Of all the operations in combat, nothing quite captures the imagination as an amphibious assault. The armada of warships laden with men and stores. Waves of air strikes to soften up shore defenses. The thud of naval guns laying down a curtain of cover. Grim-faced troops emerging from the bellies of transports and going over the side. The air thick with the smell of cordite from spent shells. Landing craft circling in the chop until a prearranged signal sends them across a line of departure. Men with rifles, wondering what awaits on land, scurrying ashore when the gates drop.
So it was at Inchon, Douglas MacArthur's master stroke, the last great sea-air-land operation, the signature moment of American can-do achievement in Korea.
Above: Gen. MacArthur and staff watch the naval and aerial bombardment of Inchon from the flag bridge of the U.S.S. McKinley as a new American offensive kicks off. September 1950.