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The Skies of Korea: An Air War for a New Era

The air war in Korea introduced silvery jets that clashed at the edge of the stratosphere, their swept-back wings glinting in the sun. But most combat missions in Korea were flown by planes with propellers. And often, the life of an airman was as gritty as the lot of an infantry soldier, especially when maintainers, crews, and pilots tried to get the job done at roughshod airfields in the extremes of sweltering summer and frigid winter. At one such airfield, American airmen lived in tents and created furniture out of the wooden crates in which 5-inch high-velocity aircraft rockets were delivered.

Together with those who fought on land and sea, airmen in Korea halted in its tracks a blatant move by the foe to snatch South Korea. The Korean War assured the survival of an independent Republic of Korea south of the 38th parallel.  At a later juncture in history, when pundits compared Korea superficially with Vietnam, nearly everyone forgot that Korea was a success story.

It did not begin that way. In the early hours of Sunday, June 25, 1950, in darkness and driving rain, North Korean armed forces crossed the 38th parallel at half a dozen locations. The invasion of South Korea was launched by 90,000 men and hundreds of Russian-made T-34 medium tanks. North Korea also put into the battle its modest air arm, commanded by Maj. Gen. Wang Yon, a Soviet Air Academy graduate.

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Dorr, Robert F. The Skies of Korea: An Air War for a New Era

For additional information contact:
U.S. Air Force Historical Studies Office
2822 Doherty Dr., S.W., Bldg 94
Suite 404
Joint Base Anacostia Bolling
Washington, DC 20373-5899
(202) 404-2264
U.S. Air Force Historical Studies Website

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