The 434th and Korea, 1950 - 1953

At the end of World War II in 1945, Russia accepted the surrender of the Japanese forces north of the 38th parallel, and the United States south of that latitude. As the United States' attention to Europe increased, its interest in the Far East diminished. The Truman administration withdrew the bulk of U.S. forces from Korea on June 30, 1949. A military advisory group of about 500 men remained to complete the instruction of the 65,000-man Republic of Korea Army. The United States wanted the South Korean force to be strong enough to repel an invasion from the north, but not so strong to attempt attacking North Korea. North of the 38th parallel, the Soviets had created the North Korean Army of 135,000 trained men equipped with heavy arms, armor, and aircraft.

In January 1950, six months after the United States had removed the bulk of its military forces, Secretary of State Dean Acheson publicly excluded Korea from from the U.S. defensive perimeter in the Far East. This gave the North Koreans some reason to believe the United States would not intervene in a Korean civil war.

The North Koreans launched a full-scale attack on the Republic of Korea on June 25, 1950. On June 27, President Truman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff authorized General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of the U.S. Far East Command, to commit U.S. Naval and air forces to the defense of the Republic of Korea. At this point in time, the U.S military was in a depleted state in terms of training and manning, and the top military planners were looking heavily toward the reserves for the buildup.

The Department of Defense announced on January 18, 1951 that twenty-one Air Force Reserve combat wings would be recalled to active duty between March 1 and May 15. This included four light bomber wings and seventeen troop carrier wings. The 434th Troop Carrier Wing (TCW) at Atterbury AFB, Indiana was activated on May 1, 1951. The 434th TCW was one of ten wings that was mobilized and retained in tact for essential augmentation in time of crisis, and performed their roles well in the first post World War II test of the Air Force Reserve. The 434th served at Atterbury AFB, IN until being reassigned to Lawson AFB, GA on 23 Jan 1952, and was released from active duty on 1 Feb 1953.

Between July1950 and June 1953, the Continental Air Command processed 146,683 Air Force Reservists and 46,413 from the Air National Guard.


9th Troop Carrier Command | Evolution of the 434th in WW II | Korea 1950 - 1953

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