Washington State supplied manpower and all manner of materiel in the Korean War. The first
stateside troops, from Fort Lewis, arrived at the Pusan Perimeter in late July 1950 as communist
forces advanced. In a “stand or die” posture, the Second Infantry Division helped reverse the course
of the war.
President Truman called up Marine Corps Reserves from Aberdeen to Atlanta. At Bremerton, the
Naval Shipyard doubled its workforce and reactivated aircraft carriers. U.S. Air Force and Canadian
units based at McChord Air Force Base airlifted supplies and troops. B-29 bomber crews based at
Spokane deployed for combat.
Madigan Army Hospital sent some of the first nurses. It became a major stateside treatment center
for badly wounded soldiers.
An estimated 122,000 Washingtonians fought in Korea; 472 never returned. In all, some 7,800
American soldiers remain MIA.
After the conflict, North Korea became an isolated dictatorship. South Korea emerged as a global
manufacturing power and one of our state’s leading partners in international trade.
More than 100,000 people of Korean ancestry eventually settled in Washington. For many of them
and thousands of other families here, “the forgotten war” will be long remembered.