Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Task Force Smith Memorial -- Osan, South Korea

Ahead of the 61st anniversary of Task Force Smith on July 5th, I went to Osan today to visit the memorial dedicated to the US task force, which was sent from Japan to stop the North Korean juggernaut in the opening days of the Korean War.

The first time I visited the memorial was on July 5, 2000 for the 50th anniversary of Task Force Smith, which I wrote about for The Korea Times.

This was my first trip back.

This is one of the inscriptions on the monument:
As the vicious troops of the North Korean Army crossed the 38th Parallel, U.S. troops were ready to fight to preserve freedom of world. Determined to punish the aggressors, Lt. Colonel Smith’s special task force stood on Jukmi Pass. Supported by the 17th of the Republic of Korean Army, the first Korean and UN forces joint operation commenced. Blood formed a stream after over six hours of fierce struggle. Firing lines stretched as far as the Naktong River. While forlorn souls sleep on this hill, how can we forget our friendship with allied nations created in blood?

Approximately 181 Americans out of the 540 men in the task force were either killed, wounded or captured during the seven hours of battle against over 20,000 North Koreans and over 30 Russian T-34 tanks.

In Chapter 7 of War Remains, I write about the battle. In Chapter 9, I write about Bobby's first time in battle, which is based on a short story about the aftermath of The Battle of Osan.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 25, 1950

When news of the Korean War hit the streets across America in the summer of 1950, there wasn’t the rush to run down to your local recruitment station to sign up—not like the great patriotic appeal that had occurred just nine years earlier when Pearl Harbor had been attacked. 
Korea? Where’s that?

America had just gotten over a war and had settled into a peri­od of prosperity; now another war, this one in some far-off Asian country was about to threaten that prosperity and equilibrium.

And when people began to follow the news from another front, it wasn’t good. From the moment the first troops were sent to Korea from Japan, the once mighty military machine that had defeated Germany and Japan just five years before now found it­self literally on the run after being unable to halt the North Korean advance. 
First Osan, then Pyongtaek and Ch’onan fell. Names and places on a map that most Americans could not find but where American blood had been shed. The Inmin Gun juggernaut kept on advancing and rolling over everything in its way. It hadn’t even been called a war yet; Truman had called it a “police action” and the name stuck.

An excerpt from War Remains.

Today is the 61st anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

Remember, "Freedom is not Free."


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Buy My Book...

And remember a forgotten war.

This Saturday, marks the 61st anniversary of the start of the Korean War. One of the reasons why I wrote this novel was that I wanted to remember this forgotten war (a theme which runs through the book) as well as honor all those who fought in the conflict and those who did not come back home.

War Remains is more than just a story about the Korean War, though. It could be about any war and the longing that service members have for home and their loved ones. What makes this story significant is that it is about how one young man, Michael Washkowiak learns about the war and what his grandfather went through during the opening months of the war. 

I wonder how many of us have also come across war mementos from an uncle, older brother, father, or grandfather and wondered what they did and how they survived, or if they died on some foreign battlefield, perhaps some sense of closure.

That's why I believe this story is a good one.

From now until June 30th, get 20% off the list price by entering the coupon code SUMMERBOOK11 when ordering through Lulu.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

War Remains featured in The Three Wise Monkeys

War Remains had a nice write up in The Three Monkeys, an online magazine based in Korea; look for a book review later this summer.

I've also noticed a spike in visits to this blog in recent weeks. Nice to see more traffic here.
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