Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any
price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe,
to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
This much we pledge - and more. To those
old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty
of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of
Divided, there is little we can do - for we
dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder." -PRES. JOHN F. KENNEDY,
The Capitol, Washington, DC, Jan. 20, 1961
(exerpted from his Inaugural Speech)
Forty-three SEALs were killed in
action in Vietnam, but none were captured or went missing. Dockery
attempts to cover all this ground, managing to touch on ...
HERE on USNavy SEALs. good reading. muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_
in the early years of the
birth of the "BUD." Officers wore a Gold color
version in UDT. IF you wanna buy one go
HERE! the NAVYSEALS.com Store. tell them
Doc Rio sent you for you 00% discount.
A large collection of SEAL photos & articles from Newspapers,
and from the men themselves also.
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As one, ALL give a forceful voice to people rarely heard.
It was Bob "Eagle"
Gallagher , I and others who got wounded in the wargames 'nam,
we each got MedEvac helicopter rides into DONG TAM"s
U.S.Army's MASH hospital. Dong Tam was a
few miles from MyTho where we were living in the Hotel Carter
Billet. I was not seriously wounded, so I wanted to go home.
Lt. Pat Patterson (SEAL) visited me but he would not help me escape so
the next day I stole some clothing from their Medical Officers cloths
line, and I hitched hiked a ride to MyTho. I could not find
shoes that fit me so I wore hospital slippers. DaiWee Pete
Peterson(SEAL) said that he would keep me out of trouble and I
responded, "what can they do, sendme to Vietnam?"
Good old days when SEALs were the "Beer/Whiskey Generation."
"Make Love and War!"
Korean War vets missing from popular culture: America's prime transmitter
of cultural "values" has ignored the 1.8 million Americans who
served in the 1950-53 war even during the 50th anniversary years.(portrayal of
Korean War veterans in literature, film, television, media )
| From: VFW Magazine | Date: August 1, 2003 | Author: Van Ells, Mark D.
The Korean War was a crucial
moment in American history. When the United States sent troops to stop
Communist North Korea's invasion of South Korea in June 1950, it signaled the
nation's determination to check the spread of communism. It was the first war
fought under the authority of the United Nations. American troops remain in
But sandwiched between the titanic scope of World War II and the vitriolic
debate over Vietnam, the Korean War never really captured the public
imagination. The year 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of the armistice ending
the fighting in Korea. In that half century, the image of the Korean War
veteran at the movies and on television remains vague, imprecise and
influenced by the experiences of other wars. The Korean War is the
"Forgotten War" in popular culture, too.
Korean War films of the 1950s and early 1960s were much like the scores of
WWII movies popular at the time, but modified to meet the realities of Korea.
The typical "melting pot" platoon, for example, now included black
Americans and those of Japanese ancestry, acknowledging the racial integration
of the armed forces.
New technologies also made appearances, such as helicopters in Battle
Taxi (1955) and jet aircraft in films like Sabre Jet
(1953), Jet Attack (1958) and most notably The
Bridges of Toko-Ri (1954) based on the novel by James Michener.
In reality, the Korean War differed from WWII in many respects. For one, it
was not nearly as large. The war directly involved 1.8 million Americans, as
opposed to the 16 million who served in WWII. Indeed, Korea was often referred
to as a "police action" and not a war at all. Korea was a remote
country unknown to most Americans.
Although most Americans accepted the logic of Cold War containment, the
primary adversary in their minds was the Soviet Union; Korea seemed to be
merely a sideshow or prelude to a larger war. Its ambiguous conclusion--a
cease-fire remarkably close to the prewar boundaries--also lacked the
decisiveness of WWII. To Americans, the Korean War was an uncertain and
Hollywood Takes the Dark Side
Hollywood dealt with the ambiguities of the war by sidestepping them or
ignoring them altogether. Korean War films tended to avoid the war's "big
picture" and focused instead on small groups of fighting men--often lost
or isolated units--in films such as Fixed Bayonets
(1951), Combat Squad (1953) and Hold Back
the Night (1956).
In Pork Chop Hill (1959), Gregory Peck stars as a junior
officer fighting the military bureaucracy, as well as the Communists, in a
seemingly meaningless battle late in the war. During the battle one young
officer asks pointedly, "Is this hill worth it?" The men agree that
it is, but only because they had fought so hard to take it, and not for any
Many Korean War films fall into the film-noir style that was popular after
WWII. Film-noir is characterized by dark psychological dramas in which the
motives and morals of the protagonists are unclear and troubling. These films
often take place in exotic settings, and contain shadowy lighting and
uncomfortable camera angles that elicit feelings of anxiety, loneliness and
In the 1951 film The Steel Helmet, for example, Gene
Evans stars as Sgt. Zach, a battle-hardened WWII "retread" who teams
up with some inexperienced soldiers to establish an observation post in a
Buddhist temple. But beneath Zach's tough-as-nails exterior is a softhearted
man who befriends a Korean boy, removes his helmet before a gigantic statue of
Buddha and orders that the temple not be damaged.
In the midst of battle, Zach breaks down, flashing back to D-Day. Zach is
bitterly critical of a green lieutenant. When the lieutenant is killed, Zach
mournfully places his lucky steel helmet (it has stopped a bullet in a
previous engagement) on his grave.
The Korean War also took place at a time when fears of disloyalty and domestic
subversion had reached hysterical proportions. The war fueled such fears.
During the war, the Communists beat and tortured American POWs, and then
pressured them to sign "confessions" denouncing the American cause.
Only a small fraction of POWs "confessed," but news reports and
political opportunists seemed to suggest that Korean War soldiers routinely
collaborated with the Communists, perhaps contributing to the war's uncertain
The concern that Korean War veterans might have been "brainwashed"
by the Communists was the subject of several films, most notably The
Manchurian Candidate (1962). Frank Sinatra plays Capt. Marco, a Korean
War officer who leads a patrol and is taken prisoner. The Communists brainwash
Marco and his men, erasing any memory of their captivity. One of the men,
Staff Sgt. Shaw (Lawrence Harvey), is programmed to carry out political
assassinations back home. Marco unravels the plot after the true nature of his
captivity comes back in his dreams.
The Manchurian Candidate has been acclaimed as one of the best political
thrillers ever made. However, Korean War veterans have charged that the film
only reinforced the erroneous public notion that Korean War veterans were
collaborators. Portrayals of the war's veterans as weak-minded and
psychologically unbalanced came to symbolize the war for many Americans and
anticipated public perceptions of Vietnam veterans.
Influence of M*A*S*H
The Vietnam War also has shaped popular images of the Korean War. The 1970
comedy classic M*A*S*H focused on the exploits of undisciplined Army surgeons
near the front lines. Though set in Korea, the language and looks of the
hospital staff are reminiscent of Vietnam. In fact, the film is an
impressionistic journey into the behavior of men and women under the unusual
circumstances of war. It reflected the growing public cynicism about military
authority in the Vietnam years.
The television program M*A*S*H, which aired from 1972 to
1983, was the most extensive look at the Korean War in American popular
culture. The TV show did a better job of portraying the war than the film. For
example, several episodes dealt with issues like McCarthyism and fears of
However, most of the program's storylines could have come from the Vietnam
War, or from any war--boredom punctuated by intense activity, the tragic tales
of the wounded, the absurdities of bureaucracy, the gulf between soldiers and
civilians. Anyone who has ever been associated with the military can
appreciate the humor of M*A*S*H. But once again, the audience learns precious
little about the Korean War.
In the decades since Vietnam, the American entertainment industry has devoted
considerable time and money to portrayals of war. As a nation, we have
celebrated the 50th anniversary of WWII (Saving Private Ryan, Band of
Brothers) and reexamined our painful experience in Vietnam (most recently, We
Were Soldiers) on both the big and small screens. Korea is once again missing
Since Vietnam, Hollywood has released no more than a dozen films related to
the Korean War. In some films, like MacArthur (1977) and
For the Boys (1991), Korea is just one of many conflicts
depicted. Inchon (1981), a portrayal of the brilliant
1950 amphibious invasion, was a box office flop and labeled by one critic
"quite possibly the worst movie ever made." With no clear public
images of the Korean War, both Hollywood and the American public barely
The lack of public recognition for their sacrifices has rankled many Korean
War veterans. "I know teachers who never knew there was a Korean
War," complained one Missouri veteran. As the nation marks the Korean
War's 50th anniversary, Hollywood continues to churn out movies about WWII and
Vietnam. Perhaps one day the Korean War will be the subject of an insightful,
widely circulated film that does justice to the significance of the conflict
and to those who served in it. As one veteran from Florida noted, "It's
nice to be remembered."
MARK D. VAN ELLS, author of To Hear Only Thunder Again, is an assistant
history professor at Queensborough Community College in Bayside, N.Y.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States