A TALE OF TWO HILLS: THE MYTH AND REALITY OF THE BATTLE OF BAYONET HILL

Units have ignored clear evidence that Bayonet Hill actually took place more than a dozen miles away On February 8th, 2019, the Eighth U.S. Army Facebook page celebrated the previous day’s anniversary of the Battle of Bayonet Hill. Every year, army units stationed at Osan Air Base (AB) celebrate what historian S.L.A. Marshall called in […]

BEYOND TASK FORCE SMITH: ‘NATIONAL’ UNPREPAREDNESS FOR WAR IN KOREA

In the States, we hadn’t had tanks coming off the assembly line in months In 1992, as calls for the post-Cold War peace dividend grew louder, then-Chief of Staff of the Army General Gordon Sullivan wrote a provocative essay in ARMY Magazine as a clarion call for the nation to sustain vigilance and military preparedness […]

COOK’S ‘MIDNIGHT DRAWINGS’ AND THEIR HAUNTING VIEWS OF WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)

[COOK SAID,] ‘These faces. I didn’t get to know all their names. They joined my platoon, and many of them were dead by morning.’ For forty-six years after the Korean War, veteran John A. Cook would be haunted by the memories of fighting and of his fellow soldiers being killed or wounded. What is now […]

RIDGWAY’S MEMO: “WHY WE ARE HERE” (DUSTY SHELVES)

Lieutenant General Matthew B. Ridgway assumed command of Eighth U.S. Army after it had been driven south in the early phases of the Korean War. Faced with a broken and dispirited force, Ridgway had to turn the situation around quickly. His memorandum of January 1951, “Why We Are Here,” was a message to the troops about what was at stake, and embodied his belief in the cause and faith in the fighting spirit of the force. In six months, a rejuvenated Eighth U.S. Army had driven the Chinese north of the 38th parallel. It is one of the great stories of U.S. military history.

This inaugural episode of the Dusty Shelves series, Army historian Con Crane and War Room podcast editor Jacqueline E. Whitt present the memorandum and the story of Lieutenant General Ridgway. The memorandum, displayed and transcribed below, comes from the collection of Ridgway’s papers available at the Army Heritage and Education Center.