As so often in our history, our
most professional and resolute infantry stages
for the unknown.
Most of these men were young, and
inexperienced, but they had gone through the
finest training for infantry that our country had
to offer. Moreover, their officers and NCOs were
almost all WWII veterans, victorious in bitter
battle against the fine Japanese armies. All were
They all knew about the North
Korean torture and mutilation of wounded US
prisoners. But they also knew the Corps'
tradition of not abandoning Marine wounded. In
the 1st and 2nd Battles of the Naktong bulge,
Inchon, the fighting around Seoul, the fight-out
from Yudam-ni in the Reservoir, 50% or more of
these men would be killed or wounded, lying in
graves from Pusan to Chosin. But they would fight
as a team, confident in themselves and in one
In those coming campaigns, they
would truly conduct themselves in the highest
tradition of the United States Marine Corps.
There were many more battles to
- Immediate Time line for these Marines:
- July 2, MacArthur requests Washington
for a Marine Regimental Combat Team with
its Air support
- July 7, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade
(5th Marines and Aircraft Group 33) formed
at Camp Pendleton with 6,534 men
- July 15, 1st Marine Brigade, left San
Diego. 1stProvBgde was 6,534 strong.
(During the Korean War the Marines would
casualties, including over 4,200
- Jul 20, President Truman calls up the
entire Organized Marine Reserve.
- Aug 2, 1st Marine Brigade arrives in
- Aug 3, MAG 33 flying missions from
- Aug 7, Marines in first battle with
North Koreans. First battle of the
In the late 1940's, General
Omar Bradley concluded that "amphibous
operations are a thing of the past." The
Truman Administration, guided by Bradley and the
JCS, had cut the Fleet Marine Force to 34,000
officers and men, giving a ground fighting
strength of only six infantry battalions, and a
total Corps strength of
74,279 officers and men. Eliminated were the two
Marine divisions which would have been able to
meet and defeat the In Min Gun in the Pusan
As it turned out, the single
Marine RCT which still was capable of rapid
deployment effectively saved the Perimeter, and
South Korea, with its valliant defeats of the NK
in the Naktong battles. With these troops as
their fighting edge, augmented by mobilizing the
Marine Corps reserves, the whole 1st Marine
Division landed at Inchon and devastated the NK
The Inchon assault succeeded
mainly because of the audacity of MacArthur's
plan of attack, and the speed of its execution.
The NK were simply not yet prepared. The
approaches were not yet commanded by their
artillery, nor had they been mined. Their guns on
Wolmi weren't yet well placed or numerous or
well dug in. Their infantry weren't prepared
or well dug in either. All these defenses were
being started and, if finished, would have
destroyed any invasion attempt.
Only the over-extension of Eighth
Army into North Korea, without proper staging or
fall-back defenses in depth, lost the victory we
had gained, when the Chinese entered the war.
For Global Intelligence,
MacArthur was required by chain of command to
rely on Washington, and the CIA. As with their
earlier evaluation that North Korea would not
attack, CIA Intelligence was faulty.
Against China's veteran guerilla armies
preparation was much more vital than speed. 8th
Army was ambushed and beaten.
The Marines who crushed the North
Koreans at Inchon were also ambushed, in the
frozen wastes of Chosin, where they won a series
of savagely fought tactical victories to survive
our overwhelming strategic defeat.