On June 25, 1950 the Korean War began when North Korean communist forces attacked the Republic of Korea along the 38th parallel, the division line between the two countries that had been established after World War Two. In order to stem the spread of Communism and protect assets in Asia, the United States Congress, at the request of President Harry Truman, consented to commit 12 billion dollars for military action in Korea. A United Nations force consisting of South Korea, the United States and Great Britain fought the forces of North Korea, Russia and China. 54,000 Americans died during the three-year war. In the fall of 1950 the 252nd Truck Company, an Alabama National Guard unit that was based in Hamilton, Ala., was called up for deployment to Korea. The unit operated in support of the Second Infantry Division of the United States Army. My cousin Joel Palmer was a member of the 252nd. I visited him today and he showed me his scrapbook of photos, memorabilia and newspaper clippings. The scrapbook consists of photos that he and his fellow soldiers made with personal cameras. They would then have the rolls of film developed while on leave in Japan. Afterwords they would often trade photos with one another, he said. You can see a gallery of those scrapbook photos below.
Michael E. Palmer is a writer and photographer based in Alabama.
He can be reached at email@example.com