Category: Korean War


MASH Field Hospital Diorama at AFHM

In this section of the Armed Forces History Museum, you will discover a recreated US Army MASH field hospital.  The diorama is a fully equipped surgical operating tent manned by a surgeon appropriately dressed holding original medical instruments.  Another unique addition to this display is an M21 ambulance which has been fully restored and – as every other piece is in the museum – is fully operational.  In the back of the ambulance lie three wounded soldiers waiting to be treated.  Note, these soldiers are fully equipped and presented as they would have been when they left the battlefield for transport to the aid station.  In addition, this diorama houses a large display case featuring an assortment of authentic instruments, bandages and other field gear.

A Brief Look at the MASH Units in the Korean War

First established in 1945 by Dr. Michael Debakey, these mobile units were fully self-contained, working medical hospitals.  The first deployment of a MASH unit occurred during the Korean War.  The use of the MASH units allowed experienced medical personnel to remain closer to the front, which would minimize transport time of the wounded.   Soldiers were trained to administer on site whatever first aid they could and then they soldier(s) would be sent to a battalion aid station to assist with stabilizing the soldier before transporting to the MASH Medical Unit for more extensive treatment.  This greatly increased the wounded soldiers chances for survival – some estimates say as high as 97% – once treatment was received at a MASH unit.

MASH units continued to operate into the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  By 1997 though, the final MASH unit in South Korea was disbanded and worldwide, the last deactivation of a MASH unit occurred in Febraury, 2006.  Just prior to the deactivation, the unit was sent to Pakistan to assist with the relief operations after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.  While here, the US State Department purchased all the tents and medical supplies of this MASH unit and donated the entire unit to the Pakistani military.  The donation was estimated at a value over $4.5 million.

Interesting Facts About the Korean War

The Armed Forces History Museum has a number of dioramas in its Korean War Gallery.  They include the Inchon Landing, MASH and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir to name a few. The museum also has a fully restored, fully operational M47 Patton Tank and an M41 Walker Bulldog Tank. Below is a list of interesting facts about the Korean War: The war started on 25 June 1950 after 75,000 N. Korean soldiers crossed over the 38th parallel in an attempt to impose communism on S. Korea. The war lasted from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953.  Over 7,000 US soldiers are still missing in action as a result of this war The Korean War resulted in close to 5 million dead, missing in action or wounded.  It is estimated that half of them were civilians. Peace negotiations after the war were fairly uncertain, which resulted in Congress extending the official ending of the war from its actual date – July 27, 1953, to January 3l, 1955.  This assisted with extending benefit eligibility for soldiers. In March of 2013, N. Korea declared the armistice that ended the war in 1953 invalid Though combatants signed a cease-fire to the conflict, there is no treaty or official ending of the war No formal declaration of war was ever declared by the United States.  President Truman never asked Congress. A total of 6.8 million American men and women served in the US military during the Korean conflict.  The United States suffered 54,200 casualties during the hostilities, of which 33,700 were battle related.

The Korean War Inchon Landing

At the Armed Forces History Museum, the landing at Inchon Korea by the 1st US Marine division was an outstanding and incredible feat and risk taken by General MacArthur.   This diorama, with the LST features a platoon of US marines in full gear.  The platoon was led by Lt. Baldomero Lopez, who in this diorama is mounting the ladder and going over the top of the 40 foot high wall.  Shortly after climbing over the wall, Lt. Lopez heroically gave his life as he rolled onto a grenade to save his platoon.  This outstanding and courageous young officer was from Tampa, FL and received the Medal of Honor posthumously.

In memory of Lt. Lopez, his family generously donated Lt. Lopez’s uniforms and other pieces of memorabilia, including his uniform the US Naval Academy at Annapolis.  These rare pieces of military memorabilia are an outstanding example of continuing support for the museum by the public.

Also on display in this area is a BAE 40mm anti-aircraft gun being towed by a WC51 Weapons Carrier.  Both pieces are original and in excellent operating condition.

A Brief Review of the Inchon Landing

A battle of the Korean War, the Battle of Inchon (or the Inchon Landing) was an amphibious invasion and the turning point of the war in favor of the United Nations.  Over 75,000 troops, along with 261 naval vessels, took part in this invasion, which – in just two weeks – led to the recapture of Seoul, the capital of South Korea.  Gaining control of Seoul meant the NKPA (North Korean People’s Army) were somewhat severed from their supply lines in South Korea.  The Battle of Inchon also ended a string of victories that had recently been experienced by the NKPA.

Ground forces that took part in this invasion included the U.S. Marines, who were being commanded by the US Army’s General Douglas MacArthur.  This type of amphibious assault was the result of General MacArthur’s own vision.  Due to extenuating circumstances of the war, MacArthur felt it was crucial to not only make such a decisive move, but the move itself must be executed behind enemy lines.  Previous assault plans involving other areas failed prior to choosing Inchon.  MacArthur felt the element of surprise would be to his advantage as the enemy would not be expecting an invasion in such a heavily defended area.

Within a few days of relinquishing resistance, the North Koreans took note of their error and countered sending T-34 tanks to the beach unsupported by infantry troops.  However, an F4U strike force discovered the tanks and two sets of F4U Corsair’s bombed these tanks.  The tanks were heavily damaged as a result of this assault with the U.S. losing only one plane.  This attack was quickly followed by M26 Pershing tanks which were able to destroy the balance of the North Korean armored division, clearing the path to capturing Inchon.

Korean War and Rosie’s Bar

Actually known as Rose’s Bar, this popular watering hole in Seoul Korea was made famous during the Korean War. The bar became a household word during the television series MASH. This diorama at Armed Forces History Museum is accompanied by audio and features Rose behind the bar serving a soldier who stops by for a drink and a little rest and relaxation. The sign outside the bar is a replica of the sign that hung outside this bar in Seoul, Korea. A brief write up of the history of the bar is mounted at the entrance to the diorama.

A Brief Look at Rosie’s Bar

Photo taken by Stan Malcolm photo, 1972

Rosie’s Bar was a local watering hole in Seoul, Korea for US soldiers and other US troops in the area. Located down an alley just outside Camp Mosier, the area was a thriving district for local nightclubs during the Korean War. Once the American troops were pulled out, however, the area reverted back to being mainly a residential area. Land development in the area later became difficult, which saved Rosie’s Bar from being demolished. Rosie’s Bar (which was actually titled Rose’s Bar) became an American household icon through the television series MASH. Had it not been for this exposure, Rose’s Bar would have probably just become a distant memory.