Thought for the Day

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius

Monday, October 5, 2015

Operating behind enemy lines in Korea

A new book on Special Operations in the Korean War.  I was unaware of this one so I just ordered it (33.00 from Amazon, only 9 left in stock).

Thanks to John Reichley for flagging Dr. Kiper's new book.  I wonder John he still has the huge collection military history memorabilia at his house.  I recall from my CGSC days that his downstairs was a military history museum.

And those who serve in Special Forces Detachment Korea (DET 39 now), Special Operations Command Korea and 1st Special Forces Group will recall the annual pilgrimage to Kangwha Do to honor the Korean Partisans and hear Commander Park who is still with us today tell us how he was taught how to parachute by American soldiers and then made 61 one jumps into north Korea crossing back through the lines every time.

Excerpt:

A note with the book review says, "Spare not the Brave should be required reading for Special Forces and War College students, and recommended reading for all soldiers."


Operating behind enemy lines in Korea

  • Oct. 3, 2015 
  •  2 min read 
  •  original
Posted Oct. 3, 2015 at 3:41 PM

  • I had the information in this column when I wrote about the U.S. landings at Inchon, Korea, earlier this month. But had I included it, due to space limitations, I could only have mentioned it in passing, and I believe it deserves more than that.
    And since September ended earlier this week, the month of the landings 65 years ago, and there is no date in military history tied to today's date, it seemed a good time to relate the information in this column.
    Leavenworth is blessed to be home to many authors. I've told readers about new books I thought would be of interest or that are about the area. The book this column is about is not about the Leavenworth area, but is by an author who the Army sent here many years ago, liked the area, so when he retired, he and his wife became citizens of Kansas, as have many other authors.
    This author is a bit unique in what he's written. Most authors write about one war, or subject, but this one has written a few books I'm aware of that are about different wars. He was an Army historian who taught history at CGSC for several years. He stayed in the area, got a doctorate in history and teaches at local colleges among other endeavors.
    He is Lt. Col. (ret) Richard "Rich" Kiper, aka Doctor Kiper to students and some others. The Civil War was his primary interest and at least one book is about that 150-year-old conflict. He was an infantry officer who also graduated from Special Forces school, so he wore the famed Green Beret in his active duty days.
    And his latest book is about a war 100 years removed from the Civil War - the Korean War. And the reason he emailed me information about it was to jog my memory that the Inchon landing anniversary was looming, and in case I wanted to remind readers about it, "here's a book review about my newest book which relates to the Inchon landing."
    I have not read the book and likely will not since it is 337 pages long and I'm limiting my reading to books about WW I. This one's title is "Spare not the Brave: The Special Activities Group in Korea." It has maps, photographs, a bibliography, an index and costs $45.
    It is about a little-known Special Forces-type unit that operated mostly behind enemy lines in Korea during its brief existence, which was from its first mission on Sept. 12, 1950, until its inactivation in March 1951. That is likely one of the shortest existences of any military unit in any army at any time.
    Its first mission was an amphibious raid at Kunsan, North Korea, to gather intelligence about the North Korean army and provide a diversion to camouflage the big landing coming soon at Inchon. Its volunteers were recruited from soldiers assigned to the Far East Command who received six weeks of training before the Kunsan mission.
    Page 2 of 2 - A note with the book review says, "Spare not the Brave should be required reading for Special Forces and War College students, and recommended reading for all soldiers."
    As should all books about war, it tells some anecdotes of the humorous happenings in an otherwise bleak and not-so-funny thing called war. In one example, things got real dicey for a few moments when someone left an unopened C-ration can in a campfire and you can imagine the activity when it unexpectedly exploded.
    And there was the time a Browning Automatic Rifle blazed away in the dark of night at a nosy intruder onto the campsite that turned out to be an unsuspecting ox. It wasn't an intruder for very long. Brings back memories to this Vietnam War vet of all those "Vietcong water buffalo" blown to bits by overeager helicopter gunners while flying missions in the not-so-friendly skies over South Vietnam.
    This book, according to Kiper, is a re-work of one titled "Army Raiders in Korea." So anyone out there in Reader Land who has that one need not try to track down the new one. But for the rest of you, now you are aware of possibly the newest book by one of the prolific writers who lives among us.
    John Reichley is a retired Army officer and Department of the Army civilian employee.

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