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18TH Edition

April 2002

or these few years we are observing the 50th anniversary of the Korean War.   With the reunion right around the corner, I thought this story, although long, was appropriate for this months news letter.  The Whetstone was involved in this operation. Some of our shipmates were there!

The War's First Year and Pinch-A-Mig

On Sunday June 25, 1950, at about four o'clock in the morning, the North Korean People's Army lunged southward across the 38th parallel into South Korea (ROK). We made immediate plans to evacuate all American civilians and dependents by air and sea. Plans were also drafted to assist in the defense of Seoul, the South Korean capital, to keep secure the harbor at Inchon, South Korea, and to help in defending the Kimpo airfield near Seoul to provide time and cover for the evacuations to take place. 

The Seventh Fleet, based in the Philippines, was ordered northward to be in a position to assist South Korea in case the situation worsened. Shipments of arms and other military supplies was expedited. These decisions were all communicated to General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur, USA, Commander in Chief, Far East Command. It was felt by those in power in Washington that the ROK Army would be able to contain the advance of the invading army. Within days, the news from South Korea quickly dispelled this notion.

On June 29, 1950, transport planes had evacuated American nationals out of Kimpo. The ROK Army had for all practical purposes disintegrated and the North Koreans were advancing steadily southward. Seoul fell quickly. The threats of American air and naval support, made public on June 27, had no effect on the steamrolling North Korean ground troops. ComNavFE recognized the importance of the port of Sasebo, Japan in any effort to rush supplies and reinforcements into the southern port city of Pusan. To maintain the security of Sasebo Harbor, ComNavFE ordered an antisubmarine patrol to begin at once to safeguard the entrance. The intentions of Soviet submarines were still unclear. In order to be prepared for any eventuality, the Seventh Fleet submarine commander was drafted as the antisubmarine warfare adviser to ComCarDiv3. 

About 5 AM on Friday, June 30, President Truman made the decision to commit U.S. troops to the exploding conflict.

Later in the day the situation had become so ominous that General MacArthur was authorized to bomb military targets north of the 38th parallel to slow the unrelenting advance of the North Korean troops. Moreover, a naval blockade of North Korea was planned and an unspecified number of our supporting ground units were to be deployed to aid the ROK Army units still retreating to the south. Our armed services were in the process of downsizing during the previous couple of years, and couldn't have been in a less fortunate position to confront this sudden emergency in Asia. Additionally, the stock of existing ammunition at Yokosuka, Japan was of extreme importance. About two or three thousand tons were found to be in stock there, but a startling fact was discovered--there was absolutely no antisubmarine ordnance in the whole of Japan. 

On June 30, Royal Navy units in Japanese waters were placed under the control of ComNavFE. The next day, July 1, the Australian government took an identical action, Canada ordered three destroyers to be provisioned and get underway for the Far East, and New Zealand made a similar promise of two frigates.  By now the capabilities of the Communist forces became a matter of grave concern. It was estimated that the Russians had fourscore submarines based in the Vladivostok area of eastern Russia. To Admiral Joy, ComNavFE, the submarine situation was anything but reassuring. The shortage of antisubmarine units was acute. Already, on July 3, two sonar contacts on possible submarines were detected and the contacts were depth charged. On the afternoon of this same day, a visual sighting of a submarine running on the surface was made on the southwestern tip of Kyushu Island -- Japan's large southernmost island. For this reason, patrol planes of VP47 were employed in local antisubmarine patrol and in escorting shipping in Japanese waters. On July 7, the first long range P2V Neptune squadron reached the Far East to operate from Johnson Air Force Base at Tachikawa, Japan.  On July 10, the shipment of assembled mines from Vladivostok began over the east coast railroad into North Korea. The total number of these mines was thought to eventually total as many as 4000.  By July 15, the North Koreans had advanced half the distance to the southern most tip of South Korea. On July 18, the U.S. landed units of the 1st Cavalry at Pohang, in an attempt to slow the march of the North Koreans and the continuing pressure on the Pusan

perimeter. Pohang is on the east coast of South Korea and about 65 miles north of Pusan. With the support from the troops involved at the Pohang landing,

(Continued on page 4)

Marion Goble
(239) 768-1449

1st Vice President
Jim Dunn
(858) 566-1745

2nd Vice President
L. E (Rusty) Draper
(361) 364-1917

Kay Goble
(239) 768-1449

Membership Chairman
Tom Britt
(858) 578-8926

Marvin Watson
(402) 421-8957

Bill Martin
(281) 427-6828

Newsletter Editor
John Worman
(505) 437-9872


The Rolling Stone is a
Quarterly publication of the USS Whetstone LSD-27 Association, INC.
The Association is a non profit, historical and educational organization dedicated to
promoting fraternal, civic,
patriotic and historical
memories of those who
served aboard.

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