart—God bless you and keep you. Others may win the laurels. You win the wars."
My boyhood pal, Bobby Englehart, spent his Christmas along the Yalu River in a brutal Communist prison camp. He didn’t win the war or get any laurels--to those Americans who blame Americans, just another forgotten soldier in a forgotten war.
In 1992, Steve Otto, a journalist with the Tampa Tribune, wrote: "Korea, a war that most of us today would not know about except for the MASH TV series." Otto may not know or remember, but Englehart and too many others who gave their all for their country—sons of Massachusetts—are remembered by his fellow Korean War veterans. His name is engraved on the beautiful Massachusetts Korean War Memorial located at the Boston Navy Yard.
Treachery In High Places
A lot of young Americans, like PFC Englehart, who was captured on November 4, 1950 by Chinese troops—who at the time were reconnoitering in North Korea in an intelligence capacity—may have survived the war if it had not been for the treachery and deceit of traitors operating in London, Washington, and in the United Nations.
On his deathbed, Donald Maclean, the KGB spy who headed the American desk of the British Foreign Office, admitted that the highlight of his nefarious career came when he passed on President Harry Truman’s secret orders to General MacArthur to limit the Korean War to the Korean peninsula—an act which doomed hundreds of U.S. soldiers, like Englehart, to captivity and brutal death.
Norm Jeffers in an article in the September 1993 issue of The Graybeards, pointed out that: "Before the traitor to Britain revealed Truman’s secret orders to MacArthur, Mao Zedong had adamantly refused the Kremlin’s request that China enter the war, because he feared that American forces would invade China. However, with information supplied by the KGB spy, Stalin convinced Mao that U.S. forces were ordered by Truman to fight only in Korea. On November 26, 1950, then days before Truman ‘muzzled’ MacArthur by Presidential Order, some 300,000 Chinese ‘volunteers’ swarmed across the border."
The UN’s military staff, headed up by the Communist Constantine Zinchenko during the Korean War, also had access to orders going from the Pentagon to General MacArthur, and passed them on to the Communist enemy before he got them. [Under a secret agreement made in 1948 by U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, a Communist would always fill the second most important UN post, that of Under or "Assistant Secretary for Political and Security Council affairs.]
In 1953, Army Secretary Robert Stevens considered it "utter nonsense" that such treachery occurred. According to Jeffers, the practice of passing on battle plans to the enemy by the UN Military Secretariat before UN field commanders got them, was affirmed in a report of the Committee of the Judiciary of the 84th Congress, titled, "The Korean War and Related Matters."
The Genesis of the Myth
The genesis of the Korean War POW myth that two-thirds of American POWs had cooperated or collaborated—in the sense that even passive behavior was dishonorable or treasonous—started with Eugene Kinkead, a former editor and writer for The New Yorker magazine, in a book he wrote in 1959 entitled In Every War But One. To the un-knowledgeable, the book is a damning portrayal of POW disloyalty and treason. However, the careful student of history knows otherwise. For when you read and study the large amount of rebuttal evidence written by responsible scholars and historians, such as by Albert D. Biderman in his March to Calumny (1979), you begin to see that the so-called "evidence" portrayed by Kinkead in his book is extremely flawed in its accuracy and presentation.
By his own admission, Kinkead said he wrote his book in large part based on conversations with Army officials. Much of it is anecdotal—merely bits and pieces of random, unrecorded conversation. A careful reading of Kinkead’s book brings one to believe that Kinkead used the information to fashion a story to agree with beliefs that he may already have held on Americans and American society in general. In short, Kinkead may have been predisposed based on his own personal value system to think the worst of his fellow Americans. It is likely that he may have found it very easy to believe and accept negative images based on his beliefs rather than images based on real events.
Witting and Unwitting Dupes
In the 1950s, many well-meaning liberals and conservatives may have wittingly or unwittingly played into the hands of Communists by accepting Communist propaganda in order to bolster and prove their own political propaganda. While liberals were decrying American society, conservatives may have been too willing to believe the communist propaganda that passive cooperation by our POWs in captivity somehow reflected an alarming weakness in the American national character, as well as social rot and decay.
They may have been too willing to blame Americans to prove that they were not "soft on communism." Caught between a rock and a hard place were the POWs. What the dupes perhaps did not know (some of them) was that the Communists had set them up.
The World Peace Council was formed in 1949; just three months before the North Koreans attacked South Korea on June 25, 1950. The WPC organized the World Peace Appeal (known as the "Stockholm Petition Against the Korean War") which launched the most extensive campaign of psychological warfare ever conducted on a world-wide scale for the purpose of screening the communist attack.
The Communists also had their supporters in the United States. According to the Congressional Record, April 21, 1971: "The outbreak of war in Korea in 1950 caused a predictable knee-jerk reaction among the world’s communists. As strongly as they had supported the military effort against Hitler and fascism, they opposed any military effort against communist expansion in Korea. In the United States the communists launched a major propaganda offensive designed to aid the communists in Korea, China and the U.S.S.R. by attempting to discredit the United States before the rest of the world as a nation guilty of the foulest war crimes, including alleged germ warfare against innocent Koreans." In the post-truce period after 1953, the Communist propaganda machine continued to work globally.
Kinkead’s Credentials Were Questionable
Kinkead said that he based his book on the five-year investigation and study by the Army of POW behavior in the prison camps, as well as on a number of interviews with individuals involved in the Army’s POW study. But Kinkead’s "investigation" of the Army’s investigation was a very curious undertaking indeed, mainly because the Army study itself had never been published, nor had it ever been interpreted for the American public!
In he preface to his book, Kinkead admitted that the so-called Army Study lay: "Buried in bits and pieces around the military landscape—in the voluminous and now retired prisoner files, in official briefings, in reports before various committees, in diverse memoranda gathering dust these days  in forgotten cabinets…and in the minds of the men who composed its now disbanded research groups and who are presently scattered in new assignments across the country and the world."
In short, nowhere. Whether Kinkead was qualified at all to conduct such a study into such matters was highly questionable when one considers that he had no military background or special qualifications in sociology or psychology. Although a writer and editor of the liberal New Yorker, his favorite field of study, self-admittedly, was natural science.
One book that he wrote, Spider, Egg and Microcosm (1950), highlighted the studies of three scientists in the fields of arachnology, embryology, and microbiology. Why would someone with no military savvy, want to, and be allowed to, re-interpret the Army study—especially when the Army itself could have published its own study—is highly suspect and open wide to conjecture.
Whatever the Army’s reasons, Kinkead was allowed to pick and choose as he could on a catch-as-catch-can basis the bits and pieces of information for his book from available records and so-called "interviews" with Army officials. Along the way, he asked several psychologists to help him write the book, to explain the "psychological" dimensions of POW behavior, but much to their credit they turned him down cold.
Friends in High Places
In 1954, he got official permission to begin his "investigation" from Earl Johnson, the Under Secretary of the Army. When it was published, the Kinkead tract, rife with distorted depictions and interpretations about the events in Korea, over-simplifications, out-of-context quotations and suspect illustrations, offered a damaging and negative portrayal of the POW events in Korea. One of those distortions was that two-thirds of the POWs had in some way seriously cooperated or "collaborated" with the enemy.
To advance this outrageous charge, Kinkead relied on a not-too-well-thought-out statement by a high Army official on POW cooperation—purportedly given to him in an unrecorded meeting at which no notes were taken. According to Kinkead, Hugh M. Milton II, the Assistant Secretary of the Army said: "If we use as a standard the committing of some perhaps understandable act of ‘technical’ collaboration, such as broadcasting Christmas greetings to relatives at home, the percentage might run as high as thirty percent."
Yes, Virginia, Milton was talking about POWs sending Christmas messages home! The 30% figure is the one that got the most publicity in the press then and continues to be oft-quoted to this day by Americans willing to blame other Americans. Even excluding such technical collaboration, Milton said that: "One man in every seven, or more than thirteen percent, was guilty of serious collaboration—writing disloyal tracts, say, or agreeing to spy or organize for the Communists after the war."
As to the 13%, he was, of course, talking only about the POWs who had been repatriated, interviewed and charged by the Army. He was not referring to the 2,436 men who died in the prison camps under inhumane and barbaric circumstances—who could not, of course, testify on their own behalf. Dead men tell no tales!
What was the "serious collaboration" all about? The Army decided to investigate. In 1955 the Department of Defense published information which gave a breakdown of the 13% figure as follows:
Percent Army 3,973 426 11% Air Force 224 87 39% Marine Corps 200 52 26% Navy 31 0 - All Services * 4,428 565 13%
*Indicates Little Switch 149; Big Switch 3,597 plus others "returned to military control."
For some reason, the Army was intent on prosecuting its POWs, whereas the other services refused to do so—much to their credit. The investigation, though, would prove that Kinkead’s charges were great exaggerated.
Why then would the Army choose to take such a hard line? Was it because the top brass was embarrassed about the conduct of the war and their inability to rescue their own—and so decided to save their careers and capitalize on the misfortunes of the POWs whose history they could not change? Perhaps there were darker reasons. One can only surmise.
As part of their campaign, the Army apparently utilized the services of an Army psychiatrist named Colonel William E. Mayer, M.D., who traveled around the country giving speeches at hundreds of liberal colleges to the sons and daughters of the privileged elite who never would have to worry about gracing the hilly, barren countryside of places like Korea. [While the truly "best and the brightest" serve, fight, bleed and die in America’s wars, the sons of the elite are safely and comfortably ensconced in liberal institutions of "higher" learning where their skulls get filled full of liberal mush.]
A tape-recorded speech by Mayer was disseminated to thousands of active and reserve military units and government organizations and media throughout the county which painted the POWs in a bad light--in the opinion of many, a disgraceful display of America-bashing. Mayer used selective examples gleaned from his own experiences in interrogating returning POWs, to "prove" his points. The tape hammered away at scurrilous themes which later were echoed by Kinkead in his book.
Scurrilous Themes Got More Press Than the Rebuttals
It is interesting to note that few scholars of the Korean War gave credence to Kinkead’s writings, yet only a few important rebuttals were printed; namely, The Reporter (1959), New York Times (1959), Army, Navy and Air Force Register (1960), and Encounter (1960).
The most scholarly book, in my opinion, written to date on the issue of Albert D. Biderman’s March to Calumny (1959), which thoroughly discredits the works of Kinkead, Mayer and other Americans who chose, for whatever reasons, to believe the worst about our American fighting men. Sadly, the phenomena of Americans blaming Americans persists to some extent today.
The Record, However, Stands on Its Own
Worldwide—and on the home front during the Korean War—the Communist propaganda blitz, stemming out of the Stockholm "Peace" conferences, lead a lot of gullible people to believe that the POWs who died under brutal circumstances in the prison camps were somehow responsible for their own deaths. And too many people also were willing to believe the worst about those who survived.
But what are the facts? The record shows that of 4,428 repatriated POWs in 1953, some 565 or 13% of them were investigated on charges of misconduct, including "collaboration." Many of them were hounded by the CIA and the FBI. But the record also shows that the investigations exonerated most of the men so charged, resulting in only a small number of men who indeed were found guilty of egregious crimes and sentenced for their crimes.
With respect to the ARMY, some 425 men were investigated. 82 were selected for courts martial. Of those only 14 went to trial and 11 were convicted. The rest were cleared—by strictly legal criteria-only 10 out of over 4,000 men were proved guilty of collaboration. Subsequently, other agencies which conducted independent investigations also came to similar conclusions.
In 1954, the Foreign Claims Commission paid claims in full for 7,626 claims filed on behalf of POWs, alive or dead, presuming all POWs had been inhumanely treated—despite a finding in their investigation that not more than 57 men out of 7,600-odd who had been captured had been active or passive "collaborators" in one sense or another. Chairman W. Gillilland came down squarely on the side of the POWs.
The Army Psychiatric Survey
Paul M. Cole, who completed a study of POW/MIA issues for RAND/Pentagon in 1994, noted that the Army psychiatric survey of all POWs repatriated in the Little Switch (1147) and Big Switch (3,596) prisoner exchanges in Korea in 1953 indicated that 82.1% of the men returned were in "good mental health and morale." Only 17.90% suffered from psychoses (0.9%), psycho-neuroses (7.2%), character behaviors (5.9%), mental deficiency (0.8%), personality disorders (3.0%), and other (.01%)—except for the character cases, salvageable.
Not a bad report when you consider that the prisoners were not exactly checked into comfortable country clubs along the scenic Yalu River where they received excellent educational and psychological training from their Chinese and North Korean benefactors—in between sunny bouts of golf.
But was the report biased in an attempt to minimize the horrors and cruelty of prison life as both sides led up to the Armistice? Perhaps. Or did the report reflect the reality, that the POWs who were lucky enough to be repatriated before the so-called "Peace" talks began, fared far better than the POWs who were captured in the early months of the war?
Ghosts of the Korean War Haunt America
Because the Army failed to produce an official accounting of the POW experience in Korea and make it available to the public; and because it chose to destroy most of its records, we’ll probably never know the full story.
Thomas Dittmer, Tribune, Kansas, who was held for 32 months by the Koreans and Chinese, had this to say in response to a letter on casualties I placed in the March-April 1995 issue of the KWVA magazine:
"The Koreans and Chinese were always looking for any list of the DWC (Died While Captive) that anyone may have, and those who were found to have a list were severely punished. I don’t know of anyone getting out with any list. What did interest me is that after we were returned to the U.S. Army control we were individually interrogated by Army intelligence personnel. I can’t speak for everyone who was released but the questions I was asked were only if I had seen any large concentration of enemy troops or supply dumps. Not one question about if we knew of any one who died in prison camp or on the long march north to the Yalu River. Every one has buddies that died, if more than one person had named some one, that person would have been confirmed to be dead."
At the time of the truce in July 1953, 21 Americans refused to be repatriated. This was widely (and often falsely) played up in the press, and soon a gullible American public was scared in to believing that the Communists were somehow successfully "brainwashing" our POWs.
Hollywood capitalized on the brainwashing idea by making movies like The Manchurian Candidate which only reinforced public fears on the subject. In 1956, the Department of Defense issued the following statement which should have put the story to rest once and for all, but it was not widely disseminated and so the fiction has persisted down through the years:
"Several celebrated cases of authentic ‘brainwashing’ have been reported during the last decade in Communist Europe and recently [i.e., 1956] in China. However, it is obvious that such time-consuming, conditioning process could not be employed against any sizable group, such as a prisoner of war group, because of the excessive time and personnel required. In Korea, American prisoners of war were subjected to group indoctrination, not ‘brainwashing’…The exhaustive efforts of several Government agencies failed to reveal even one conclusively documented case of the actual ‘brainwashing’ of an American prisoner of war in Korea."
In November 1998, Mike Feinsilber, an Associated Press writer, reported that 12 documents retrieved from the Presidential Archive in Moscow by Cold War historians Milton Leitenberg and Kathryn Weathersby show conclusively that the Soviets lied about U.S. germ warfare in Korea during the height of the Korean War. Lietenberg is a biological warfare specialist at the University of Maryland. Ms. Weathersby is a historian who specializes in the Soviets’ role in the Korean War.
The Communists charged that U.S. warplanes dropped disease-bearing insects over the battlefields using 448 aircraft on 68 missions to spread plague, anthrax, cholera, encephalitis and meningitis. Twenty-five American POWs were forced to sign "confessions." The claims were investigated by Chinese advisors at a time when North Korean soldiers were dying of cholera in large numbers.
According to the researchers, the allegations were fully supported by Josef Stalin and Mao Tse Tung. The charges were given credibility in a 669-page report issued by the late Joseph Needham, a British biochemist and avowed Marxist, who headed a Communist-backed "International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China."
The researchers’ documents show that North Koreans facing execution were infected with plague to make the case. In addition, two regions of infection were simulated. After Stalin’s death in 1953, the Presidium of the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted a resolution that said, "The Soviet Government and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were misled. The spread in the press of information about the use by the Americans of bacteriological weapons in Korea was based on false information. The accusations against the Americans were fictitious." The statements made by American POWs were renounced when the prisoners were repatriated.
Are Any POW/MIA Still Alive?
In January 1996, the Pentagon confirmed that four U.S. deserters—one who wanted to return to the U.S.—were still alive in North Korea, but dismissed as "totally false" accounts in the South Korean press that some U.S. POWs were alive there. In the 24-30 June 1996 issue of The Stars and Stripes, writer John Herrera reported that, according to a Pentagon report, 10 to 15 U.S. soldiers may still be alive and held in North Korea.
The two-page report, leaked to the press by Rep. Robert Dornan, R-California, summarizes the conclusions of In Sung Lee, an analyst at the Pentagon’s POW/MIA Office. The Pentagon, however, said that the memo was a draft report that does not reflect the official position of the office or the Department of Defense.
Lee’s report cited several sightings of Caucasians in their 50s working in the fields in collective farms under the scrutiny of North Korean security guards. Of course, they could be immigrant prisoners from other countries, or possibly Americans from the Vietnam War. If American servicemen are still alive today, it would be interesting to see how they are carried on official casualty lists—if at all.
The ordeal that our POWs suffered in the brutal, godless Communist prison camps along the Yalu is now well known. What is less known is the apparent intentional policy of the Communists from the very beginning of the war to treat American prisoners of war savagely. In the first few months, the Communists perpetrated a number of war crimes against captured American soldiers on the battlefield or on the way to the prison camps in North Korea. The following are just a few of those stories:
Massacre at Hill 303
That atrocity featured a mass killing and wounding of 41 prisoners of war, all members of the 5th Cavalry Regiment, who had their hands tied behind their backs at the time the shootings occurred. See Exhibit 11. In August 1950, 31 platoon members of Company H, 5th Cavalry were defending a position near Hill 303, located a few miles northeast of Waegwan and east of the Naktong River, when the North Koreans began to infiltrate the lines.
The platoon leader asked for reinforcements and was told that 60 South Korean soldiers were on the way to join them. Soon afterwards, a large number of Koreans appeared from a nearby apple orchard. The G.I.’s assumed they were the reinforcements. Not until the Koreans were almost on top of their positions did the Americans realize their mistake. The "reinforcements" were heavily armed North Korean troops which outnumbered them about 10 to 1. A small number of others, from other platoons, similarly were taken.
The Reds marched the Americans to a nearby cemetery where they were kept under heavy guard. The next morning the North Koreans tied their wrists behind their backs. A few resisted and were clubbed to death. The next day, the Communists tried to escape across the nearby Naktong River but were beaten off when U.S. mortar fire began to drop nearby. On the following day, U.S. troops began to advance up the slope of Hill 303.
Before they retreated, the North Koreans walked up and down the line of trussed prisoners shooting them as they went. According to Time, August 28, 1950, when General Douglas MacArthur heard of the murders, he issued a stern warning to North Korean Premier Kim Il Sung. The warning was widely broadcast by radio, and leaflets were dropped over enemy lines.
"These crimes are not only against the victims themselves, but against humanity as well," he said. "I shall hold you and your commanders criminally accountable under the rules and precedents of war." MacArthur would not be able to carry out his promises. In less than a year he would be sacked by President Harry Truman for "insubordination." There would be other atrocities in the months ahead, but the leaders at the top would go unpunished.
On August 3, 1996, at a reunion of former American Korean War POWs in Chicago, the Army awarded Wayne "Johnnie" Johnson, Lima, Ohio, the Silver Star, in a long-delayed salute to his courage and ingenuity while a prisoner of war in North Korea for nearly 38 months. A member of Company L, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, Johnson was captured in July 1950 near Chochiwon, South Korea.
During four harsh summers and three brutal winters in captivity, Johnson, then an 18-year-old Private First Class, managed to secretly record the deaths of some 500 captives held with him who died of starvation, exposure to freezing weather and murder. Although he knew that if he got caught, it could mean instant death or torture, throughout his long period of captivity Johnson secretly recorded each occurrence on scraps of paper as he went along, using stolen ink and a makeshift pen to make copies.
The first 100 or so deaths that he recorded occurred during a nine-day death march in November 1950 ending at the Yalu River. Ironically, the first to die were men who were killed by an American fighter pilot who unknowingly strafed a building containing some of the POWs. Along the way, others would inform him of eye-witness accounts of deaths, putting themselves at risk, too.
The Death March survivors call themselves the "Tiger Group" after the North Korean colonel who led the death march and whom the prisoners called "Tiger." Wilbert R. "Shorty" Estabrook, Oakland, Maine, Company B, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, founded the group in 1970.
Johnson remembers a particularly horrifying experience which took place on the morning of November 1. According to Johnson, the colonel "….halted the procession. He climbed atop a dirt mound and ordered 1st Lt. Cordus Thornton of Dallas to join him. The colonel wanted to show the prisoners the price they would pay if they straggled and slowed up the march. He put his pistol to (Thornton’s) head and shot him. It splattered his skull and brains on us right there in the front row. That stays with you a long time."
The log that Johnson maintained contained only essential facts—name, rank, unit, date of death and hometown:
"William Griffith, F, 34, 11-1-50, Pittsburgh, PA."
"Leonard Provost, P, 21, 2-14-51, Santa Clara, NY"
The letter "F" meant PFC. The letter "P" mean Private; the number 34 was the 34th Infantry Regiment. 21 was the 21st Infantry Regiment.
About a year and a half later after he was captured, a guard in the prison camp found his list and he was severely punished. But Johnson had made a second copy and had it hidden away—and he kept on recording. In August 1953, the Red Cross gave the POWs, who were in the process of being repatriated, a bag of toiletries that included a metal tube of tooth paste. Johnson washed out the toothpaste, rolled up his list and inserted it in the tube. Soon he was on his way home with the evidence.
Strangely enough, Johnson said he shared his information with Army interrogators at a debriefing, but according to the AP story, "….some of the information fell through the cracks and was not passed on to victims’ families." In addition to the military deaths, the names of 24 civilians are recorded on Johnson’s list—including one Roman Catholic bishop (USA), three Roman Catholic sisters (2 Belgium, one France), six Roman Catholic priests (5 France, 1 Ireland), one Anglican nun (Ireland) and one Anglican priest (Britain).
The full import of Johnson’s list came to light in 1995 when retired Command Sergeant Major Timothy F. Casey brought the fact of Johnson’s list to the attention of the authorities. Then, Sergeant Victoria Bingham, an Army researcher who dealt with Korean War POWs, met with Johnson at a reunion of former prisoners of war in California. Thanks to them, Johnson’s list now is being used to cross-check information contained in the Defense POW-MIA database.
Robert Burns, the Associated Press writer who ran the feature story, had this to say: "That his (Johnson’s) deed went officially un-rewarded for more than four decades is an example of how thoroughly the United States tried to forget a war that took more than 54,000 American lives (worldwide) and ended in an unsatisfying stalemate." [Parenthetical information inserted.] A copy of Johnson’s list is included in Exhibit 9. A printed version of the list can be viewed on the Internet at Korean War Project at http://www.koreanwar.org.
Into the Tunnel
That is the title of chapter 8 of Rudy Tomedi’s book, No Bugles, No Drums, an oral history of the Korean War. The chapter details the ordeals of PFC Lloyd Kreider, a medic with the 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, who was taken prisoner in early August.
Between July 2 and August 23, the division was decimated in a series of delaying actions at Osan, Cho’nan, Choch’iwon, the Kum River and Taejon. The 34th Infantry was particularly hard hit, enough so that by the end of August the 34th Infantry Regiment would be deactivated. Kreider, in a group of about one thousand men, was marched north. At the time of the Inchon landing, he was in Seoul.
After a series of initial defeats, a renewed American army was on the move—the NKPA was thoroughly defeated. Out of the original 1,000 or so men in Kreider’s group, only about 700 survived the march to Seoul. The rest were murdered along the way—some were used for bayonet practice.
For a short time in September 1950 there was hope. General MacArthur’s war summary reported that some 300-400 POWs were liberated in Seoul. The story proved to be false when an AP field dispatch reported that army units in Seoul found a list of prisoners but no prisoners.
Leg two of the death march to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang was just as bad. Men were shot or bayoneted for the slightest infraction along the way. By the time the group reached the North Korean capital, only about 350 men remained Then they were put on a train and on October 2 they pulled into a tunnel near Sunchon. In the middle of the tunnel, the train stopped and the shooting and bayoneting began.
The 187th Airborne RCT made an airborne assault on Sunchon-Sukchon on the same day in an attempt to cut off about 30,000 fleeing North Koreans and hopefully rescue the prisoners. Although the 187th managed to capture 3,818 NKPA troops, no US prisoners were recovered. Somehow, PFC Kreider managed to survive. He got help from a friendly Korean family who turned him over to the South Korean Army which in turn escorted him to the 187th Airborne.
Enter the Dragon
In November 1950, after a series of probes and ambushes above the Ch’ong’chon River, the Chinese Communist Forces entered the fray in force—committing about a half million men along a wide front aimed at driving the UN out of North Korea. With the exception of reports of CCF brutality along the northeast front in early December, little has been written about atrocities by the Chinese forces. See Exhibit 10.
In Korea, our POWs had a cruel enemy to deal with and those who made it home were shabbily treated by their government and shamefully ignored by an apathetic public—including, sadly inexplicably, a large percentage of the GIs who had fought in World War II.
Throughout the period of the 1950s, there was a lot of misinformation/dis-information put out to the public by a sorry lot of Americans, both on the right and the left of the political spectrum, who, for ideological reasons, found it easy to scapegoat their fellow Americans. In my opinion, they were the real collaborators whether they realized it or not. It’s even sadder to note that some still think that way today. The ghosts of the Korean War continue to haunt America!
|Two samples of Johnny Johnson's POW list|
Click HERE to view larger picture
Click HERE to view PDF File
(much better resolution)
Click HERE to view larger picture
Click HERE to view PDF File
(much better resolution)
Recovery Negotiations Grind On
Some 45+ years after the signing of the Korean War Armistice on July 27, 1953, there has been little progress on POW/MIA issues between the UN Command and the American Embassy with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). In January 1996, James W. Wold, Deputy Associate Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA affairs, told the Associated Press that if the Communist government in North Korea would be more "cooperative," the remains of as many as 1,000 to 3,500 U.S. servicemen who died in Korea could be recovered and brought home in the near future.
Wold quickly explained that the range of recoveries was realistic "for planning purposes" only. That is understandable, for it is highly unlikely that the North Koreans will fully "cooperate" about anything. In addition, no one—probably not even the North Koreans themselves—know for sure where all of the remains are buried. In May 1996, Wold predicted that an intensified search would be jointly conducted by the U.S. and North Korea in 1997 to recover up to 4,000 remains.
Expectations Prove to Be Over-Optimistic
Wold’s high expectations turned out to be wishful thinking. According to March 1993 CILHI data (See Paul M. Cole’s POW/MIA Issues, Volume 1, The Korean War, 1994, Pg. 279), there are 5,908 probable remains sites inside North Korea (2,122 POW-BNR + 3,298 MIA-BNR and PCK-BNR + 488 undetermined BNR cases), 73% of total. Plus, 2,232 sites outside of North Korea (84 DMZ + 1,607 South Korea + 53 other locations + 488 undetermined BNR cases), 27% of total. Plus, 13 post-war BNR sites.
Recap: 5,908 + 2,232 = 8,140 Korean Operation; plus the 13 post-war BNR cases. It is interesting to note, that the CILHI data shows all of the losses to have occurred in either North or South Korea (with a small number attributed to offshore and Japan). [Important Note: The breakout of information in the burial analysis deals only with probable burial sites. It differs from the breakout of information in Part VII of this study which deals with data pertaining to other topics of interest, and to some extent is speculative (note that both breakouts = 8,140 however.]
Cole was not asked by DoD (See Cole, pg. Xvii) to suggest a recovery strategy for the 2,232 + 13 BNR cases outside of North Korea (South Korea, offshore and Japan). He explained: "The central elements of this strategy derive from the requirement to retrieve additional identifications media from North Korea."
Of the 5,908 probable sites, there are 2,508 known graves in North Korea (See Cole, pg. xvi). The graves mostly contain the remains of battle dead (2,096 MIA-BNR, KIA-BNR and PCK-BNR + 412 burial sites linked to aircraft crashes). Some 1,520 of those remains are buried in United Nations temporary cemeteries which later were overrun by Chinese troops after their entry into the war. Another 576 were buried in isolated sites. It is not clear if the North Koreans recovered those sites intact after the Chinese withdrawal from Korea.
Thus, information about 3,400 burial sites in all casualty categories appears to be unknown (5,908 - 2,508 = 3,400)--unless the Communists know something about the location of remains that we don’t. And are all the sites in fact located in North and South Korea? And why so many un-recovered remains in South Korea?
According to DoD DIOR data (See Part I of this study), there were a total of 2,436 POW deaths (of which 2,122 were BNR cases in North Korea). Little is known, however, about the whereabouts of those grave sites. According to Cole, three areas around Camp 5 (pg. 244) were used as burial grounds for POWs who died in captivity: Site 1 on a slope near the Yalu River containing approximately 1,500 bodies; Site 2 contained an unknown number of remains; and Site 3 contained a small number of remains.
Cole reported that 556 remains were returned to U.S. control from Camp #5 in "Operation Glory" (see Cole, pg. 247). However, as previously noted in this study, none of the 556 have been identified by CILHI to date due to the incredibly poor condition of the remains. According to the POWs themselves:
One POW reported that over 2,000 POWs were buried in unmarked graves at the Pyoktong prison camp and other camps. One POW reported that as many of the 1,600 bodies were buried or re-interred across the Yalu River in Manchuria, using Turkish and other POW labor.
One POW, who had been held for 32 months, remembers that in the summer of 1951, a small number of Turkish POWs were taken out of his camp and didn’t return until the fall. They told stories of having to burn the bodies of POWs that died during the winter.
History tells us that those areas, on both sides of the river, have been subject to massive flooding over the years. Thus, it is not likely that too many of the remains would be recoverable today.
No Angel of Mercy in Korea
The U.S. government would not have the problem it has today, if, in the early 1950s, someone had carried out a rescue mission to get the POWs out of the brutal Communist prison camps. In Korea, there was no Colonel Edward H. Lahti to come to their rescue.
On February 23, 1945, according to his autobiography, Memoirs of An Angel, 1966, Col. Lahti, Commanding Officer of the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment (the "Angels"), 11th Airborne Division, led his troops on a daring rescue mission that succeeded in saving the lives of 2,200 POWs who had been earmarked for slaughter by the Japanese in a Philippines prison camp.
In a textbook operation, one battalion went behind enemy lines across Laguna del Baie in amphibian craft. A second unit created a diversion to distract and block the nearby Japanese Tiger Division, and a third unit consisting of a company of paratroopers dropped onto the Los Banos Concentration camp itself, 20 miles behind enemy lines. All of the POWs were rescued and all of the Japanese guards were killed.
Calendar of Events
Here in the U.S., the idea of paying cash for remains continues to be a political hot potato, but the negotiations continue.
While on a state visit to Japan, President Bill Clinton decided to give North Korea $2 million in food aid through UN organizations. According to Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK), a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, the announcement regarding food aid did not mention U.S. interests in the MIA issue. In addition, the agreed-upon framework between the U.S. and the North Koreans committed the U.S. to give North Korea free oil and to supply them with two highly-advanced light-water reactors—a total package to exceed $5 billion--$4 billion alone for the reactors and some $500 million for the oil—plus potential future aid for a grid system to distribute the power.
At the time, Sen. Murkowski said that North Korea simply did not have the transmission capability to handle the new reactors, so the U.S. could be expected to be asked for another billion dollars so that the power could be distributed throughout the countryside. The framework envisioned that the U.S. would lift its trade restrictions and normalize relations—regardless, evidently, of any movement on the MIA issue. In addition, South Korea and the U.S. agreed not to conduct an annual "Team Spirit" training exercise held in South Korea to encourage North Korea to live up to the agreement they signed in 1994 to continue not to develop their nuclear weapons program.
In January 1996, Deputy Associate Secretary of Defense Wold, as head of the U.S. delegation, met with the North Koreans for more negotiations at a meeting held in Hawaii. He told the Associated Press that North Korea demanded additional payments totaling $4 million for 162 sets of remains it returned in 1993-1994. The remains were part of the total of 208 sets recovered since 1990—evidently the U.S. caved in.
At the time, according to the AP, Wold refused to specify the settlement amount, somewhere between $1-$4 million, although the two sides reportedly agreed to settle for $2 million. Like the Vietnamese, the North Koreans have insisted all along that the U.S. should pay heavily for U.S. remains; and they view reparations as a sign of U.S. "gratitude" or "appreciation."
In the past, the U.S. government has said that it is willing to pay a reasonable amount to North Korea for compensation for recovering and returning known remains from the Korean War—that and nothing more. Yet, according to earlier AP reports, between 1990 and 1992 the U.S. paid $897,300 for the return of just 46 remains.
On May 9, 1996, U.S. and North Korean officials met secretly in New York, according to the Pentagon, and formed an "agreement." One startling piece of information to come out of the May talks was the revelation that the Pentagon had identified four military defectors living in North Korea, but it had no evidence if the defectors were prisoners.
The United States agreed to pay North Korea $2 million for its past "help" in recovering remains. Previously North Korea had demanded $4 million. According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, on May 20, 1996, the U.S. handed more than $2 million to North Korea through the U.S.-led United Nations Command. A lone officer of the UNC handed over the money to a NKPA officer at Panmunjom. Also, in May 1996, the Associated Press reported that serious work on the recovery of "4,000" remains in North Korea would start in 1997.
A "technical" meeting, which discussed joint recovery operations involving six to ten U.S. military and civilian experts, was held at an undisclosed site. As a result of the meeting, 10-member teams of U.S." experts" were scheduled to visit North Korea—one team to locate the crash site of an F-80C fighter jet near the Chinese border. The other team to search for the wreckage of a B-29 bomber carrying 13 men (of whom four bailed out, three were returned to U.S. custody, the fate of the fourth man remains unknown).
On July 29, 1996 North Korea returned unidentified remains believed to be those of a missing U.S. pilot. The remains were "found" as the result of a joint U.S.-North Korean search—albeit some 20 minutes away by car from the crash site of the U.S. Air Force F-80C fighter, 60 miles north of Pyongyang. The first joint exhumation operation of U.S. Korean War dead also began in July 1996.
Between July 1996 and December 1997, the remains of seven U.S. servicemen were repatriated through Panmunjom. Five joint search operations for U.S. remains were scheduled for 1998.
In May 1998, two sets of remains were returned across the DMZ. On July 24, three sets of remains of U.S. soldiers, believed to be soldiers of the 24th Infantry Regiment who died in battles in 1952, were handed over to the UN Command at Panmunjom. They were found in Kujang County near the Chinese border.
In the fall of 1998, as a result of the fifth joint operation in North Korea in 1998, remains believed to be those of nine Americans missing in North Korea were recovered and repatriated at Panmunjom. The dig was the ninth overall since recoveries began in 1996.
In addition to the above results, there have been additional recoveries. Despite Deputy Associate Secretary of Defense Wold’s earlier optimism, since July 1996 the joint operations have recovered what are believed to be the remains of only 27 soldiers. One set of remains was identified as that of Army Corporal Lawrence LeBeouef of Covington, LA, who was a member of the 8th Cav Regt, 1st Cav Div.
Prior to the joint recovery operations in North Korea in 1996, the North Koreans returned 208 coffins containing the probable remains of American servicemen, but only five identifications were made. The identification of Corporal LeBeouef was number six.
The Clinton Administration agreed to pay North Korea $672,000 to conduct the five searches in 1998 which consisted of five 25-day digs between April and fall of the year. That amount brings to approximately $1 million the amount paid to the North Korea Communist regime over the past two years for "fuel and services." At last report, the Communist’s regime has demanded $20 million.
The French Experience
Prior to the American involvement in Vietnam, France fought a war there and lost large numbers of men. After that conflict, the Vietnamese demanded heavy payment for the return of French remains. Initially, the French balked but eventually they caved in to Vietnamese demands for cash for bones. According to Bill Bell, in "True Lies: Inside the POW/MIA Cover-Up," written for The American Legion magazine, March 1995, between 1954 and 1986 approximately $10 million per year was forked over to the Vietnamese by the French government—because they did not want to deal with the POW/MIA problem at home as a political issue. In the end, the French paid a total of about $320 million, and in 1986 they recovered 24,000 remains.
American policy also tends to favor settling the Vietnam question quickly, but the government is painfully aware that it has a domestic problem involving the families of the POWs and MIAs. On the one hand, the U.S. appears to be predisposed to continue to move slowly on the POW/MIA issue and at once make it appear that the U.S. is getting sincere cooperation from the Vietnamese.
As of November 24, 1998, according to the POW/MIA office, 2,076 Americans are still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, including 468 at sea or over water losses. The breakdown: Vietnam - 1,549 (North 43%, South 57%); Laos - 444; Cambodia - 75; Chinese territorial waters - 8. At the same time, the U.S. is rushing to do trade and conduct business with Vietnam in every way that it can. The Clinton Administration insists that Vietnam is "fully cooperating in good faith."
Not too long ago, the United States granted diplomatic recognition to Vietnam. Recognition was followed by a report in the press that the U.S. had arranged for a $265 million "loan" to Communist Vietnam through the World Bank. There have been few public details pertaining to the specifics of that deal. In November 1998, Ford Motor Company flew the Vietnam flag over its corporate headquarters.
Cold War Recoveries
According to the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIA, the remains of 18 servicemen shot down during the Cold War have been recovered and identified. An additional 120 cases are still unaccounted for.
South Koreans Stay Jittery
The one thing that South Korea fears the most is the removal of some 37,000 American troops stationed there as a "trip wire" force to discourage a second North Korean military adventure. Continual, sporadic violations of the 1953 truce agreement by the North drive home the potential for danger (see Part V).
As late as April 7, 1996, between 150 and 180 North Korean soldiers entered the Demilitarized Zone between South and North Korea, placed mortars and aimed machine guns at the South. The incursion was staged in blatant violation of armistice provisions which allows each side to have just 35 soldiers in the zone at any time, armed only with side arms.
Tensions rose and South Korea put its 650,000-strong military on alert; but, the PKA solders stayed only for several hours and left without incident. Later in the year, a small submarine carrying Communist agents came ashore in South Korea. They were discovered and several soldiers on both sides were killed in bloody shoot-outs.
In late 1996, the North Koreans apologized—the very first apology from them for any number of violations since the armistice was signed. In the meantime, the standoff, interrupted by sporadic skirmishes, continues while North Korea is building nuclear reactors and developing missile systems.
Worse Case Scenario
Rumor has it that at a propitious time, the stage is set for a severe "crisis" in the North Korean economy. South Korea and Japan are making contingency plans for a collapse of the North Korean government which will set off a mass migration of North Korean refugees.
Of late Japan has been conducting naval operations in the waters between Japan and Korea. China is in on the deal and will not interfere. U.S. and other UN troops may be used to "stabilize" the countryside during the period of the crisis. Gradually, the North and South will be re-unified over a period of 5-10 years. For now, the "crisis" is just in the rumor stage. But, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said: "In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way."
Our First "No-Win" War
It was not Korea! After World War II, there was one notable place where Americans served, fought, bled, died prior to and during the Korean Operation period June 25, 1950 to January 31, 1955 that has received scant attention by historians. That place was Trieste. The Americans who died there also must be remembered as must all Americans who gave their lives in America’s other secret wars around the globe.
In December 1995, Mike Harden, a columnist at The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch wrote an interesting article on that "conflict." The article was distributed by Scripps Howard News Service. Harden said that in 1945, U.S. and British troops were sent to Trieste, an Adriatic seaport, on what is now the Italian-Slovenian border, to protect it until the UN could appoint a governor of what came to be known as the Free Territory of Trieste.
Yugoslavia’s Marshal Tito tried to grab the area from the Italians after World War II. U.S. troops served there until the end of 1954, including a 5,000-man force called the 31st Regiment. According to Harden, the mission regularly brought American forces face to face with hostile Yugoslavian troops in the rugged Julian Alps terrain. They manned outposts and walked patrol along what became known as the Morgan Line—U.S. troops on one side of the line, Yugoslav troops on the other.
The first soldier killed was on Christmas Eve, 1945. Reportedly, that earned him the tragic distinction of being the first American cold War fatality. U.S. troops often were the casualties when Italian and Yugoslav partisans engaged in street fighting in the city. At one point, Tito massed 65,000 troops along the line. Americans continued to encounter ambushes, kidnappings, sniper attacks and bombings. On one occasion, a U.S. troop transport plane was shot down.
Things got so rough in Trieste that when the Army offered members of its 351st Regiment the opportunity to leave the Yugoslavian front and fight in Korea, 1,000 men jumped at the chance! Finally, a 1954 agreement established a joint Yugoslav-Italian administration to manage the Free Territory of Trieste. Although Americans served, fought, bled, died in Trieste between 1945 and 1954 under the aegis of the State department, the U.S. has never recognized their contributions. None of the men who were killed or wounded ever got the Combat Infantry Badge or the Purple Heart.
No military campaign or theater ribbon was ever awarded by the U.S. or the United Nations. Reliable statistics on how many died in Trieste are hard to come by,--but this is what Col. David H. Hackworth, who served there, told me: "Marty, reckon the total KIAs and WIAs from (19)45-(19)54 were less than 200. No medals. TRUST veterans have tried, but so far failed. Great tight outfit. Iron discipline. Swung many a 16# sledge hammer for the First Sgt. From 6 to 10 breaking rocks behind the mess hall. Hack." Whether or not the deaths are included in the 17,355 "Other" un-validate worldwide deaths [Army 6,977] is unknown.
According to John Prados in Presidents’ Secret Wars, prior to the onset of the Korean War in 1950, the CIA had been involved in covert operations in China for a number of years. After hostilities in Korea began, the CIA increased its intelligence operations in china and undertook new ones in North Korea. And in the following years, it would be involved in secret operations throughout Asia for a variety of political reasons.
Initially, the CIA set up an Office of Special Operations in Yokosuka, Japan. Other than its agency-operated civil Air Transport based in Taiwan, the agency had to rely on Far East Command resources for its paramilitary operations. Shortly thereafter, a CIA base was established at Atsugi AFB in Japan, and an island off Korea in Pusan Bay was hastily converted into a training base to train Koreans for clandestine missions in North Korea.
Under FECOM, the U.S. Navy operated the Horace A. Bass, a ship equipped with four landing craft capable of carrying 160 U.S. and UK navy and marine reconnaissance and demolition experts organized into a Special Operations Group. In addition, the SOG had the use of a submarine transport which also could carry up to 160 men. Generally, the military SOG ran the sea transports while CIA’s CAT operated 40 aircraft.
One of the first successful missions was "Operation Stole," a joint effort with Chiang Kai-shek, to prevent Indian "medical aid" from being transported through British Hong Kong into Communist China. Writing in The Graybeards in September 1993, Norm Jeffers informed us that after Seoul had been captured for the third time by American troops, the 5th Air Force moved from Tokyo and relocated near Seoul. At that time, a secret psychological warfare operation went into effect. Jeffers remembers:
"When I was assigned there, my primary mission was the continuation of airdropping guerrillas into North Korea and China via parachute from Air Force C-46 Commandos. Other missions were saturating the front lines with millions of leaflets, island re-supply, harassing the enemy, and other diversified missions."
Beginning in February 1951, the CIA ran "Operation Paper" in support of an unsuccessful "mini-invasion" of China by nationalist guerrillas based in north Burma. The force was supported by CAT who flew in weapons, supplies and personnel from bases in Thailand and Okinawa. While all this was going on, the CIA was busy building up Thai paramilitary forces.
In late 1951, the CIA was busy ferrying nationalist soldiers from Taiwan to Thailand and Burma. By early 1952, the agency had bases in Japan, Korea and Saipan island in the Pacific where it trained hundreds of Chinese troops and formed them into "strike teams" that engaged in covert operations on mainland. At one point in 1952, OPC strength in the area had increased to about 6,000 personnel. In the summer of 1952, a second mini-invasion of china took place, that also was unsuccessful.
While the CIA was reconnoitering the Chinese mainland, the military was conducting intelligence and sabotage missions along the North Korea coast. As the SOG effort grew, so did the military command structure. Eventually, the 8240th Army Unit was formed, consisting of four groups—one air transport section with its own C-46s and C-47s, and three field sections.
The largest group, Wolfpack, at one time fielded 6,800 ROK troops and 12 Americans organized into eight battalions. A second group, Leopard, at one point reported a strength of 5,000 men. In one 6-day operation in November 1952, FECOM reported that units of the 8250th had inflicted 1,382 casualties on the enemy. In 1952, a separate program of aid to guerrillas in Manchuria was being carried out.
Other exotic locales where American civilian and military personnel served, fought, bled, died during the period of the Korean War include the Philippines, Indonesia, Central America, Taiwan, French Indo-China and Tibet. The exact number of military personnel who died in clandestine operations in our Asian wars is unknown. Whether or not the deaths are included in the 17,355 "Other" deaths also is unknown.
In the 1950s, the U.S. Air Force was active in the air over the Communist countries in Europe and the USSR. In The Graybeards article, Jeffers wrote: "According to the recent release of tens of thousands of secret files in the national archives, there were over 15,000 secret spy missions flown world wide against Communism in the 50s. It began in 1949 after the Soviets tested an atomic bomb. Some 100 bomber/cargo-type aircraft were used on the so-called ferret missions. Even the loss of 24 Americans with 31 aircraft shot down and 138 air-crew members unaccounted for, were kept secret."
Jeffers said that almost all of his missions, combat or otherwise, were classified or had restrictions—even the transporting of body bags from Korea to Japan was conducted in secret. He said that in all of his flying throughout Korea, Japan and Formosa [now Taiwan], he never saw or heard of a news writer. Had Jeffers been an infantryman captured in November or early December 1950 in North Korea, he would have had the chance to meet one.
In late November 1950, the CCF launched a massive attack against American forces at Kunu-ri. Although the 2d Infantry Division’s 23d Infantry Regiment had escaped the worst of the Chinese trap on November 30, the division’s other regiments, the 9th and 38th, had been nearly annihilated. A large number of prisoners were taken.
Earlier in the month, at Unsan, the First Cavalry Division’s Eight Cavalry Regiment came under massive attack by the CCF, and hundreds of prisoners were taken. To the west, POWs were taken from the 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. According to David Polk in Korean War: Ex-Prisoners of War, hundreds of POWs received their first taste of indoctrination at a temporary prison camp, dubbed "Death Valley" by the POWs, in the form of a lecture delivered by Wilfred Burchett, an Australian correspondent who worked for the French Communist newspaper Le Soir. Burchett told the POWs that the UN forces were thoroughly defeated at Pusan and were being driven into the sea.
While British troops fought alongside Americans in Korea, other Brits would also create mistrust. According to Jeffers, Brits in high diplomatic places in Washington and London were spying for the Russians and passing on American battle plans to the Communists through the UN. In the early days of the war, Reggie Thompson of the London Daily Telegraph and Louis Heron of the London Times, in the opinion of many, wrote disparagingly of the American G.I.—at the very time the Eight Army was mopping up what was left of the defunct North Korean Army and at a time when it was driving north to Pyongyang.
A real shocker appeared in the February 1997 issue of Military. Author Robert Harper had this to say: "Brigadier Basil A. Coad, commanding general of British forces in Korea in 1950, has a unique distinction. He is the only British commander this century known to have failed to go to the aid of American soldiers when ordered. In 1989 with the publication of Roy E. Appleman’s book, Disaster in Korea, it finally became possible to document that failure. Brigadier Coad’s decision to circumvent an attack order from the IX Corps commander resulted in the needless loss of hundreds of American lives and the near-destruction of the 2d Infantry Division on 30 November 1950."
Despite the alleged actions of a few, undoubtedly inspired by political motivations, the Americans and the Commonwealth forces at the troop level worked wonderfully well.
In the January 1997 issue of Military, W.H. Brockinton, an ex-Marine, tells the interesting story of an incident in the fall of 1945 in China which resulted in uniting Chinese Nationalist, Japanese, and U.S. Marines into an organized defense force in anticipation of an attack by the Reds.
After World War II, the First Marine Division was assigned the mission of disarming and repatriating the Japanese forces in North china. Company I of the 5th Regiment was deployed to guard an airfield in the vicinity of Peiping. Their defensive perimeter was tied in with a Chinese Nationalist battalion. Just after the disarmament process had taken place, word came down from Regiment that Communist forces intended to attack and take over the airfield.
It was necessary to rearm the Japanese troops and integrate them with the Chinese and the Marines. Former enemies found themselves occupying the same foxholes. But the attack did not materialize. Once again, the Japanese were disarmed and this time sent home to Japan. The Chinese and the Marines would meet once again:
"After my arrival in North China I had determined in my own mind that the mission of the 1st Marine Division was more than just to disarm and repatriate the Japanese forces in North China. I felt that the larger mission of the 1st Marine Division and elements of the 6th Marine Division dispatched to North China was to keep apart the Communist forces and those of Chiang-Kai-Shek until our State Department decided to allow the Chinese mainland to be taken over by the Communists. When that happened, hordes of Chinese Communists crossed the Yalu River into North Korea to engage elements of the 1st Marine Division in the Chosin Reservoir campaign."
Finally, we come to the end. The statistical journey has been tedious. This is what we have found to date:
Dead and Wounded
There were 54,258 worldwide deaths between June 25, 1950 and January 31, 1955. Although an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, officially the war has not ended.
There were 36,913 acknowledged deaths in Korea and surrounding waters—both "hostile" and "non-battle," including 641 post-armistice deaths, mostly Air Force. Only 34,641 of the deaths have been validated. The "hostile" deaths include 8,177 Body-Not-Returned cases, a mix of KIA, MIA and POW, of which 47 remains have been identified by Department of the Army (CILHI) and Department of the Air Force [as of January 31, 1999]. Official lists are maintained by the Department of Defense and the various services.
There were 17,355 "other" deaths worldwide, including "hostile" and "non-hostile" deaths—undoubtedly, a number of deaths in the "other" category were deaths not attributed to the Korean Operation or recorded in official casualty lists for Korea. The remainder occurred at other global locations. The figure 17,355 is a "historical" one according to the Department of Defense. The DoD has stated there is no list available for the "other" category of deaths or wounded in action.
There were 103,284 hospitalized wounded in action in Korea who survived their wounds. Some of the men listed in that total are listed more than once. Undoubtedly there were other wounded who were hospitalized in Korea, Japan and other locations, whose wounds were not recorded or attributed to the Korean Operation. No records were kept for non-hospitalized wounded.
There were 98 "hostile" or "hostile-related" deaths in Korea and surrounding waters between 1955 and 1995 [Demilitarized Zone; USS Pueblo incident; Navy EC-121 shoot down; Army helicopter shootdown].
- 131 wounded in action in the DMZ since January 31, 1955, insofar as it is known.
Right to Know
Along with hundreds of other Korean War veterans, my quest for the truth will go on. Please join with me in digging out the information. When you get new data, please share it with your Korean War buddies, and make sure that you get it disseminated in print.
On July 16, 1998, Associated Press writer John diamond wrote that the Central Intelligence Agency plans to release new information on clandestine operations in Cuba, Guatemala, Congo, Laos, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Tibet, France, Italy, Tran and North Korea during the period of the Korean War. Gather and save any information you may see on this.
In Appendix III to this booklet you will find a list of addresses. Write to these folks, but do it in a gentlemanly or lady-like fashion and push to get the statistics—and more importantly, the truth. At times it is exasperatingly difficult to deal with our bureaucrats in Washington. Keep on top of them though—and don’t give up if you find yourself in a Catch-22 situation or if you’ve just been fed a large dose of Bovine Snacks.
In the October-December issue of The Graybeards, the official magazine of the Korean War Veterans Association, Richard Coate had this to say: "One of the basic tenets of our ‘open society’ is the public’s right to know. To purposely withhold such information is not only counter to the democratic principles of a free society, it is a betrayal of a most sacred trust to the young men who were abandoned for political expediency."
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