Road to Suwon

Military Experience & the Arts

from We Were Beautiful Once: Chapters from a Cold War

by Joe Carvalko

Battle of Osan MapON JUNE 25, 1950, IT RAINED HARD ALONG the invisible line separating the two Koreas.  Sometime in the early morning, rumors flooded Seoul that the North Korean People’s Army (NKPA), had crossed the 38th parallel.  Three days later, the NKPA stormed into the capital killing, wounding and capturing thousands.  Taken by surprise, the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) government based in Seoul set up operations twenty miles south, in Suwon.  President Truman ordered troops flown into the country, in what he described as a police action—giving the impression he was sending forces in for crowd control.  Less concerned with how it played at home, General Douglas MacArthur ordered the 1st Battalion, 21st Regiment, 24th Infantry Division to Suwon, to hold the line of advancing NKPA.  Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Brad Babcock, a contingent of four…

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