By Walter T. Ham IV, Eighth Army Public AffairsSeptember 16, 2013
WAEGWAN, South Korea (Sept. 16, 2013) -- Eighth Army honored the Soldiers who defended the Pusan Perimeter during the 63rd anniversary of the Nakdong River Battle.
Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux and Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Devens marked the anniversary here, Sept. 13.
An anniversary ceremony was held along the southern bank of the Nakdong River, at the site where the battle occurred about three hours south of Seoul.
Addressing more than 10,000 veterans, families, residents and students, Champoux said the Soldiers who held the line at the Pusan Perimeter kept South Korea from being completely overrun by invading communist forces.
Champoux said Eighth Army troops faced long odds in 1950, when they were boxed into a 50-mile-wide by 80-mile-long perimeter in the southeastern corner of the Korean Peninsula.
News reporters referred to the defensive perimeter behind the Nakdong River as the "Pusan Perimeter" since the river was the last natural obstacle between invading enemy forces and the cities of Daegu and Pusan.
"UN forces were surrounded on three sides with their back to the sea," said Champoux, adding that United Nations troops were "under constant assault while reinforcements arrived from the U.S. and other nations."
Champoux credited former Eighth Army Commander Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker with leading the successful defense of the Pusan Perimeter.
"UN forces used the defensive perimeter to block enemy forces and force them into mountain passes and onto main roads," said Champoux. "Walker and his troops used Korea's mountainous terrain to defeat the enemy in detail and keep them outside of the perimeter."
Champoux said the Nakdong River Battle had a special significance for him. In addition to commanding Eighth Army, Champoux led the 25th Infantry Division and 27th Infantry Regiment, two of the main combat formations that helped Eighth Army to win the Nakdong River Battle.
The Eighth Army commander told the Korean War veterans that they had saved South Korea from the dismal fate of their northern neighbors.
"UN forces helped to rescue the Republic of Korea from communist tyranny by holding the line and repelling the invading enemy forces," said Champoux.
Champoux said American and South Korean troops continued to hold the line in Korea today by deterring aggression on the Korean Peninsula and maintaining stability in the Asia Pacific region.
"We have the honor of upholding the legacy of the Soldiers who fought here during the Korean War," said Champoux. "While recognizing the brave Soldiers who won the Battle of the Nakdong River, we continue to proudly defend liberty on Freedom's Frontier."