The Korean War began on 25 June 1950 when the armed forces of North Korean crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded the South. United Nations troops, led by the United States but including units of various strengths from over 20 other nations and South Korea, attempted to slow the North Korean advance but were quickly driven into a beachhead around Pusan, now known as Busan. With UN units at Pusan holding their tenuous perimeter, a second force—under the overall command of Douglas MacArthur—conducted a bold amphibious landing at Inchon, quickly retaking Seoul and forcing the North Koreans to retreat. UN troops would pursue the fleeing North Koreans across the length of the peninsula, reaching North Korea’s border with China before the Chinese army would enter the fighting and force them back towards defensible terrain along 38th Parallel again. For the remaining two years of fighting, neither force would succeed in driving far beyond these positions. On 27 July 1953, an armistice was signed and the North Korean and UN armies settled into an uneasy ceasefire separated by the newly established Korean Demilitarized Zone, corresponding to the no-man’s-land between the two forces and, roughly, to the 38th parallel.
South Korean Success
Since the signing of the Armstice, American and other UN troops have stood beside their South Korean partners maintaining the security of the South along what came to be known as “Freedom’s Frontier.” From their Graduation forward, members of the Class of 1969 and their families have been intricately connected to the incredible success of South Korea, some serving multiple tours in South Korea deterring aggression from the North Koreans and helping to enable the economic miracle that has occurred along the Han River and throughout South Korea.