ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on November 24th, 2011 at 6:58 am

What Thanksgiving Was Like During the Korean War

» by in: Korean War

In honor of Thanksgiving today I recommend everyone who is celebrating the holiday to take a second and give thanks to all the US and allied personnel thought fought in the Korean War.  Here is an excerpt from Max Hastings book, “The Korean War” that shows what Thanksgiving was like exactly 61 years ago from today:

Chow line for Thanksgiving dinner of 1st SigBn at Hamhung, Korea.

November 24th was Thanksgiving Day – bleak and blustery.  Immense logistic efforts had been made to ensure that the men of the 8th Army enjoyed their turkey dinner.  By track and even by airdrop, the traditional Thanksgiving trimmings were shipped to the army that was still assured by its commanders that it was victorious.  The British and other allies mocked the idea of bringing domestic comforts into the forward areas.  “I could not stop asking myself what on earth it had all cost,” said one British soldier, faintly ashamed of his own small-mindedness.  Yet he and his compatriots were also secretly impressed by a nation capable of such a feat in the midst of a campaign.  The enemy were nowhere much in evidence.  In the forward areas the troops were uneasy, yet they clung to MacArthur’s promise; home by Christmas.  In some units work had begun to clean up vehicles and equipment, to crate surplus stores for shipment to Japan or Stateside.  The cold was already intense, though not as bitter as it would become.  In a thousand positions among the barren valley and hillsides of North Korea, American soldiers huddled around flickering fires fueled from the wreckage of local huts and imported packing cases, and made what seasonal cheer they could.  Afterward, they looked back on that day as a hollow echo of a celebration, when they had seen what was to come.  The clothes that Colonel John Michaelis of the 27th Infantry was wearing on Thanksgiving Day, he did not take off until February 16th.

What I found interesting about this passage personally was that last year I spent Thanksgiving in Afghanistan and I had a British officer tell me how impressed he was with the logistical capabilities of the US military to do everything from celebrating holiday meals to quickly establishing new forward operating bases in remote areas complete with phones, Internet access, MWR tents, etc.

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  • Homeboy
    7:22 am on November 24th, 2011 1

    :| An Excellent article…

    Yeah… the U.S. Armed Forces’s logistics are something really second to none… No one on this earth could replicate it… for now….through complete control of the world’s sea lanes and air ways… The absolute sea and air supremacy… That, if would be lost, if those who do not know about your real strengh in your Congress, cuts off your real strength… then the real armageddon will have begun…

  • Homeboy
    7:24 am on November 24th, 2011 2

    That chow line was before the 4th of January, 1951 Great Retreat in our (Korean) history… wow … I am so impressed… how did you get that picture? That was before the great Hamhung Port Retreats…..대단해!!!

  • Homeboy
    7:26 am on November 24th, 2011 3

    The Benevolent American Power…. hope it lasts…really…

  • Teadrinker
    7:58 am on November 24th, 2011 4

    What are you talking about? Thanksgiving was 5 weeks ago. ;-)

  • kangaji
    8:01 am on November 24th, 2011 5

    Happy Reverse Chuseok, 개나다 아저씨

  • James W,Bolt [40, yards]
    11:57 am on November 24th, 2011 6

    I ate Thanksgiving Dinner[all the trmmings]North West of Pakchon North Korea near Hanam-ni in the Congchon River Basin on the 23 November 1950.I was in the 52nd Field Artillery Battalion and we were in direct support of the Australian Battalion from 11 November to the 24 of November 1950 sign 40 yards

  • Homeboy
    2:25 pm on November 24th, 2011 7

    :shock: Wow, real veteran…

  • Maui
    3:09 pm on November 24th, 2011 8

    #6. I salute you sir, and I hope you and yours have a warm and Happy Thanksgiving.

  • df
    5:26 am on November 25th, 2011 9

    A continuing thanks to all,
    let the Korean war never be forgotten!

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    6:07 am on November 25th, 2011 10

    @6 – Thanks for commenting and sharing your memories from the Korean War.

  • Ted Eaton
    5:15 pm on November 25th, 2011 11

    That picture sure brings back memories. As I recall, it was rainning when I was in the Chow line.
    A turkey Dinner under water and it still tasted Good!

  • Eyes open
    10:41 pm on November 25th, 2011 12

    Yeah! The US army has great logistics and the capability of bringing fear and terror to countries around the world in order to steal their resources. They can do all this because the US spends more than 50% of their budget on the military instead of providing basic needs for a large number of their own citizens. Really admirable :evil: :mrgreen:

  • Homeboy
    1:17 am on November 26th, 2011 13

    Better them than the others… ;-) Really….

  • Homeboy
    1:37 am on November 26th, 2011 14

    The U.s. Defense-related expenditure

    2012 Budget request & Mandatory spending

    DOD spending

    $707.5 billion

    Base budget + “Overseas Contingency Operations”

    FBI counter-terrorism

    $2.7 billion

    At least one-third FBI budget.

    International Affairs

    $5.6–$63.0 billion

    At minimum, foreign arms sales. At most, entire State budget

    Energy Department, defense-related

    $21.8 billion

    Veterans Affairs

    $70.0 billion

    Homeland Security

    $46.9 billion

    NASA, satellites

    $3.5–$8.7 billion

    Between 20% and 50% of NASA’s total budget

    Veterans pensions

    $54.6 billion

    Other defense-related mandatory spending

    $8.2 billion

    Interest on debt incurred in past wars

    $109.1–$431.5 billion

    Between 23% and 91% of total interest

    Total Spending

    $1.030–$1.415 trillion

    The Total US Budget for 2010 was 3,456 Trillion US Dollars…

    So, it’s not 50% but 40%…US Military budget is 4.06% of US GDP and around 20% of the US Federal Budget given inflation and other increases from 2010.

    4% is not to extreme… it’s similar to the Chinese military budget percentage. But wow… If I were in the US doing business, I would do DOD related businesses.. That budget is monstrous…

  • Leon LaPorte
    1:53 am on November 26th, 2011 15

    12. Actually our federal government is really only mandated to provide defense spending, social and welfare programs weren’t considered. So, some would argue it should be closer to 100%. But, if it makes you feel any better, it only comes out to 4.7% of GDP. That works out to be a lot and fear and terror for the buck.

  • Homeboy
    2:08 am on November 26th, 2011 16

    ROK Government gives USFK 1.68 Trillion Korean Won. USD=KRW fx rate is 1,165 KRW. In Dollar term, ROK pays US$ 1.4 Billion per annum to keep USFK in South Korea.

    Keeping U.S. military presence on SKorea is not cheap.

    USFK burdensharing is approximately 5.3% of SKorean annual military budget.

    So, if US decides to pull out of SK, then it would forfeit such monetary support. You’d have to build up new facilities to accomodate your men. That would cost much.

    In conclusion, it is really not a good idea to leave SK – monetary wise.

  • Homeboy
    2:16 am on November 26th, 2011 17

    In 1944, the US military budget accounted for 37.85 % of US GDP; in 1968, 9.4% of US GDP. 2011 US GDP was around 17,400 Trillion US Dollars.

    So, you are spending now more than ever. If you spend only 1.5% of your GDP, then still you would be spending US$ 261 Billion.

    That’s huge budget by any comparison.

  • Homeboy
    2:18 am on November 26th, 2011 18

    700 Billion US$ for defense is way too much… definitely a jaw dropper. :shock:

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    5:34 am on November 26th, 2011 19

    What people tend to forget is that the US has a professional military which means servicemembers have to be well paid and have exceptional benefits unlike Korea who has a conscript military with people making $15 a month. If the US drafted the majority of its servicemembers and paid them $15 a month the cost of defense would go way down.

  • Mike
    5:47 am on November 26th, 2011 20

    Isn’t the Korean army more like our Boy Scouts?

  • kangaji
    8:26 am on November 26th, 2011 21

    #20: Are you doing an experiment to see if ROKdroppers react more quickly to Korean trolling versus American trolling. I can only conclude then, that you are in fact, a dirty Canadian.


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