|▲ Masan Defense Combat Commemoration Society / President Daegyu Bae|
[Masan Defense Combat]
Formerly a city, Masan, along with Jinhae, is now part of Changwon. Nestled in the southwestern tips of the Korean Peninsula, three cities laid out from the west to the east: (Msan) – Changwon – (Jinhae) – Gimhae – Busan. It is only around 50km from Masan to Busan. During the Korean War, the Communist North pushed back the Capitalist South to the borders covering from Masan to Busan. Among many battles, the Masan Defense Combat was one of the longest and the most desperate combats recorded. The history of Korea might have changed completely from where we are today if the combat was failed. Regretfully, not many documents are remained about the combat. But a war veteran Daegyu Bae dug up the scattered records of the combat no matter how trivial it seemed to let people know that there was this combat. The combat took place for 60 days around the Jinjeon-myeon area of Masan from August 1 to September 30, 1950. The holder of the Sobuk Mountain had been changed 19 times during which around 5,000 soldiers of both sides were killed. If the blue forces were defeated, the UN troops might have struggled to unload soldiers and weapons on the harbor of Masan.
Daegyu Bae is President of the Masan Defense Combat Commemoration Society. He was born in Jinhae and watched cannonballs flew over his head when he was a middle school student. When Vietnam War broke out, he participated as a fight surgeon during his service as a lieutenant senior grade. Back in South Korea, he retired from the military and opened a medical clinic. He wrote essay in a spare time and had a chance to read ‘The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat (2009)’ from which he started collecting records about the Korean War. In 2014, he translated ‘Battle of Chosin Reservoir’ aka the Battle of Lake Jangjin during which he felt a strong sense of duty to write the Masan Defense Combat that resulted in the largest number of the victims during the Korean War. For the next two and a half years, he collected documents about the combat alongside excavations of the sites. The documents were sent to the Marine Corps Military Institute for historical research. ‘Finding Routes of Masan Defense Combat’ eventually was published in 2018. He soon obtained information that the U.S. National Archives Museum has the documents about the combat. He asked the U.S. Naval Commander in Jinahe to write a letter for him and he sent the letter to the Museum and received 500 pages of A4 size battle logs of the 25th Infantry Division in South Korea. For the next 3 years, he had stuck to translating the 500 page battle logs alongside excavating empty shells on the battle fields with metal detector in cooperation with the people in the same mind. “It is regretful that the Masan Defense Combat is not even included in the 60 battles of the Korean War picked by the Ministry of National Defense. So I launched the Masan Defense Combat Commemoration Society in August this year to let people know about this important combat and to pay a respect by erecting a memorial hall” says Bae. (PowerKorea)
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