(November 1950 – May 1958)
On the 25th of June 1950, South Korea was invaded by forces of North Korea, followed by an invasion from Chinese forces. This resulted to the intervention of the U.N., that decreed the establishment of an international armed force, in order to intercept the hostile activities in the area and secure the independence of South Korea.
In response to the UN Security Council request, dated 29 June 1950, on providing military assistance, the following U.N. member–states provided Land, Naval and Air-Force forces: Ethiopia, Australia, Belgium, France, Greece, USA, Canada, Colombia, Luxemburg, U.K., New Zealand, South Africa, The Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey, and Philippines. Denmark, India, Italy, Norway and Sweden allocated medical units and personnel. All units were under US command.
PARTICIPATION OF THE HELLENIC FORCES:
Greece, as a U.N. member-state responded immediately and sent the Hellenic Expeditionary Corps to Korea, in November 1950. Initially, the Corps was composed of the Command HQ and a Battalion of total strength of 851 men, with 63 vehicles, during the period from the 8th of November 1950 to the 22 th of August 1951.
The Hellenic Force was augmented to 1063 men, from the 23 th of August 1951 to December 1953, and after the armistice signing, from January 1954 to May 1955, it totaled to 2163 men.
The strength of the Hellenic Expeditionary Corps was reduced to 850 men in April 1955 and to 191 men during the period from July to December 1955. Finally, a team of one (1) officer and nine (9) soldiers remained in Korea from January 1956 to May 1958.
On the 13th of October 1950, the 13th Air Transport Flight with nine (9) C-97D Dakota/Skytrain transport aircraft was established. On the 11th of November 1950, the 13th Air Transport Flight took off with destination to reach Korea following the route Elephsis Greece – Saudi Arabia – Pakistan –India -Thailand – India – China – The Philippines – Okinawa. It landed on Itazuki air base at Kyushu, Japan on the 1 th of December 1950 and was subordinated to 21st Squadron of 374 Transport Wing to participate in the operations.
The Flight carried out the following missions: material and supplies transportation to forwarded areas at the front, personnel, casualties’ evacuation, prisoners of war, ammunition and supplies drops onto advanced or cut off units and Post delivery. Also, reconnaissance missions inside the hostile territory, night flights over enemy areas to make announcements for purposes of propaganda and assist friendly combating units with projectiles. Operations were conducted under any weather condition, day and night.
At the end of March 1955, the Flight was ordered to return to Greece. It took off on the 8 th of May and arrived in Greece on the 23 th of May 1955.
The Flight conducted 2.916 missions, making 13.777 flight hours during which 70.568 passengers were transported, 9243 wounded and 1.1104.550 libr. of material were carried and 17000 libr. of supplies were dropped.
During operations, 15 officers and 168 soldiers, as well as 12 cadres of the Hellenic Air Force were killed in action, while 33 officers and 577 soldiers were wounded. The Air Force lost four (4) a/c, out of the nine (9) totally allocated.
The Hellenic Expeditionary Corps was awarded a Citation and Commendation for bravery by the US President and the President of the Republic of Korea. The US Government awarded six War Crosses for Distinguished Service, 32 Silver Stars, 110 Bronze Stars and 19 Air Medals to men of the 13th Transport Flight.
South Korea in gratitude to the Hellenic Expeditionary Corps built at Youtzou Kioun Gi Do (the famous Valley of Heroes), near Seoul, a majestic monument for the Greek soldiers who fell in action. A plaque bears the inscription: “These brave soldiers of Greece fulfilled the felicity emanating from freedom which emanates from bravery. Honor and Glory to the fallen warriors”.