----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 12:43
Subject: Inchon Invasion
Ed - in response to your question about
Inchon, I submit the following comments:
I've thought a lot about the Inchon Invasion.
Beyond its historic and military significance are the stories that reflect on
the need for preparedness.
The US Navy didn't have the ships and crews
necessary to pull off the invasion without a Herculean effort. Needed
minesweepers were few and far between - scattered all over the Pacific. LSTs
were almost non-available. In very short order, ships were pulled into Japan,
fixed and refurbished and crewed with men wherever they could be found. Many
of these sailors were green and untrained.
My ship, LST-799 had been in the hands of the
SCAJAP program (on loan to Japan) since the end of WWII, and was a physical
and mechanical mess. It lacked critical equipment routine and major
maintenance, and a first-class cleaning. A skipper, officers and crew were
pulled into service from as far away and the states in a matter of a couple of
weeks. With no assurance the landing could even be accomplished under the
extreme hydrological conditions that prevailed at Inchon, the 799 and a hearty
group of other LSTs, some crewed by Japanese, landed and retracted over and
over again until their part of the job was done - all the while under
mortar and small arms fire from the beach.
The daring of Navy Lieutenant, Eugene Clark, is a
story in itself. He, along with two South Korean naval officers, infiltrated
the mouth of Inchon Harbor several weeks before the invasion and secured vital
information about mining that gave US minesweepers the coordinates they needed
to clear the landing approaches.
I've written extensively about the Inchon
Invasion in my new book, One Ship, Two Wars. Doing the background
research and interviewing a number of men who were there has been tremendously
The invasion was undertaken at great risk, but it
proved to be a brilliant military move.