.

.


 

DEFENSE SERVICE COMBAT CHRONOLOGY 1954 TO 1991

"A Combat Zone is Where the Enemy Chooses to Kill You."

Service in the Republic of Korea is in direct support of the Armistice of 1953 and the Mutual Security Agreement of 1954 with the Republic of Korea resulting from a very "Hot" and unfinished war.  From the date of the Armistice to the present date, a state-of-war continues to exist.  This "State-of-War" has never gone away!  There has been no surrender by either side and no permanent peace treaty has ever been signed by either country.  The Cold War ended in 1991; Korea deployment continues with approximately 40,000 U.S. Containment troops in place on "Cease-fire" duty.  The 107th Congress of the United States has recognized this truth and has caused the KOREA DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL to be awarded.  Any incident on the Korean Peninsula is as much a  threat to U.S. Armed Forces as incidents in the Persian Gulf, the Balkans, or Latin America respectively.  Armed combat has taken place on the Peninsula every year between either the North Koreans and South Koreans, or the North Koreans and U.S. units, or both.  There have been over 40,400 breaches1 to the Armistice by North Korea and at least 1,2002 U.S. Military personnel have lost their lives, hundreds wounded and nearly 90 captured and held prisoner.  The R.O.K. has sustained many casualties both among military personnel and civilians.  A service medal is now awarded to U.S. Armed Forces for duty in the R.O.K., and the combat recognition double-standard for Korea service no longer exists as Army regulations have been rewritten and made retroactive to 27 July 1954.
1 VFW Magazine, April 1999
2 Public Law 107-314 

This first table does not cover all incidents in the DMZ or areas south of the DMZ.*  Many are not officially recorded.  It also does not cover the normal duty and training accidents, sickness and disease, criminal or fratricide incidents causing death and injury to U.S. Forces in support of the cease-fire.  It does not cover DMZ incidents incurred in the R.O.K. sectors or incidents on and around the Peninsula involving  R.O.K. Forces.  See second table below for R.O.K. only incidents.

U.S. Forces Incidents

1954
Sep 4
Sea of Japan:  Soviets shoot down a P2V-5. 1 KIA 1954
Nov 7
Sea of Japan:  Soviets shoot down a RB-29. 1 KIA
1955
Jan 19
DMZ:  NKs shoot at and hit an Army L-20 Beaver. 2 KIA 1955
Feb 5
Yellow Sea off Korea:  RB-45 is attacked by 12 Chinese MiGs.  Eight escorting F-86s engage in Dogfight.  2 MiGs shot down.
1955
Aug 18
DMZ:  NKs shoot down a U.S. T-6 Trainer. Capt. Charles Brown KIA 1955
Feb/Mar
Svc Co., 31st Inf, 7th ID:  Shots fired into billets from the surrounding hillside.
1956
Feb ?
24th ID HQ perimeter:  Assault on electronic listening post.  Casualties certain - KIA / WIA count unknown 1956
Sep 10
Sea of Japan:  During recon mission RB-50 lost.  Unconfirmed shoot down by Soviet Fighters.  16 Killed
1958
Mar 6
DMZ:  NKs shoot down F-86.  Pilot bails out and is returned. 1961
Apr 20
DMZ:  USAF plane attacked by NKs and crashes near Seoul.  1 KIA
1962
Oct 3
DMZ - Hyang Yang:  PFC Richard Rimer KIA  while on guard duty. 1962
Nov 23
DMZ - Outpost Susan:  Army soldier KIA on patrol.
1963
May 17
DMZ:  NKs shoot down OH-23 helicopter.  2 pilots held prisoner for 1 year. 1963
Jul 29
DMZ:  NKs ambush U.S. patrol.  3 KIA
1963
Aug 4
DMZ:  U.S. patrol engages in 2 hour Firefight with NKs. 1965
Nov 18
DMZ:  NK Ambush.  1 NK KIA
1966
Nov 2
DMZ -  U.S. patrol ambushed.  6 U.S. KIA, 1 KATUSA KIA.  1 U.S. WIA.  This  initiated 3 years of skirmishing in the "Z".   1967
Jul 16
DMZ:  NK ambush.  3 KIA
1967
Aug 10
DMZ:  NK ambush.  3 KIA and 16 WIA 1967
Aug 29
DMZ:  NK mines 3 KIA,  2 WIA U.S. soldiers on patrol.
1968
Jan 23
Korean Coast:  U.S.S. Pueblo captured by NK.  1 KIA and 81 captured and held for 11 months. 1968
Apr 2
DMZ:  Hostile Fire pay authorized for U.S. Forces stationed above the Imjin.
1968
Apr 14
DMZ:  NK infiltrators ambushed a UNC JSA security guard truck enroute to JSA.  2 U.S. KIA, 2 R.O.K. KIA 1968
Jul 30
DMZ - C,3/23,2ID Firefight: 1 U.S. KIA, 3 WIA, 4 NK possible
casualties 
1968
Jul 30
DMZ - B,1/38,2ID Firefight: 1 U.S. WIA, 1 NK KIA 1968
Aug 01
DMZ - A,1/32,7ID NK ambush:  2 U.S. KIA, 2 Hostile WIA
1968
Aug 05
DMZ - A,1/38,2ID: 3 U.S. KIA, 2 U.S. WIA, 1 NK KIA 1968
Aug 18
DMZ - A,1/32 Ambush: 2 U.S. KIA, 2 NK WIA
1968
Aug 30
DMZ- HHC & A,1/38,2ID:  NK ambush:  1 U.S. KIA, 2 KATUSA KIA, 2 U.S. WIA, 2 Hostile KIA 1968
Sep 7-8
DMZ - C,1/31,2ID 2 U.S. KIA from grenade fragments
1968
Sep 10
DMZ - A,1/9,2ID: 1 Unidentified individual killed south of the Barrier fence 1968
Oct 01
DMZ - B,2/38,2ID NK ambush: 1 U.S. KIA, 5 U.S. WIA
1 Hostile possible casualty
1969
Mar 15
DMZ:  4 hour firefight.  1 KIA, 2 WIA.  Helicopter evacuating wounded crashes and the 2 WIA plus 5 man crew die. 1969
Apr 15
Sea of Japan - Off North Korea:  NK MiG-15s shoot down Navy EC-121.  31 KIA.  Worst single KIA of "Cold War"
1969
Aug 17
DMZ:  NKs shoot down U.S. helicopter.  3 WIA and held captive for 108 days. 1969
Oct 18
DMZ:  NK ambush.  4 KIA. 
1974
Nov 20
DMZ:  Booby-trap in tunnel kills 1 USN Officer. 1975
Jun 30
DMZ:  NK guards attacked Maj. Henderson, acting commander of UNC Joint Security Force in JSA.  1 KIA
1976
Aug 18
DMZ:  U.S. Army officers murdered in the "Tree-trimming" incident.  2 U.S. KIA, 4 U.S. WIA, 4 R.O.K. WIA, 5 NK WIA 1977
Jul 14
DMZ:  NKs shoot down helicopter.  3 KIA, 1 WIA
1979
Dec 6
DMZ:  1 U.S. soldier KIA in minefield. 1980
May 13
DMZ:  OP Ouillette - NK infiltrators engaged in firefight.  1 NK possible  WIA
1983
Sep 23
Taegu:  Bomb explosion downtown at American Cultural Center.  One ROK killed and three wounded.  No U.S. dead. 1984
Nov 23
DMZ-Panmunjom:  NK guards fired on Soviet defector and UNC JSA guards.  1 U.S. KIA, 1 ROK KIA, 3 NK KIA, 1 NK WIA
1994
Dec 17
DMZ:  NKs shoot down Army helicopter.  1 KIA, 1 captured and held POW 13 days      

"2008"

"Freedom is Still Not Free"

 

The Forgotten War Continues

* Based on mail to the KDVA, and posted messages on other Veteran sites, there are many more incidents that are unreported.  The actual counts will probably never be known.

UNCMAC

R.O.K. DMZ and Other Peninsula Incidents**

1967 Jan 19 NK East Coast:  NK shore batteries fired on and sank ROK PCE-56.  39 KIA, 15 WIA 1967 May 22 U.S. 2nd Inf Div Sector:  NK infiltrators exploded demolition charges in barracks.  2 U.S. KIA, 17 U.S. WIA, 2 ROK WIA
1967 Aug 28 UNCMAC Advance Camp:  NK armed attack on 76th Engineers.  1 U.S. KIA, 2 ROK KIA, 12 U.S. WIA, 9 ROK WIA 1968 Aug 20 Cheju Island:  NK agent boat intercepted.  12 NK KIA, 2 NK WIA
1968 Nov 30 Samchok, R.O.K.:  NK land approximately 120 commandos.  107 NK KIA, 2 NK WIA 1969 Mar 15 DMZ:  NK fired upon a UNC work party that finished replacing marker 0654.  2 ROK KIA, 1 ROK WIA
1974 Feb 15 International Waters:  NK Naval vessels attacked R.O.K. fishing boats.  12 KIA 1974 Jun 28 Eastern Sea near MDL-Extended:  Three NK gun-boats attacked and sank a ROK Police craft.  26 KIA, 2 WIA
1977 May 3 DMZ:  NK infiltrators attacked R.O.K. Army personnel in the central sector.  1 KIA, 1 WIA 1978 Apr 28 Coastline:  NK agent boat attacked ROK National Police patrol boat.  1 ROK KIA, 1 NK KIA, 4 ROK WIA
1978 Jul 21 Coastline:  NK agent boat attacked ROK National Police patrol boat  2 ROK KIA, 6 NK KIA, 1 ROK WIA 1980 Mar 23 Han River Estuary:  3 NK infiltrators were KIA by ROK defenders.
1980 Mar 27 DMZ-Central sector:  NK infiltrators fire on ROK patrol.  1 ROK KIA, 1 ROK WIA, 1 NK KIA, 1 NK WIA 1980 Jun 21 Coastline:  NK agent boat attacked ROK Navy patrol boat.  2 ROK KIA, 9 NK KIA, 1 NK WIA
1980 Nov 3-6 Hoenggan Island:  NK agents landed killing 1 ROK civilian and wounding 5 others.  Agents were caught. 1980 Dec 1-6 Namhae Island:  NK agents land.  3 ROK KIA, 3 ROK WIA, 3 NK KIA
1981 Jul 4 DMZ:  NK agent infiltrated.  2 ROK KIA, 1 NK KIA 1983 May 15 East Coast:  NK agents landed.  1 NK KIA
1983 Jun 19 Munsan:  NK agents discovered in the western corridor.  3 NK KIA 1983 Aug 5 Kampo:  NK agents attempted to land on the SE coast.  5 NK KIA
1983 Aug 13 Ullung Island:  NK agent boat sunk in East Sea.  5 NK KIA 1983 Dec 3 Tadaepo Beach:  NK agents landed near Pusan.  3 NK KIA, 2 NK captured
1985 Oct 20 Pusan Coastline:  NK agents boat sunk.  2 NK KIA 1986 Apr 24 East Sea:  NK armed vessel failed to stop after crossing the MDL-extension line.  NK vessel sunk after firefight.  2 NK KIA, 4 NK WIA
1987 Nov 21 DMZ Central sector:  NK guard fired on ROK post.  1 ROK KIA 1992 May 22 DMZ-Central sector:  NK infiltrators intercepted.  UNC called 460th MAC meeting, but NK rejected the meeting.  3 NK KIA, 2 ROK KIA
1995 Oct 17 South of DMZ near Imjin River:  One infiltrator killed and one believed returned to NK 1996 Apr 9-11 DMZ: Hundreds of NK soldiers conducted military exercises in the DMZ which included hauling morters and machineguns and pointing them southward.  This after the NK regime stated they would no longer observe the rules of the Armistice agreement of 1953.
1996 Sep 18 South Korea Northeast coast line:  N.K. submarine went aground.  The hunt for occupants involved killing 24 N.K.s and capturing 1 1997 Jul 16 DMZ: N.K. soldiers cross the Demarcation line and receive  warning by R.O.K.s.  N.K.s respond by firing at least 10 mortar  rounds at two R.O.K. guard posts.   
1997 Sep 9 DMZ:  North Korean soldier shot and killed near R.O.K. guard post on southern side of the Demarcation line. "2008"

"The War Continues, Just Different Strategies"

Incidents in Areas Other than the R.O.K.

1983
Oct 9
Myanmar:  North Korea attempted to assassinate R.O.K. President Chun Doo-hwan while he was visiting Myanmar.  North Korean terrorists planted time bombs at the Aungsan Mausoleum where a R.O.K. delegation was waiting for the arrival of the president.  The bombing killed 17 Korean Officials including several cabinet ministers, and wounded 14 others.   It was revealed that three North Korean terrorists (1 NK Army Major and 2 Army Sr. Lts.) had been involved and they were acting under the direct order of Kim jong-il.  One terorist was captured.  Upon concluding the investigation on 4 Nov. 1983, Myanmar severed relations with North Korea and expelled NK diplomats from Rangoon.  The NK terrorist was sentenced to death on 9 Dec. 1983.

Costa Rica, Comoro and Western Samoa also severed relations with North Korea.  The United States, Japan and 69 other countries issued special statements criticizing North Korea.  

KOREA SERVICE DEATHS POST 27 JULY 1953

They do not represent the number of cease-fire breaches (incidents) that have occurred involving exchanges of fire with North Korean forces, nor do they reflect wounds inflicted or U.S. Armed Forces members captured and held prisoner.

KOREA HOSTILE FIRE DEATHS

YEAR KDVA GOVTa CHANGEb TOTAL

1953

  0 

1

+1

1

1954

2

2

0

2

1955

3

1

+2

3

1956

161

1

+1

17

1957

0

0

0

0

1958

0

0

0

0

1959

0

0

0

0

1960

0

0

0

0

1961

1

1

0

1

1962

2

4

+2

4

1963

3

3

0

3

1964

0

0

0

0

1965

0

0

0

0

1966

6

6

0

6

1967

12

17

+5

17

1968

3

16

+13

16

1969

36

11

+25

36

1970

0

0

0

0

1971

0

0

0

0

1972

0

0

0

0

1973

0

0

0

0

1974

1

1

0

1

1975

1

0

+1

1

1976

2

2

0

2

1977

3

3

0

3

1978

0

1

+1

1

1979

1

0

+1

1

1980

0

0

0

0

1981

0

0

0

0

1982

0

0

0

0

1983

0

0

0

0

1984

1

0

+1

1

1985

0

0

0

0

1986

0

0

0

0

1987

0

0

0

0

1988

0

0

0

0

1989

0

0

0

0

1990

0

0

0

0

1991

0

0

0

0

1992

0

0

0

0

1993

0

0

0

0

1994

1

0

+1

1

1995

0

0

0

0

1996

0

1

+1

1

1997

0

0

0

0

1998

0

0

0

0

1999

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

94

71

55

117

a  Statistics reported from Preliminary Post Korean War Death Statistics (U.S. Government)
b
  Reflects changes between KDVA and U.S. Govt. figures
1
  Unconfirmed shoot down by Soviets fighters of U.S. RB-50 Recon plane in the Sea of Japan.  The 16 man crew was lost.
2
  Last U.S. 2nd Inf. Division soldiers withdrawn from the 1-mile sector.  All U.S. patrol activity currently conducted by members of the Joint Security Area forces.

NOTE:  ROK deaths are not included.

TOTAL DEATHS NON-BATTLE POST ARMISTICE*

YEAR

NUMBER OF DEATHS (U.S. GOVT.)

1953

197

1954

155

1955

2

TOTAL1

354

1 There are no U.S. Govt. Non-Battle Post Armistice deaths reported beyond 1955 although there are many.
*  See below

TOTAL DEATHS NON-HOSTILE (1979 AND LATER)*

YEAR

NUMBER OF DEATHS (U.S. GOVT.)

1979

16

1980

20

1981

37

1982

22

1983

27

1984

41

1985

17

1986

30

1987

21

1988

19

1989

42

1990

18

1991

14

1992

16

1993

14

19941

1

19941

15

1995

16

1996

10

1997

8

1998

20

1999

9

TOTAL2

431

1 This year reported twice by the Preliminary Post Korean War Death Statistics (U.S. Govt.)
2
There are no Non-Hostile Korea deaths reported prior to 1979.
*  Unable to determine the difference between tables labeled Non-Battle Post Armistice deaths and Non-Hostile Korea deaths

NOTE:  The Govt. provides no statistics for either Non-Battle Post Armistice deaths or Non-Hostile Korea deaths for the years 1956 through 1978.  Based on the statistics from 1953 through 1955 and 1979 through 1999, one must assume there were deaths that are being unreported.  Other sources document deaths during this time period.  The Govt. is continuing in its efforts to compile accurate counts.
Veterans of Foreign Wars:  Non-Battle Post Armistice Statistics from 1961 through 1999 count 814 deaths.

TOTAL DEATHS AS A RESULT OF KOREA SERVICE

Category Counts
Non-Battle Post Armistice 1953-1955 354
VFW Non Battle Post Armistice 1961-1999* 814
Non-Battle/Hostile Sub Total 1,168
Preliminary Post Korean War Death Statistics
(U.S. Govt.)
71
Total Deaths** 1,239

* It is assumed that the VFW count of 814 includes the 431 counted by the Govt. as Non-Hostile Korea (1979 and later).
** KDVA Count believes that the Total Deaths (based on 117 KIA) equal 1,285.
.