News

American Forces Press Service

Cohen Orders Review of Alleged Massacre

 

 By Linda D. Kozaryn
 
American Forces Press Service


 WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary William S. Cohen has 
 directed the Army to investigate allegations that U.S. 
 soldiers massacred hundreds of South Korean villagers 
 nearly 50 years ago. 
 
 "Secretary Cohen has asked me to lead a review on behalf of 
 the Department of Defense to determine the full scope of 
 the facts surrounding press reports of civilian deaths near 
 No Gun Ri, Korea, in 1950, early in the Korean conflict," 
 Army Secretary Louis Caldera announced Sept. 30 at the 
 Pentagon.
 
 Caldera said Cohen directed him to use whatever resources 
 are available to do a quick and thorough review. P.T. 
 Henry, assistant Army secretary for Manpower and Reserve 
 Affairs, will help oversee the effort. 
 
 An Associated Press article published Sept. 30 in the New 
 York Times, reported that U.S. soldiers allegedly killed 
 hundreds of refugees, including many women and children, 
 beneath a railroad bridge at No Gun Ri. The wire service 
 report was based on some 130 interviews with American 
 veterans and 24 South Korean survivors.
 
 The article claimed that military records indicate the 
 Army's 2nd Battalion, Seventh Cavalry, part of the First 
 Cavalry Division, were dug in at No Gun Ri on the three 
 days the killings allegedly occurred in July 1950. 
 
 "These reports are, of course, very disturbing," Caldera 
 told reporters here. "Earlier this year, our Army Center 
 for Military History did a search and found nothing in the 
 official records that substantiates the claim that U.S. 
 Army soldiers perpetrated such massacres." 
 
 Caldera said the Army's review will be an all encompassing 
 review that goes beyond a search of the documentary 
 records, Caldera said. "I am committed to finding out the 
 truth of these matters as best we can after these many 
 years," he said. 
 
 The early weeks of the Korean conflict were very chaotic, 
 Caldera said. U.S. soldiers were ill-trained and ill-
 equipped to fight because of a large reduction in resources 
 for training and equipment following World War II. None-
 the-less, Caldera said, U.S. soldiers fought with great 
 courage under very harsh conditions. More than 30,000 
 Americans died in the conflict that ended in 1953. 
 
 "We owe these dead and the vast, vast majority of our 
 veterans of the Korean War our nation's gratitude for their 
 sacrifices on behalf of our country," Caldera said. He 
 added, "we owe the American people, our veterans, and the 
 people -- our friends and allies of the Republic of Korea, 
 a full accounting of these matters and I'm confident the 
 review I've ordered will provide just that."
 
 Related Site of Interest: DoD News Briefing, September 30, 
 1999
 
 

http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct1999/n10011999_9910014.html