Korean War Casualty Information

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Katusa Casualties

This information was taken verbatim from page five of the Spring 2001 edition of The Commemorator, newsletter of the U.S. Korea 2000 Foundation, 4600 Duke Street, Suite 416, Alexandria, VA 22304-2517. Credit for the availability of the information goes entirely to the U.S. Korea 2000 Foundation.

KATUSAs saved American Lives!
It’s time their sacrifice is acknowledged!

Too few Americans, and sadly, too few Korean War veterans know of the blood shed by those Korean nationals who were assigned to US units during the Korean War. The United States chose to meet maintaining our front line strength by using KATUSAs instead of US soldiers. This was done for several reasons: (a) all available US manpower was needed to build our NATO Forces because the US feared Soviet aggression in Europe, (b) in an effort to reduce US casualties in Korea for fear of losing public support and (c) we misjudged the ferocious nature of the war.

In simple truth, every KATUSA killed, wounded, captured or missing would have meant that a US soldier would have been killed, wounded, captured or missing! Thus when we are considering our Korean War casualties, this nation ought to add the KATUSAs to the total—for in their place would have been an American.

Between 16% to 24% of our front line Infantry strength in US units were KATUSAs. The best available data suggests that their casualty rate not only equaled US casualty rates, but exceeded them by 10% in several of our Infantry Divisions. The KATUSAs were many times in the forefront of heavy engagements.

Using the median of 20% and evaluating a US rifle squad, that meant that between 2 to 3 were KATUSAs. Extrapolating casualties, using as a basis US casualties and factoring 5% for the KATUSAs higher ratio, the following results:
KATUSA 7,140 21,630 1,718 1,512 32,000
US 33,741 103,284 8,064 7,286 152,375

Not counted in the foregoing are the losses from the Korean Service Corps (KSC). Had there not been the KSC, the US would have had to deploy seven each additional Transportation, QM, Engineer Battalions with the attended losses that would have resulted within these battalions.


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