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Foreword

The mid-twentieth century has added new dimensions to the roles and missions long performed by the United States Army. In many lands whose peoples speak alien tongues and observe strange customs, the American soldier is now living and working as ally, friend, and counselor. As a representative of the American way of life, as a persuasive advocate of his country’s modern equipment and tactical doctrine, as partner in a global system of achieving security for the entire free world, he is called upon to demonstrate a variety of talents-patience, tact, linguistic ability, and superior professional knowledge, among others. In all that he does, he must make a supreme effort to understand people and traditions often vastly different from his own. One of the pioneers in this new type of Army endeavor was the Military Advisory Group to the Republic of Korea, commonly known as KMAG. The men and 08fficers who served in KMAG during the early days came to know all the frustrations and triumphs, the problems and partial solutions, the failures and successes that characterize new ventures. Major Sawyer and Mr. Hermes have vividly recaptured the spirit and actions of the men of both nations whose joint efforts established a remarkable record of achievement. Though this volume describes the Army’s experience in Korea only, the lessons it contains have great value to an officer assigned to advisory group duty in any nation. The book will also introduce the general public to the manner in which the United States soldier can and does meet the ever-changing tasks demanded of him by his countrymen. A professional soldier and a professional military historian pooled their talents to prepare this work. Major Sawyer, presently attending the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, wrote his manuscript while on duty with the Office of the Chief of Military History from 1951 to 1955. A combat veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, he received a battlefield commission in France in 1945 and fought in Korea in 1950 with the 25th Infantry Division. He holds the Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart.
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Mr. Hermes, also a World War II veteran, is a graduate of Boston University, where he received an M.A. degree in 1942, and is currently completing requirements for a Ph.D. degree in history at Georgetown University. A staff member of the Office of the Chief of Military History since 1949, he is the author of Truce Tent and Fighting Front, a forthcoming volume in the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN THE KOREAN WAR. WILLIAM H. HARRIS Washington, D.C. Brigadier General, U.S.A. 15 December 1961 Chief of Military History

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Preface
In an era when United States military assistance groups are scattered all over the world and probably will be for some time to come, the story of one of the earliest of these groups is of more than passing interest. The U.S. Military Advisory Group to the Republic of Korea, or KMAG as it was frequently called, was not only one of the first advisory groups to be formed but also one of the few that had to operate both in peace and war. The problems that KMAG had to face in Korea in organizing and developing native forces differ only in degree from those that confront many American military advisors working in the more recently founded nations of Africa and Asia today. In substance they are essentially the same: the problem of communication between a highly skilled and competent group o’f technicians on the one hand, and an eager and willing yet often uneducated and untrained people on the other; the need to establish a military language comprehensible to both teacher and pupil; and the task of forging a military instrument out of the raw materials at hand under conditions that may be quite primitive by American standards. From the KMAG experience in coping with the questions that arose and the so’lutions that were devised or sometimes improvised, much can be learned. Some of the pitfalls that marked the path of the KMAG military advisors are bound to be encountered again under similar or varied guises. If this study can illuminate a few of the problems involved and help to lessen or eliminate difficulties that are liable to come up, its purpose will have been accomplished. Although officially KMAG’s history does not begin until 1 July 1949 when the group was formally established, the genesis of its mission can be found in the immediate post-World War II period. During the 1945548 periold, the seeds were planted and the area of development was laid out. Thus, the sto’ry of the formation of Republic of Korea’s armed forces must properly start at the close of World War II when the nucleus for the future ROK Army came into being and American military advisors first were assigned to the task of organizing and training security forces. During his assignment to the Office of the Chief of Military History in 1951-55, Captain Sawyer completed a draft manuscript covering the period of origins and carrying the KMAG story through the first year of the war. This was the era of greatest stresses and strains on the advisory group and the ROK Army, since they had first to undergo the pangs of
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birth and of growing up and then to be tested in the crucible of war before they were properly prepared. With the initiation of the truce negotiations and the slowdown in the action at the front in mid- 195 1, KMAG entered a more leisurely period and was able to rebuild on a more solid foundation. The groundwork that was laid in the 1951-52 period put KMAG and the ROK forces on a firm footing that continued to the conclusion of the truce and beyond. Therefore, this work projects itself into the second year of the war insofar as it is necessary to establish the pattern for the future. Since Captain Sawyer was no longer available for the task of revising his manuscript, I undertook to provide a slightly broader framework for the narrative and to furnish the projections into 1952 that were needed to bring the story to a more logical stopping place. In the process, I reorganized and rewrote some of the material to conform with the changes introduced into the text. Otherwise, the account is Sawyer’s, and my efforts were confined to the details of polishing up the draft manuscript for publication. One of the great problems in the preparation of a history of KMAG is the dearth and inadequacy of official records. Since it was impossible to fashion a continuous and complete narrative from the extant files, Captain Sawyer had to depend heavily upon the memories of the men who participated in the KMAG experience. He collected their personal accounts through interviews and letters, and, frequently, by viewing their personal papers. On behalf of the author I would like to acknowledge his deep debt to each member of the KMAG team who aided him in this respect. The responsibility for the use of this material and for any errors that may have been made in this book is, of course, the author’s alone. For guidance in the writing of this study, the author has expressed his particular gratitude to Dr. Stetson Corm, now Chief Historian of the Office of the Chief of Military History, as well as to Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, the former Chief Historian. Dr. Louis Morton and Lt. Cal. Roy E. Appleman, both of OCMH, made many helpful suggestions. Mrs. Marion P. Grimes was copy editor for the manuscript. Mrs. Eileen Blandford, Miss Barbara A. Smith, and others helped cheerfully in repeated typings. Miss Mary Ann Baco’n provided many sage comments in the literary editing of the volume; Miss Ruth A. Phillips selected the photographs that brighten its pages. Washington, D.C.
15 December 1961

WALTEK

G. HERMES

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Contents
Chajter Page

I. THE

............... BACKGROUND ..................... Introduction The First Stejrs .....................
Establishment of a National Defense Agency ......... ............ Creation of the Korean Constabulary ................ The Korean Coast Guard ............ The Department of Internal Security

3 3 7 9 12 17 20 22 27 34 34 35 38 42 46 46 48 57 62 67 67 73 79 90 96 96 104 114 114 118 128 138 140 141 148 151 155 155 164

The Constabulary as a Police Reserve ............ An Army Is Founded ..................

II.

THE PROVISIONAL

MILITARY

ADVISORY

GROUP

Transfer of Authority .................. .............. The Debate Over Withdrawal The Infang of the ROK Army .............. ........... The Expansion of the Advisory Group III. KMAG: THE INSTRUMENT AND THE CHALLENGE ................. Command Relationships ................. Internal Arrangements Operating Procedures .................. Special Problems .................... .......... IV. TRAINING THE ROK FORCES ROKA Organization and the Adoption of a Training .............. Obstacles to Training Progress Program

........... .......... V. STATUS QUO ANTE BELLUM .............. Military Assistance to the ROK The Opposing Forces .................. VI. THE COMING OF WAR .............. The First Assaults ................... The Fall of Seoul ................... Behind the Lines .................... ............... Efforts To Aid Stabilization VII. THE ROAD BACK ................. The Task of Reconstruction ............... ............... Replacements and Training The Aduisor in Combat ................. ..... : .......... VIII. THE TASK AHEAD The Growth of KMAG ................. Improving the ROK Army ................ vii

The School System ................... Other KMAG Advisory Responsibilities

Chapter

PCZgt

IX.

A FIRM

FOUNDATION

. . .

. .

Strengthening the School System . The Build-u@ of ROKA Suj$ort KMAG in Retrospect .
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL GLOSSARY INDEX NOTE

178 178 182 186 189 199 203

.

No. 1. KMAG
2. KMAG

Charts
Table of Distribution, Table of Distribution, 1949 March 1951

.

49 165

Tables
1. United States Military Advisory Group to the Republic of Korea 2. KMAG Strength, July 1950 Through September 1951 50 161

Maps I.
The North Korean Invasion, 25-28 June 1950

.

.

.

.

. faces

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Illustrations
Dr. Rhee, Dr. Kim Koo, and General Hodge ..... Constabulary Group Training With 81-mm. Mortar Captain KMAG Korean Hausman Signal Cavalry Advisor

.

................. ............... .................. .......

.

General Roberts Inspects Arms ........... Korean Police Arrest a Communist Rioter Cal. Min Ki Sik and Major Clark 38th Parallel in the Kaesong Area Colonel Wright .................. KMAG General Recruits KMAG Colonel Korean KMAG Group Leaving Seoul Farrell .................. for the ROK Army

.......... ..........

............ ............
Engineer Platoon

G-2 Advisor Briefs ROK Champeny ................ Students at Fort Benning Artillery Advisor Watches

.

...........
ROK Soldiers

...
of Defense files.

8 31 41 59 68 71 74 86 108 119 129 138 145 157 173 180 183

All pictures

in this volume are from Department
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...