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Historic 1950 Incheon Landing Reenacted

Posted September. 10, 2008 03:28,   


In waters off Wolmi Island near Incheon yesterday morning, the commander of the 14,000-ton landing ship Dokdo, armed with anti-ship missiles, sent out an urgent order.

“Charge to land on Wolmi Island!”

Dokdo and 26 Hyangrobongs, or 4,500-class landing ships of the Marine Corps, began breaking through the sea toward the island.

In the sky, eight choppers for maritime operations laid down cover fire for the Marines, and Korean Navy Seals parachuted into the sea for underwater infiltration.

Armored vehicles breached the enemy defense line in about 10 minutes, and safely landed on the island. Dokdo was then cheered by soldiers for its success.

Soon after, another order was issued from Dokdo: landing forces shall advance to the second staging area to secure a stronghold.

The Incheon amphibious landing of Sept. 15, 1950, was a turning point in the Korean War for the Allies. Invading North Korean forces had advanced to the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula just 80 days after the war broke out June 25.

To commemorate the 58th anniversary of the landing, the country’s first reenactment of the historic event took place to honor the South Korean and Allied soldiers who fought that day.

The event was sponsored by the city of Incheon and the Marine Corps Command.

“The defending North Korean troops showered us with bullets to deter our landing. But we never budged. All we thought of was how to save our country,” one veteran said.

Numerous South Koreans joined the Army and participated in the operation as part of the Marines along with Allied forces, most of whom are now in their 70s. Watching the reenactment with their red crosses worn on their chests, members of the Veterans’ Group of the 9/15 Incheon Amphibious Landing had their eyes filled with tears.

Group leader Kim Jang-yeol, 76, said, “At first, North Korea took us off guard. We were pushed up against the wall in the early stage of the Korean War. The successful landing turned things upside down and eventually led to the defeat of the bloody greed and ambition of the communist regime. We must not forget these facts and lessons.”

Retired Marine Corps Commander Lt. General Lee Hong-hee said, “Allied forces beat all odds and pulled out a victory. It saved our country from going over the cliff and 3,200 honorable soldiers sacrificed their lives. Without such heroes, there would be no democracy that we enjoy now.”

A ceremony also came after the reenactment along Cultural Street on the island. About 1,000 veterans and citizens attended.

U.S. Naval Forces Korea Commander Rear Admiral Thomas Rowden said Congress approved the landing, which mobilized 261 warships and 75,000 soldiers, on that day 58 years ago. He said the event will boost the traditional alliance between the United States and South Korea.

Incheon Mayor Ahn Sang-soo said, “The French transformed the Normandy invasion into a historical festival. Likewise, we plan to upgrade our own D-day ceremony into an event all Koreans can enjoy together.”

The New Right Union will also reportedly produce a film based on the Incheon landings to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Republic of Korea and its army.