The Korean War 25 (June 1950 – 27 July 1953)


New Member
Jan 24, 2013
Korean War was a war between the Republic of Korea (South Korea), supported by the United Nations, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), supported by the People's Republic of China. It was primarily the result of the political division of Korea by an agreement of the victorious Allies at the conclusion of the Pacific War at the end of World War II. The Korean Peninsula was ruled by the Empire of Japan from 1910 until the end of World War II. Following the surrender of the Empire of Japan in September 1945, American administrators divided the peninsula along the 38th parallel, with U.S. military forces occupying the southern half and Soviet military forces occupying the northern half.

I just want to post some Heroes of Korean War.. and I want to hear many of untold stories of every Nation that is part of here... :))

In my case I heard about the Battle of Yultong Bridge
As part of the First Chinese Spring Offensive, the Chinese 44th Division attacked the US 65th Infantry Regiment of the US 3rd Infantry Division near Yeoncheon on the night of April 22.The Filipino 10th BCT, part of the 65th Infantry Regiment,[2] was soon trapped at the Yultong area by 23:00.Although the 10th BCT had lost all contacts with the outside world, the Filipinos held their position until the Chinese stopped their attacks on the morning of April 23.The 10th BCT's action at Yultong allowed the US 3rd Infantry Division to successfully withdraw from the battlefield.

Source : Battle of Yultong - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There's also a Battle of Hill Eerie :

The Battle of Hill Eerie refers to several Korean War engagements between the United Nations forces and the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) in 1952 at the infamous Hill Eerie.
Hill Eerie was a military outpost at 38°15"²12"³N 127°3"²8"³E, about ten miles west of the rubble piles of Ch'orwon. It was taken several times by both sides; each sabotaging the others' position. It was a decisive Filipino victory over Chinese

Source : Battle of Hill Eerie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

More about Yultong Bridge and the Story of Why Philippines joined the Korean war.. and Lt Col. Dioniso Ojeda Heroism

Heroes of the Korean War: Lieutenant Colonel Dionisio Ojeda – Part 1

Background of Philippines Involvement in the Korean War
One of the first United Nations members to answer the call to deploy troops and would go on to make meaningful battlefield contributions to the war effort in Korea was the Philippines. The Philippine government deployed one regimental combat team to fight in the Korean War that became known as the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK). The PEFTOK soldiers arrived in Korea on September 19, 1950 at the port city of Pusan shortly after MacArthur's successful Incheon Landing Operation that turned the tide of the Korean War.

During the nearly five years PEFTOK was deployed to Korea they participated in a number of heavy combat operations and established themselves a solid reputation as tough, tenacious fighters in the hills of Korea. Much of the tactical skills the Filipino soldiers used in Korea to great effect was honed during their own struggle against tyranny when the Japanese invaded the Philippines and Filipino guerrillas took to the hills to launch attacks against the Japanese. The Filipino military's guerrilla warfare skills only improved when the military was called on to fight its own communist insurrection occurring in the highlands of the Philippines against the Hukbalahap which were guerrilla fighters aligned with the Philippine Communist Party.

Hukbalahap controlled areas shaded in gray.

"As Poor As We Are"¦"
This communist insurgency in the Philippines was the deciding factor for the Filipino President Elpidio Quirino to deploy forces to Korea. President Quirino feared that if Korea fell to the North Koreans then the global communist movement would then be encouraged to aid the Hukbalahap guerrillas fighting to overthrow the national government of the Philippines. President Quirino decided the Philippines had to make a stand against global communist movement and Korea was going to be that place. Here is how President Quirino opened his address to the Filipino soldiers about to deploy to Korea:

"Poor as we are, this country is making a great sacrifice in sending you there, but every peso invested in you is a sound investment for the perpetuation of our liberty and freedom."

And poor they were because the Filipino government was nearly bankrupt at the time of this deployment due to the destruction of World War II as well as the continuing counterinsurgency struggle against the communist guerrillas in the highlands. Despite this the government was committed to deploying troops to Korea.

Lieutenant Colonel Mariano Azurin Parades the 10th BCT passed Filipino President Elpidio Quirino

The Deployment of the 10th BCT
The military unit that heard this speech before they deployed was the 10th Battalion Combat Team (BCT). The Philippine military rotated combat teams to Korea every year with the 10th BCT being the first unit deployed to the peninsula which subsequently saw the heaviest combat of all the PEFTOK units sent to Korea. The 10th BCT was deployed with three infantry companies, a motorized reconnaissance company that was equipped with light M24 Chaffee tanks, a armored company with no tanks, and its own internal artillery battalion. The Filipinos were promised Sherman tanks from the US, but never received them to field the armored company with. In total the regiment was assigned approximately 1,400 men. An American trained tank commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mariano Azurin was chosen to lead this first PEFTOK unit into a war that would have great ramifications for his country if it was not won.

The 10th BCT was without a doubt a well equipped unit, but the UN command foundly them unprepared for combat in Korea and the unit spent it first weeks in Korea conducting pre-combat training in the city of Miryang. In October 1950, the 10th BCT received their first combat mission and was sent to the village Waegwan, which is the modern day home to the US military installation Camp Carroll. At Waegwan the 10th BCT's reputation of being hardened anti-communist guerrilla fighters was put to the test. Throughout the hills in this area the Filipino soldiers worked with the US 25th Infantry Division to root out and destroy the remaining communists hiding in the hillsides.

Hunting Communist Guerrillas in the Hills of Korea
Before the Korean War South Korean communist guerrillas reinforced with North Korean infiltrators had tried to overthrow the ROK government and during the Korean War they were responsible for a number of attacks against the rear areas of American forces deployed to Korea. It was estimated that 35,000 communist guerrillas were operating in South Korea's countryside and ironically enough it was up to a US trained tank commander LTC Azurin to help do something about it. The 10th BCT launched continuous small five man patrols during the day and at night to intercept the guerrillas trying to launch ambushes against UN supply lines in their area. The teams were small enough to avoid detection and sneak up and ambush the small guerrilla cells operating in the hills.

It was during this anti-guerrilla operation the PEFTOK would experience their first casualty with Private Alipio Ceciliano losing his life in defense of the Republic of Korea. However, the operation around Waegwon was a success with the 10th BCT killing large numbers of guerrillas in the hills and keeping the UN supply lines to Seoul open. The UN military leadership would turn to the Lieutenant Colonel Azurin again to lead another anti-guerrilla movement further north.

Example of 10th BCT soldier at Korean War Memorial in Seoul.

In late October LTC Azurin received orders that his men were going to be shipped north to the city of Kaesong to root out guerrillas harassing UN supply lines between Kaesong and Pyongyang. UN forces had moved across the 38th parallel and into North Korea to destroy the last remnants of the North Korean army and needed secure supply lines to support the offensive. LTC Azurin and his men would cross the 38th parallel themselves on October 31, 1950. The Filipinos were transported north by truck to conduct their operations in conjunction with the 65th Infantry which was an infantry regiment from Puerto Rico commanded by Colonel William Harris. The Filipinos were assigned to the 65th Regiment because of the mistaken belief that Filipinos spoke Spanish like the Puerto Ricans. Despite initial communication problems the two units' leadership spoke enough English to coordinate operations between each other.

It was during this operation to secure the UN supply lines between Kaesong and Pyongyang that the Filipino battalion fought their first battle against a non-guerrilla unit. A battalion of North Korean soldiers ambushed the 10th BCT near the North Korean city of Muidong, but the hardened Filipino soldiers quickly counterattacked and killed 50 of the North Korean soldiers while only losing one Filipino soldier. Lieutenant Colonel Azurin continued his small team patrol tactics in this region to intercept guerrillas operating in the hills. Amazingly one of these small five man patrols was able to capture 77 North Korean soldiers that surrendered to them.

Relieving Colonel Azurin
It was during their anti-guerrilla campaign in North Korea that the bitter Korean winter hit the 10th BCT. The Filipino soldiers in the 10th BCT had never even seen snow before much less the extremely cold temperatures they found themselves in and were not properly equipped to deal with the cold. The 10th BCT was promised that they would receive cold weather gear from the American 24th ID regiment they found themselves working with in North Korea, but none arrived. Colonel Azurin fought bitterly with the American leadership to provide the clothing.

The 10th BCT would eventually receive their cold weather gear, but not before many Filipino soldiers received cold weather injuries and Colonel Azurin was relieved of his command at the request of the request of Colonel William Harris who accused Azurin of being, "much of a protester and not a doer". The fight over the cold weather gear was the tipping point to remove Azurin because Colonel Harris had also fought bitterly with Azurin over dividing the 10th BCT from one whole battalion to five separate companies to conduct separate guerrilla operations in five different North Korean towns. Azurin wanted to keep the battalion together so each company could support each other and he could better command and control them. All indications are that Colonel Azurin was a good man trying to do his best for his soldiers, but as fate would have it, it ended up being a good thing for the 10th BCT to have Azurin relieved. The man who hand picked by Colonel Harris to replace Lieutenant Colonel Mariano Azurin would go on to become a great leader and a legendary hero of the Philippine military during the Korean War. This man was Lieutenant Colonel Dionisio Ojeda.

Read more here... : Heroes of the Korean War: Lieutenant Colonel Dionisio Ojeda – Part 1 | ROK Drop

More story about Korean War Heroes...

The Heroes of the Korean War Archive | ROK Drop

Enjoy reading :)) :namaste:


New Member
Jan 24, 2013
Heroes of the Korean War: Lieutenant General Subayya Kadenera Thimayya | ROK Drop

The Korean War began when communist North Korean troops invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950. This war on the Korean peninsula would eventually draw in multiple United Nations countries to defend the South as well as the Chinese in defense of the North. The war would ultimately last for just over 3 bloody years when the armistice agreement was signed at Panmunjom between the combatants on July 27, 1953. However, something that few people realize is that the war could have likely ended in early 1952 if it wasn't for one issue that had the negotiating parties deeply divided; the repatriation of prisoners.

The peace talks at Panmunjom began on October 25, 1951 after the Chinese had launched their 2nd Spring Offensive in April of that year and were soundly defeated by the United Nations forces. That summer the Chinese had not been able to make any gains as the UN forces had hardened their defensive lines along the vicinity of the 38th parallel after the Chinese offensive. This caused the war to turn into a fight to hold strategic hill tops that would cost a huge amount of casualties for offensive forces to capture. So by that fall it was in each sides interest to enter into peace talks to end the war since both sides were not willing to accept the huge casualties it would take to try and win the war through military means.

Geoje-do Island POW Camp.
Determining the demarcation line between the two countries and the rules and regulations of the armistice was the easy part of the negotiations. However, what was not easy was how to handle the issue of prisoners of war that did not want to return to their home countries. At the time of the peace talks the United Nations forces held up to 170,000 communist prisoners at the Geoje Island POW camp. Of these prisoners tens of thousands of them were either former Chinese Nationalist soldiers or South Koreans that were forced to join the Communist ranks during the war. These prisoners as well as others that were convinced of the validity of the democratic side of the conflict did not want to be returned to China or North Korea. The United Nations side did not want to be in the position of having to forcibly repatriate these prisoners to the Communist side because morally this was not the right thing to do, but also it would have been political suicide for the leaders that approved it. You can read more about the Geoje POW camp at the below links:

Heroes of the Korean War: Brigadier General Haydon Boatner
Places In Korea: Geoje POW Camp
So the UN continued to negotiate with the Communists in order to get them to agree that prisoners should not be forcibly repatriated. Unfortunately this caused the Korean War to be extended for two more years largely over this issue. In 1952 as the Communist negotiators continued to demand that all the prisoners be sent back to North Korea and China , the Geoje Island POW camp uprising happened. The Communist POW's were able to forcibly detain the camp's commandant US Brigadier General Francis Dodd. The general was only released after the prisoners were able to get General Dodd to sign a statement saying that the US would stop torturing and abusing the prisoners. The US was not torturing the prisoners but the Communists were able to score a major propaganda victory with the statement.

At the armistice talks whenever the UN side claimed that some of the prisoners did not want to be repatriated, the communist negotiators would counter that the prisoners only say that because they are being inhumanely tortured on the island. Fortunately by June 1952 under the leadership of Brigadier General Haydon Boatner the uprising was put down, but the propaganda damage done to the UN was enough to damage the peace talks for the rest of the year. In fact it wasn't until March 1953 that a breakthrough was made in the armistice talks when the Communists agreed to a Red Cross sponsored idea to exchange injured and sick prisoners. The Communist side also went as far to say that the successful conclusion of the prisoner exchange would open the door to a wider agreement on the POW repatriation issue. The transfer of wounded and sick prisoners became known as Operation Little Switch and was executed between April 20 to May 3, 1953. Throughout the operation the Communists claimed that their prisoners were tortured and brainwashed, but ultimately it was completed successfully despite the usual Communist propaganda games. The Communists turned over 684 soldiers which included 149 Americans, 471 South Koreans, 32 British, 15 Turks, 6 Colombians, 5 Australians, 2 Canadians, and 1 prisoner each from the Philippines, South Africa, Greece, and the Netherlands. The UNC transferred over 1,030 Chinese and 5,194 North Koreans prisoners plus 446 civilians for a total of 6,670 people .

With the successful conclusion of Operation Little Switch the negotiations at Panmujom continued until a final armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. The armistice stipulated that a Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission would be formed to handle the transfer of prisoners between the combatants. The nations selected to form the NNRC was Czechoslovakia, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and India. It was agreed by the negotiators that the NNRC lead country would be India since they were tasked to provide a brigade of soldiers to provide security for the prisoner exchange. Not only would the Indians provide security, but they would also be responsible for carrying out the entire prisoner exchange which become known as Operation Big Switch. The operation would not be something as easy as ensuring prisoners were handed back to their home countries. Due to the repatriation issue it was agreed upon that all the prisoners would have the option of choosing which side they wanted to be repatriated to. However, the soldiers that did not want to be repatriated to their home country would have to wait 90 days in a holding camp located in the newly created Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) before being released in order to give them time to change their minds. The prisoner exchange was going to be a difficult mission for the Indians that had the attention of the entire world watching how it was carried out. The Indian government wanted to make sure that they had the best person possible in charge of such a sensitive mission and the person they turned to was Lieutenant General Subayya Kadenera Thimayya.

LTG Thimayya Before the Korean War
Subayya Kadenera Thimayya who was called "Timmy" by his British colleagues, was born March 30, 1906 in the city of Madikeri in the district of Kodagu in India. He was the son of a wealthy farmer who's family had a long line of military service. Thimayya would eventually continue this tradition of military service, but not before beginning at the age of 8 to attend private foreign run schools. After his schooling was completed, in 1922 at the age of 16 he enrolled into the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College. After graduation Thimayya was one of six Indian cadets chosen to attend the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Thimayya graduated from Sandhurst in 1926 and received a commission into the British Indian Army. His older and younger brothers would also go on to join the Indian Army as well.

One of his assignments during his early military career was with the Scottish 2nd Highland Infantry Regiment stationed in Baghdad, Iraq. He achieved some acclaim when he led an operation into King Feisel's palace to rescue a group of women that were supposedly being victimized within the palace. He would then go on in 1930 to spend a few years in the Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province in Pakistan battling the Pashtun tribes that continue to plague the area to this day.

General Thimayya would then go on to distinguish himself during World War II. During the war India was still part of the British empire and General Thimayya was part of the British colonial military in India battling the Japanese. During the war General Thimayya had the distinction of being the only Indian to ever command a British combat brigade as part of the British offensive into Japanese occupied Burma that became known as the Battle of the Arafan. He received the British Distinguished Service Order for his service for the British military during World War II. At the end of the war General Thimayya would then go on to be an Indian signatory to the Japanese surrender at Singapore

After World War II, India was divided when the British carved out Pakistan as its own country and granted India its independence. However, this division led to new fighting that General Thimayya took part in as he led Indian military forces in defeating its Pakistani rivals and holding Kashmir as part of India during the first Kargil War of 1948.

The Indian Military During the Korean War
After the Korean War started in June 1950 the Indians were not eager to get involved in another shooting war when they were already facing hostilities at home from Pakistan as well as border disputes with China. The Indians however wanted to show support for the new United Nations and decided on deploying medical support personnel only to support the international effort in Korea. The Indians deployed the 60th Parachute Field Ambulance unit that consisted of 627 medical personnel under the command of Lieutenant Colonel A.G. Rangaraj.

Indian Army medical troops during the Korean War. Picture via the Chosun Ilbo.
The unit arrived in Pyongyang on December 4, 1950, just in time to take part in 8th Army's withdrawal out of North Korea. On December 14, 1950, it formally became the medical evacuation unit for the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade (later redesignated the 28th British Commonwealth Brigade.) It supported this unit throughout the war and became well known for the quality medical care they provided to the British Commonwealth Brigade.

Indian Army medical unit encampment during the Korean War. Picture via the Chosun Ilbo.
However, with the signing of the armistice agreement the Indians were actually going to deploy a far larger 5,000 man combat brigade to the peninsula than what they had in country during the actual war. This brigade sized element was called the Custodian Force of India (CFI) and by assigning Lieutenant General Thimayya to lead this force India was clearly signaling to both the UN and the Communists that they were sending their best to execute this mission. General Thimayya was under strict orders from the Indian government to be impartial during all his dealings as the head of the NNRC which caused accusations from both sides that he was bias. This perception of bias immediately caused problems for General Thimayya with the ROK government. The South Korean President Syngman Rhee who was opposed to the armistice, forbid the Indian troops from landing in South Korea. Thus the United Nations Command (UNC) had to coordinate to fly the Indian soldiers assigned to the DMZ by helicopter which at the time was the largest helicopter airlift operation in history. The Indians named the camp they stayed at in the DMZ, Camp Nagar which meant "Indian City". The other camp that housed the soldiers from the other four NNRC countries was called Shanti Nagar which meant City of Peace".

In this map of the repatriation camps notice that the southern camp the Indians maintained was much larger than the northern camp because of the difference in POW's held between the two sides. Map via the Korean War Educator.
With the soldiers and logistics in place, General Thimayya set forth to accomplish his mission of repatriating the prisoners. Operation Big Switch began on August 5, 1953 and this would be the easiest part of the operation. The UNC held 132,000 prisoners while the Communists held 12,773 prisoners. All of these prisoners had the choice of whether or not they wanted to be repatriated. The vast majority of prisoners wanted to return home and each side had 60 days to hand the prisoners over. The UNC handed over 75,823 (70,183 North Koreans and 5,640 Chinese) while the Communists handed over 12,773 prisoners. (7,862 South Koreans, 3,597 Americans, 945 British, 229 Turks, 40 Filipinos, 30 Canadians, 22 Colombians, 21 Australians, 12 Frenchmen, 8 South Africans, 2 Greeks, 2 Dutch, and 1 prisoner each from Belgium, New Zealand, and Japan).

All the remaining UNC prisoners were then handed over to the NNRC and housed in two camps within the DMZ in October 1953. At the camps the prisoners would be held for 90 days where each side would be able to send representatives to persuade the prisoners to return home. The UNC held 22,604 prisoners in the camp being guarded by the Indians. Most of these prisoners were former Chinese Nationalist soldiers who wanted to be repatriated to Taiwan. The Chinese had until December 23, 1953 to try and convince these prisoners to return home. The first day of trying to convince Chinese prisoners to return to China was held on October 15, 1953. The Chinese efforts were not successful since they were only able to get 10 prisoners to change their minds. The next day the Chinese requested a thousand Koreans to talk to, but the Indians could not get any Koreans to agree to meet with the Chinese representatives.

Picture of what appears to be Chinese POW's. You can see more pictures from the photographer Jerry Rosenstein at this link.
The next day the Chinese wanted another 1,000 Chinese, but the Indians could only get 430 to attend. The Chinese could see they were having little success in their efforts to change the minds of the prisoners and began a new tactic of demanding that the Indians force the prisoners to attend the meetings. The next day the Chinese also demanded that the Koreans be forced to attend the meetings as well. The demands were likely a tactic by the Chinese to get the Indians to use force to move the prisoners which could have turned into a riot that may have led to the death of Korean prisoners. If this happened the South Korean government may have turned on the Indians.

Indian Army soldier responsible for guarding North Korean POW's. Picture via the Korean War Educator.
The controversy lasted for two weeks until General Thimayya refused their demands to force the prisoners to attend the meetings. However, General Thimayya was also clever enough to get the Korean and Chinese prisoners to voluntarily agree to attend the meetings in order to keep the perception of Indian impartiality and to allow the Chinese to save face. However, that is not what happened as the Chinese over the next few days were only able to get a few more of the prisoners to change their minds. The Chinese had hoped to provoke discord between the UN countries with their demands as well as make the UN look like obstructionists by not having the prisoners attend the meetings and instead they ended up losing face by only being able to persuade a few of the thousands of POW's to return to their home countries.

What appears to be an American prisoner is talked to by a South Korean delegate to return to the United States while watched by Indian troops. Picture via the Chosun Ilbo.
Interestingly enough during this timeframe the Indians took possession of the only American POW to change his mind; on October 21, 1953 Corporal Edward S. Dickenson was handed over to the Indians who proceeded to hand him over to the US military. The only other UNC prisoners who changed their minds were seven ROK POW's. Four of these prisoners were a husband and wife with two small children who agreed to be repatriated on November 16, 1953. When the UNC began their attempts to convince Communist held prisoners to return to their home countries they held brief to the point speeches in order to avoid allowing the prisoners to give propaganda speeches back at the presenters. The UNC believed that the Communists only brought hardcore communists to the northern camp that could not be convinced to go back to their home countries. The remaining POW's were held in North Korea and the ROK Ministry of Defense has estimated that up 20,000 South Korean prisoners were not given the option of repatriation by the Communists. The missing POW's continues to be an issue even today where the ROK government has made demands that the North Koreans return former POW's forcibly held in North Korea. Because of the shortness of the speeches and not giving the prisoners the opportunity to make propaganda speeches the Chinese had the prisoners refuse to attend any more meetings.

General Thimayya meets with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. Picture from Frontline.
When the December 23, deadline passed, of the 22,604 prisoners the UNC held, only 137 had their minds changed. Over 22,000 Communist forces soldiers wanted to voluntarily leave their home countries while the Chinese were only able to get 359 UNC prisoners to agree to stay in either China or North Korea (335 Koreans, 23 Americans, and 1 Briton). The large discrepancy of soldiers who did not want to return to their homelands was a huge propaganda blow to the Communist forces. The Chinese had hoped to embarrass the UNC by getting more prisoners to return home and they even stacked the deck by only bringing hard core communists to the repatriation camp. Despite this only 1.14% or the UNC's prisoners decided to change their minds and return to their home countries while 2.23% of the 359 Communist held prisoners changed their minds.

Chart from "The Korean War, Volume 3"³ by the Korea Institute of Military History.
Once the exchange was complete General Thimayya then had to hold the remaining prisoners for another 30 days by agreement. On January 18, 1954 General Thimayya notified the UNC and the Communists that the remaining prisoners were ready to be turned over to the countries they wanted to be repatriated to. On January 23, 1954 the remaining prisoners officially became civilians and a reception was held in South Korea to honor the freed anti-communist prisoners that was attended by officials from the ROK, Taiwan, and the UNC. After the ceremony the Chinese prisoners were loaded up into boats and transported to Taiwan under the guard of the 4th Regiment of the 3rd US Marine Division. Upon arrival in Taiwan the anti-communists prisoners were treated as national heroes.

Chinese Nationalists soldiers waving Republic of China flags and holding a picture of Chang Kai-shek begin the long journey to Taiwan. You can see more pictures from the photographer Jerry Rosenstein at this link.
Post-Korean War Service
After the Korean War General Thimayya would later go on to be the Chief of Staff of the Indian military from 1957-1961. He went into retirement but volunteered for UN service in 1964 when the organization needed an impartial leader to command UN troops operating on Cyprus. Due to his reputation of impartiality from his Korean War service General Thimayya was a logical choice. He once again showed himself to be an impartial and competent leader during his time in Cyprus. However, the work must have took its tool on the General as he would die of a massive heart attack on December 17, 1965 at the age of 59. Today General Thimayya is widely thought of as an Indian military hero, but his competent handling of the UNRC mission clearly makes him a Hero of the Korean War as well.

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Tharki regiment
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Oct 3, 2009
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The MASH Heros You've Never Heard Of

Is there anyone, anywhere who hasn't heard of MASH? When its TV run ended in 1983, the final show was the most- watched television episode in history. But there's a remarkable MASH unit hardly anyone here knows of. What a pity. Their raw courage is right out of the most harrowing war movie. Except that the heros in this real- life saga never came within a million miles of Hollywood. They were Indians "¦ as in, India. They were members of the 60th Para Field Ambulance "¦ medics who were also parachutists, who jumped into combat alongside the fighting infantry. These MASH men of the 60th were not the boozy, skirt-chasing, wise- cracking cynics of the TV show. When the Korean War broke out, recently-independent India opted not to send combat forces, but instead would contribute a crack medical team "¦ the 60th Para, which had served in Burma against the Japanese, It was commanded by a veteran, Lieut- Col A.G. Rangaraj, reputedly the first member of the Indian army to earn his parachutists wings, earlier in World War 2. (The photos below are from India's official account of the 60th's Korean War experiences).

60th Para CO, Lt-Col A.G. Rangaraj
The 60th Para arrived in Korea in Nov, 1950, composed of 346 men, including four combat surgeons, two anaesthesiologists and a dentist. When the Chinese swarmed through UN lines in November 1950, the 60th had to evacuate its position. But they had no transport and were reluctant to abandon their medical equipment.

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