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50 years ago this week, Feb. 14-20
50 years ago this week, Feb. 14-20
(EXCERPT) U.S. plans to boost ROK Army include officer training, by
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 12, 2002) - A total of 148 South
Korean officers began training at Fort Benning, Ga., 50 years ago as
part of a U.S. plan to strengthen the ROK Army and form 10 new
Feb. 14, 1952 -- The 42nd Medal of Honor earned in the Korean War is
presented to Cpl. Rodolfo P. Hernandez, Fowler, Calif. The airborne
soldier was able to hold off an enemy attack after being wounded on
May 31, 1951. President Harry Truman criticizes the Minneapolis
Morning Tribune for revealing that the government has printed up
12,000 maps pinpointing the locations of atomic sites, and how easily
a map can be obtained. At a press conference in Washington, Truman
snaps at a reporter for asking about the maps. The president says they
were only printed for pilots so they could avoid those areas. Feb.
14-20 -- Chinese Premier Chou En-Lai says in Peking that the U.S. is
"shamelessly delaying" a cease-fire in Korea to continue the "tense
situation" while it prepares for a "new aggressive war." On Feb. 16
North Korean Maj. Gen. Nam Il, communist chief delegate to Panmunjom,
proposes that a political conference be held within three months of
the cease-fire. The question of withdrawal of foreign troops from
Korea would be one of the topics. Adm. C. Turner Joy, U.N. chief
delegate, accepts the proposal on Feb. 19. On Feb. 17, in the staff
officers' panel trying to iron out peacekeeping issues, the reds
nominate Russia as the third country to serve as a "neutral" member of
the peace enforcement commission. The argument is still going on at
the end of the week. U.N. staff officers tell the reds they have 40
other countries from which to choose; Russia is unacceptable. American
tanks from IX Corps strike Kumsong, inflict damage and withdraw. U.N.
pilots are running into more red fighter aircraft. In the week
beginning Feb. 15, they encounter about 300 MiG-15s. Allied fighters
report shooting down 10 enemy planes. On Feb. 16, the U.S. Navy begins
its second year of blockading the North Korean port of Wonsan by
shelling the city. On Feb. 20, 148 South Korean officers are reported
to be at Fort Benning, Ga., to attend a 20-week U.S. Army officer
course. The ROK officers will be trained as instructors to form the
nucleus of their country's army officer training. It is part of an
effort to strengthen the ROK Army so it will be able to defend itself
against North Korea. Professional leadership has been one of the
critical drawbacks to the ROK Army, American commanders feel.
Untrained officers have been blamed for the inability of the South
Koreans to withstand communist attacks in the enemy offenses so far.
Gen. Matthew Ridgway, U.N. supreme commander, has convinced the U.S.
political and military leadership that forming 10 ROK divisions of
250,000 men is about all the U.S. can support. The South Korean
economy is broken, and the U.S. will have to supply uniforms, weapons
and supplies to field the divisions. At the same time, the U.S. will
supply the same materiel to the new Japanese Self-Defense Force.
However, Gen. James Van Fleet, Eighth Army commander, favors a ROK
Army of 20 divisions.
Feb. 15 -- Nine soldiers are killed and 173 are injured in accidents
during Operation Snowfall, a training exercise at Camp Drum, N.Y. The
exercise lasted for six weeks and involved 33,000 soldiers.
Feb. 16 -- The House Un-American Activities Committee delivers a
report to Congress urging the death penalty for communists caught
spying in the United States during peacetime. The report blasts
Hollywood for being lenient on communists in the movie industry. It
said it uncovered 300 reds in Hollywood, which is their biggest source
of money. These moves are to reportedly to "stem Soviet espionage."
The report warns the television industry that it could be the next
target of communist spies. Feb. 18 -- President Truman asks Congress
for more than $360 million to pay the federal employees' pay hike that
Congress voted in October. The Defense Department announces it and the
Atomic Energy Commission will conduct a new series of atomic tests
sometime this year at Eniwetok Island in the Pacific Ocean. ` DoD also
announces that 19,000 men will be drafted in April. The Army will
receive 15,000 and the Marine Corps 4,000. Feb. 20 -- The weekly
report of American casualties in Korea is at 105,841, with 16,427
The American War Library