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Tag: Korea

It’s why I do what I do

Today’s blog post in honor of Memorial Day comes from Michael Pierce, preservation technician at the National Archives at Saint Louis.

It’s called “the Forgotten War.” But like any conflict, the Korean War is always remembered by the men and women who fought in it, and by their families.

The Preservation Lab at St. Louis occasionally get requests from JPAC (the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command) for information from records of men who went missing in Korea and other places. Our lab deals primarily with records that were damaged in the 1973 fire at our old facility in St. Louis. Millions of Official Military Personnel Files from the Army and Air Force were destroyed, or heavily damaged, by fire, smoke, and water.

Sometimes, the requested record is part of that registry. We clean the record, make copies of the necessary documents, and send them on. Normally, we don’t hear anything about the results of our efforts.

I’m always telling my fellow technicians that we’re the “unsung heroes” of the National Archives at Saint Louis. Everyone else gets the accolades and the thank-you letters, while we work in the background, quietly doing our little bit, then moving along to the next file.

However, Scott Levins, the Director of the National Personnel Records Center, recently received a letter of thanks from the folks at JPAC, mentioning the names … [ Read all ]

Korean War exhibit in Seoul features National Archives images

When Harry S. Truman Library Director Mike Devine flew to Seoul, South Korea, the last thing he expected to see was an enormous outdoor exhibit featuring photos from the holdings of the National Archives.

“In the last decade or so, we’ve had quite a number of researchers from Korea to the Truman Library to copy thousands and thousands of images. Still, I was surprised to see this in this big outdoor exhibit,” Devine said. “As I got closer, I was like, ‘Hey! That’s our stuff!’”

The outdoor exhibit was not co-sponsored by the National Archives but was the work of a private group. It showed the United States and United Nations support for the Republic of Korea in the aftermath of the North Korean invasion in June of 1951. The exhibit features more than 150 images from the Truman Library and other National Archives facilities.

The exhibit is on Seoul’s main thoroughfare in the city’s governmental center. Also displayed are the flags of the 67 nations that supported the people of Korea during the 1950–53 war and its immediate aftermath. It was sponsored by World Peace and Freedom United and is intended to provide young Koreans with a better appreciation for the significant international support that brought about the survival and development of the Republic of Korea.

“I wasn’t looking for this exhibit. It was just something I came across,” Devine said. … [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest

Since this week’s photo featured President Harry S. Truman, we turned to Tammy Kelly, an archivist at the Truman Library, to pick our winner for the photo contest. She has firsthand knowledge of this photo since she is the one who cataloged the doll into the Truman Library’s computerized system earlier this summer.

Tammy picked John W.’s quote as one that tickled her funny bone. Congratulations, John W.! Check your e-mail for a code for 15% off in the eStore.

The original caption for the photo is “Photograph of President Truman in the Oval Office, receiving a doll from Dr. Helen Kim, a Korean educator, as Dr. John Myun Chang, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States, and Dr. Frederick Brown Harris, Chaplain of the Senate, look on. 05/08/1951″ (ARC 200314; Harry S. Truman Library). Tammy added that while they do not have much information about the doll itself, she could tell us that the doll is wearing a dark red skirt, and the dress features brightly striped sleeves.

Dolls, puppets, and office politics aside, this week’s photo takes us back to nature. Put your best captions in the comment box below!

[ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest

After much head scratching and sniffing—I mean, thinking—over which caption to choose (Khrushchev? Nipper? Kodak?) we decided to ask for help. We put in a request for assistance from Miriam Nisbet, who is the Director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). When she isn’t sorting out FOIA requests, she’s working with guide dogs, so we knew she could help us find the right caption.

Congratulations to Peter! Miriam said this one made her laugh out loud. Check your e-mail for a code for 15% off in the eStore.

While Peter’s caption reminds of the dangers of using social media, this record is all about the dangers of spying! The original caption reads “An unabashed Korean puppy holds his ground in an ‘eye to eye’ encounter with a huge Fifth Air Force aerial camera, one of the ‘Eyes of the Far East Air Forces’. The camera is an Air Force K-19B used by night-flying RB-26 aircraft of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing to photograph enemy airfields, railroad marshalling yards, bridges, supply dumps and troop movements., ca. 06/1951″ (ARC 542230).

This week’s photo features something  from Korea as well—put your cleverest caption in the comments below.… [ Read all ]

The Beginning of the End: MacArthur in Korea

It was 61 years ago today that General Douglas MacArthur was named commander of United Nations forces in Korea. The final command in an illustrious career, MacArthur’s tenure in Korea led to a controversial feud with President Harry Truman and ultimately his dismissal.

The Korean War began on the morning of June 25, 1950, when troops from communist North Korea crossed the 38th parallel and attacked the Republic of Korea. Within hours the United Nations Security Council convened to adopt Resolution 82, which called for the withdrawal of all North Korean forces. When no withdrawal occurred, the UN passed a subsequent resolution asking member nations to provide military assistance for the removal of all aggressive forces below the 38th parallel.

Since the United States military was leading the aid effort, the United Nations authorized the American government to select the commander-in-chief of UN forces. The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously proposed that General MacArthur lead the coalition.

By early September, MacArthur’s forces had pushed most of the North Korean troops back beyond the 38th parallel. Filled with confidence after a major tactical victory at Inchon, MacArthur lobbied to push up into North Korea and crush further aggression. This request, however, made many inside the Truman administration wary.

President Truman and his advisers believed that since North Korea shared its northern border with China, an aggressive … [ Read all ]