Lest We Forget
Since 1910 the Empire of Japan had ruled Korea. After the war in Europe had concluded and the Japanese surrender following Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Russia kept its promise to its allies and declared war on Japan and invaded Korea taking the North in August of 1945 and stopping at the 38th Parallel on the 28th of that month. The United States took the South, and both nations effectively pushed Japan out of Korea. On 8 September 1945, Lt. Gen. John R. Hodge accepted Japan’s surrender of Korea at Inchon.
On 15 August 1948 the Republic of Korea was founded, ruling South Korea while the Soviet backed Communist North Korea ruled the North. Both sides wanted Korea to be whole again but even to this day can’t decide who should rule. But gradually things mellowed to the point that the Russians withdrew their troops in 1948 and the United States in 1949.
During this time the Chinese Civil War went on until 2 October 1949, when Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China, without US involvement. Kim Il-sung thought it would be a good time to invade the South, and went to Russia to petition Josef Stalin for Russian aid. At first Stalin was against it, but after Russia detonated its first nuclear bomb “Joe One” in September of 1949, he changed his mind.
On 24 December of 1949 the Mungyeong Massacre occurred when the 2nd and 3rd platoons of 7th company, 3rd battalion, 25th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division of the South Korean Army attacked unarmed citizens that they thought were communist sympathizers. The majority of the 86 to 88 dead were children and elderly. This didn’t help matters.
14 January 1950 Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, which would be a problem later on, but on 25 June 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea, and a day later reached the outskirts of Seoul. On 27 June Truman committed US Naval and Air support, and two days later Gen. Douglas McArthur flew to Suwon to South Korean Headquarters.
The following day Truman decided to give McArthur 2 Divisions, but on the 2nd of July the North Korean People’s Army took Suwon. So in September American amphibious forces landed at Inchon, cutting off North Korean forces. And in October China entered the war. During the war Seoul changed hands four times, making living there difficult to say the least. It is in Seoul that this story takes place.
Our story involves two Criminal Investigations Warrant Officers in Seoul in April of 1953. The one with the most experience is Warrant Officer 3 Al Lutz, a former New York City cop that joined the Army. The other, his new partner is Warrant Officer 1 Jerome Borden, a young black man with a family history of service to the United States. They have been partners for just a month, but have come to trust each other without a doubt.
On this particular day they were called before the Captain to receive a new assignment. Most of the assignments in and around Seoul had been about drunken soldiers damaging something. The biggest assignment was a rape accusation that Lutz handled before he got a partner.