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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY & HERITAGE COMMAND

Korean Service 1950-1954

The United States, within the framework of the United Nations resolution, responded to the 25 June 1950 invasion of the Republic of Korea by Communist troops from the north. As the aggression threatened to overrun all of South Korea rapidly, the meager U. S. naval forces in the Far East, under Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, went into action immediately.

During the opening ten days of hostilities destroyers covered the evacuation of American citizens as well as the movement of critically needed ammunition into the combat area. The antiaircraft cruiser USS Juneau conducted the first bombardment of the war.

Aircraft from the carrier USS Valley Forge of the Seventh Fleet blunted the enemy air effort by blasting airfields in the north. On the ground outnumbered defenders fell back into a perimeter pivoted on the port city of Pusan. Vessels poured men and materials into Pusan and Pohang. Warships off the coast provided gunfire.

Carrier planes added their close support to those of the Air Force, enabling the embattled troops to maintain the foothold. On 15 September 1950 in a classic example of waterborne mobility, the Navy's amphibious capability was brought into play with telling effect.

An "end run" was made to overwhelm the defenses ashore and land the First Marine Division and Army troops at Inchon, outflanking the invaders and sending them reeling northward. At the Hungnam evacuation LSTs, together with other amphibious and auxiliary types, supported by heavy ship fire and carrier aircraft, successfully withdrew over 100,000 military personnel, 91,000 refugees, 350,000 tons of cargo, and 17,000 vehicles while Chinese Communist forces were held at bay.

Ships of the Military SeaTransportation Service carried the fighting men and millions of tons of dry cargo, ammunition, and petroleum products to Korea across the Pacific, thousands of miles from the United States. Gradually, as strength built up, the U. S. and Allied naval vessels tightly blockaded both coasts of the long Korean peninsula to deny the enemy supply by sea. Battleships, including USS Missouri, cruisers, and destroyers delivered sustained and accurate fire on enemy troop concentrations, lines of communications, and installations.

Carrier planes ranged deep into North Korea to strike at bridges, transportation centers and other facilities, and provided close air support for United States' and Republic of Korea's forces along the fighting front. Mines posed the most serious and persistent threat to United Nation's entry into coastal waters and to amphibious operations. U.S. Navy minesweepers met the challenge as they carried out the hazardous clearing of heavily mined harbors at Wonson, Chinnampo, and elsewhere.

2 Silver Stars


1. North Korean aggression
2. Communist China aggression
3. Inchon landing
4. 1st U.N. counteroffensive
5. Communist China, spring offensive
6. United Nations summer-fall offensive
7. 2nd Korean winter
8. Korean defense, summer-fall (1952)
9. 3rd Korean winter
10. Korea, summer-fall (1953)