Book Title: Korea: Traces of a forgotten war.
Author: James N. Butcher
Publisher: Hellgate Press

About this Book

   The main goal of this book is to provide a description of the combat experiences of an infantryman with Fox Company of the 17th Infantry Regiment during the final year of the Korean War (1952-1953). The book describes trench warfare in the mountainous Korean terrain under extreme weather conditions. Life on the front line vacillated between boredom and severe weather challenges; between the sudden life threatening enemy attacks and our assaults on enemy positions on Korean hills to retain our strategic place along the front line. In the descriptions of his experiences, the author provides a graphic portrayal of living conditions on the front and describes combat actions that occurred.

   The events described here are likely representative of what many American combat infantrymen went through during the later months of the Korean War. Daily life under battle conditions is clearly described. The challenges that can occur in frozen or rainy, mud-soaked conditions are detailed and the frequent artillery barrages and hill assaults are described. One of the major military activities of the Korean War was combat patrol action deep into “no man’s land” as illustrated in the topic chosen for the Korean War Memorial monument in Washington D.C. to commemorate the contribution of American servicemen in the war. Reconnaissance patrols and challenging combat patrols were major activities for maintaining the hardiness of front line positions.

   This book highlights Fox Company’s engagement in two major battles of this period—the Battle for Jane Russell Hill (a part of Triangle Ridge) and the first Battle of Pork Chop Hill. Both actions involved great loss of life for Chinese and American troops during this period of the war when great political turmoil was occurring at the peace talks between the United Nations and communist delegations at the Panmunjom Peace Talks, efforts to bring the war to a close.

   Even though this book was not intended as a history of the Korean War it is a careful documentation of war time experiences that occurred in the last year of the war, a period that has not been well documented in books and articles, and provides readers with graphic descriptions of those front line actions and two major battles of the times.

   The final chapter of this book contains a discussion of the Korean War from a veteran’s perspective and aims to shed light on the meaning of the Korean War and how it has been described. An effort was made to provide a perspective on some of the lingering questions some people have about the Korean War such as how the war began, how it evolved into a “limited” engagement, whether the war was won or lost, what value might have accrued from the war efforts, and how the results of the war likely impacted the Korean people.