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Sikorsky H-5 Helicopter (right click, view image to see actual photo)

Sikorsky H-5 Helicopter

The above is one of Mossman's "Ebb and Flow" illustrations, which primarily show small unit military operations during the Korean War from late November 1950 to early July 1951, a period in which battle lines did indeed ebb and flow in pronounced surges.

For US fighting forces in Korea, 1950 was a year of tragedy, brilliant triumph, entrapment, and defeat.

1951 had its full share of all these, but was most marked by our fighting forces' steady growth of competence, and a grim resolution.

Our major adversary, the Chinese army, had proven themselves in their Civil war, winning one of the most decisive victories in history at the Battle of Huai-Hai. They were well and courageously led at the small unit level, thoroughly disciplined, resolute and opportunistic. Using a support nightmare of miscellaneous armament, in spite of UN superiority in air and communications, they fought effectively. In Korea, belatedly, they earned the respect of the world, as well as our own armed forces.

And yet, man for man, we met them, fought them to a standstill, and South Korea is free today, because of the valor of men like those in these photos.

Today, as we stand down from Iraq and Afghanistan, we face the same decisions in Political Leadership and Military Intelligence that we failed to solve after WWII, thus leading to the tragedy of Korea.

In its coverage of combat operations, Mossman's book falls in the series between Roy E. Appleman: South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu and Walter G. Hermes: Truce Tent and Fighting Front. The photos themselves fully succeed in meeting the author's objective of displaying the gallantry, suffering, and achievements of individual American fighting men in combat.

As I grow old I feel great pride in remembering that they were my comrades in arms.


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