PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — The U.S. Army is now offering on the Internet a rare and often stark look at Korean War combat captured through the lenses of military photographers and other cameramen.
The images — which also document the plight of Korea’s war-stricken refugees — provide a broad look at the 1950 to 1953 war that ravaged the peninsula and led to a U.S. military presence in South Korea that continues to this day.
Installation Management Command-Korea posted more than 40 video clips and about 150 still photos from Defense Department archives that show all the services in action.
"This collection of videos and still photographs really is a treasure trove of historical information about the Korean War and the years that followed," said IMCOM-K spokesman Edward N. Johnson.
Others are segments from postwar U.S. Army documentaries made up of the wartime footage and aired on TV in the 1950s. One series was called "The Army in Action," another, "The Big Picture," Johnson said.
Much of the footage is in a darkish, inky black-and-white. One video is in color, he said.
Topics range widely — some pertaining to individual battles or campaigns of the war, some with footage of U.S. jets engaging communist fighters, field artillery and tanks in action, an airman at the microphone in a control tower, some showing generals conferring in the field.
The still photos are sharp, clear, and offer a rich variety of wartime images — tanks and infantry in action, airstrikes, wounded troops receiving first aid, armistice negotiations and scenes of battle-damaged cities. They also show the war as seen in the faces of the Korean people — children, parents, the elderly, left homeless and pensive as the fighting moved back and forth across the peninsula.
The YouTube and Flickr sites offer links to other IMCOM-K sites that focus on U.S. military life in South Korea today.
"This gives them an opportunity to learn more about the Korean War," said Johnson, " but also … a chance to showcase some of the things that are going on in Korea or that we’ve already accomplished to support our soldiers and families."