Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

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North Korean Offensive

Following the North Korean Offensive on June 25, 1950, the United States and the United Nations decided to defend South Korea.   U.S. Navy forces were commanded by Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble's Seventh Fleet and Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy's Naval Forces, Japan.  Carrying out the first naval gunfire support operations on June 28 were USS Juneau (CLAA-19) and USS De Haven (DD-727) as they bombed targets near Sanchock.  USS Valley Forge (CV-45), along with Royal Navy light carrier Triumph, carried out the first airstrikes on July 3-4.  During this time, U.S. and Royal Navy ships evacuated refugees, transported U.S. Army forces from Japan to Korea.  

The first U.S. troops to enter combat in July were the U.S. Army's 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions.  Initially, the troops landed at Pohang as Pusan was very busy with incoming shipping.  The landings were peaceful  Despite those landings and a push forward, the units were eventually overwhelmed as the North Koreans pushed south.   With the retreat to the seaport of Pusan, the defenders reached a critical point.  Despite what seemed to be overwhelming odds, the forces held on until the First Provisional Marine Brigade arrived in August.  The brave U.S. Marines took back some of the enemy advances and served to protect the Pusan Perimeter until the Inchon Invasion the following month.  

Image:  80-G-417148:  First Korean War Carrier Air Strikes, July 3-4, 1950.   A North Korean railroad train attacked south of Pyongyang.  Official U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.