At the start of the Korean War, the U.S. Navy faced a crisis due to mass demobilization following World War II. A force of 6,700 ships and 3.5 million Sailors in 1945, was reduced to 634 active ships and just over a half million Sailors by 1950. Despite lacking resources and a trained force, the Navy made do by recalling thousands of reservists, recommissioning ships, modernizing aircraft carriers, and developing better planes. Reinvigorating the Navy was necessary because Korea is located on a peninsula, so control of the air and seas was essential for a victory on land. The Navy played a large role in two major battles early in the war, Inchon and Chosin, and was involved in numerous skirmishes that occurred throughout the duration of the conflict. This exhibit tells the story of the U.S. Navy's role through various themes, including amphibious operations, naval aviation, minesweeping, medical support, and armistice negotiations.
Interesting artifacts in the Korea War exhibit include:
- Soviet arms sold to the Koreans including OTT-33 7.62mm Semiautomatic Pistol and PPSh M1941 7.62 Submachine gun
- United States arms: Colt .45 Caliber Automatic Rifle, M1911A1; Garand M1 .30 Caliber Automatic Rifle; and Browning M1918A2 .30 Caliber Automatic Rifle.
- Korean Elder's Hat
- Piece of the Inchon Seawall
- USS Henrico (APA-45), Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP)