MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- In 1950, U.S. President Harry S. Truman authorized a strategic yet dangerous amphibious assault. U.S. forces navigated the tidal flats of northern Inchon's Red Beach surprising an invading North Korean Army and vaulting themselves into the Korean War.?
Camp Pendleton hosted the 62nd Memorial Anniversary of the Korean War at the Pacific Views Event Center to honor the veterans?who fought during the Landing on Inchon, in the streets of Seoul and in the northern mountains near the Chosin Reservoir, Sept. 22.
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when 90,000 North Korean troops advanced across the 38th Parallel, forcing the Republic of Korea's forces to retreat. Three days later, forces from the United States and United Nations entered the conflict against the North Korean Army.
"Our gathering here today is for a memorial and remembrance of the passing of Col. William E. Barber chapter members who took part in that famous battle, Chosin Reservoir, during November (and) December, 1950," said Bob Licker, the reunion coordinator and national president of The Chosin Few Association.
By the end of the war, approximately 150,000 troops from South Korea, the U.S. and the U.N. were killed and more than one million South Korean civilian lives were taken.
"We get together each year to remember the Marines that have fought and died in the Korean War, since the Korean War, those who were (prisoners of war) and those who are now considered missing in action," said Licker. "We keep their memory alive because ?once a Marine, always a Marine? even in the hereafter."
Each Korean War veteran who passed away during the past year was individually mentioned and honored with a moment of silence and a toll of a remembrance bell.
"The Korean War veterans present today all contributed to the success of the Marine Corps during that conflict and added another chapter in the rich history of the U.S. Marine Corps," said Col. Paul A. Miller, the assistant chief of staff with G-6, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
During the ceremony a 21-gun salute from five 105mm Howitzers rang out; in some ways, bringing veterans right back to those famous Korean battles.
These howitzers saved many lives by pushing back enemy assaults, Licker said.
"None of the men knew that the Howitzers were going to do the salute," said Licker. "They were as proud as can be to see that the "105s" are still out there and are still firing, because those were the ones that supported us."
With a peace treaty never being signed by the North and South Korean nations, many look at the war as an inane conflict.
"We won that war," said Sgt. Maj. (retired) Mike "Iron Mike" Mervosh. "Thinking back on it, South Korea is free today and that proves that we didn't fight in vain."