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Colombian Battalion
Batallón Colombia
Escudo del Batallón Colombia.svg
The Colombian Battalion insignia used during the Korean War (Army component)
Active 1951–54
Country Colombia
Allegiance  United Nations
Branch Colombian Army
Colombian Navy
Size 5,100
(over duration of war)
Engagements Operation Thunderbolt (1951)
Battle of Old Baldy

The Colombian Battalion was a Colombian Army Infantry battalion that served with the United Nations Command during the Korean War. The first Colombian military unit to serve in Asia, the Colombian Battalion was attached to the US 7th Infantry Division and 25th Infantry Divisions during the war. The Battalion was deployed from 1951 to 1954.[1][2]

Background[edit | edit source]

The election of President Laureano Gómez in 1950 sparked renewed interest in building up Colombian-American relations. In contrast to his predecessor, Gómez wanted greater U.S. economic support in exchange for direct involvement as an ally, and a means to erase any lingering impressions caused among U.S. policy makers of his previous attitude of anti-U.S. sentiment during the World Wars.[3] Gómez emphasised the United Nations security charter and the concept of a collective security system as the reasons for the deployment. The overall strength of the battalion was 5100 infantry soldiers and 300 Navy sailors on board the frigates ARC Almirante Padilla, ARC Capitán Tono, and ARC Almirante Brión.[4]

Korean War[edit | edit source]

Following the outbreak of the Korean War, the Colombian Battalion was deployed to Busan on 15 June 1951 under the command of Colonel Jaime Polanía Puyo.[1] The battalion participated in Operation Thunderbolt, the battle of Old Baldy, and the recapture of Geumseong.[5][6]

Casualties[edit | edit source]

The Colombian Battalion suffered men 163 killed in action, 448 wounded, 60 missing, and 30 captured over the course of the conflict.[2]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Saldaña, Juliana (2013-04-02). "Colombia's legacy with Korea | The City Paper Bogotá" (in en-US). https://thecitypaperbogota.com/features/colombias-legacy-with-korea/2974. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Coleman, Bradley Lynn (October 2005). "The Colombian Army in Korea, 1950–1954" (PDF). The Journal of Military History. Project Muse (Society for Military History). 69 (4): 1137–1177. doi:10.1353/jmh.2005.0215. ISSN 0899-3718.
  3. Bushnell, Davis The Making of Modern Colombia
  4. "Medal Hound". http://themedalhound.com/colombia/index.html. 
  5. United States Army Center of Military History, Korea 1951–1953, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1996, p. 278
  6. Guerra en Corea El Batallón Colombia" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on October 30, 2013

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