No Gun Ri: A Military History of the Korean War Incident

Article excerpt

No Gun Ri: A Military History of the Korean War Incident by Robert L. Bateman. Stackpole Books (http://www.stackpolebooks.com), 5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 17055-- 6921, 2002, 288 pages, $22.95.

In 1999 a trio of Associated Press (AP) investigative reporters collaborated on a series of articles that garnered them a Pulitzer prize. These articles purported to tell the previously unknown story of how US soldiers followed orders in gunning down hundreds of South Korean civilians on 26 July 1950 as they hid under and around a railroad bridge near the village of No Gun Ri. These startling revelations spurred the Army's inspector general to launch an investigation to determine the facts. These same reporters also produced a book entitled The Bridge at No Gun Ri: A Hidden Nightmare from the Korean War (2001). The only problem with the articles and the book is that the events they describe did not happen!

Robert L. Bateman presents a compelling and conclusive case about how one man's war story can be spun into a national scandal. He shows that the four main sources for the AP stories were not even present at the events they related and that the incident was faked from start to finish. He notes how three of the sources probably assimilated the story from the main source, who not only didn't participate in the events, but also had been impersonating an officer since the 1980s. Furthermore, he had created a military record of heroism designed to place him in the company of legitimate combat heroes. …