Seventy-two years after the 24th Infantry Division began the defense of Daejeon, South Korea, the city held its annual Battle of Daejeon remembrance ceremony July 19, 2022.
Brig. Gen. Mark Holler, Eighth Army deputy commanding general - operations, represented the command amongst city leaders, Republic of Korea military officers and Korean War Veterans. Holler also spoke at the ceremony, which was held inside the city hall building. Music was provided by the Eighth Army Band.
Holler joined other distinguished guests, including Daejeon mayor Lee Jang-woo, in a walk to the Monument for Patriotic Heroes at Boramae Park in front of city hall in an additional outdoor ceremony where flowers and incense were burned before the main portion of the remembrance ceremony.
Afterwards, participants toured the "Summer of 1952, Daejeon" artwork, which displayed about 30 color photos taken in Daejeon by a U.S. Army master sergeant during the Korean War.
Mayor Lee Jang-woo said, "The battle that reversed the flow of the Korean War was Gen. MacArthur's Incheon Landing Operation, but without the Battle of Daejeon, it was difficult to form a defense line for the Nakdong River and Incheon Landing Operation. We respect and appreciate the noble dedication of the U.S. Soldiers who sacrificed to protect freedom and protect world peace, and we will spread the historical significance of the Battle of Daejeon to the public."
On July 19, 1950, the 24th Infantry Division began its defense of Daejeon. Deploying to Korea from Japan, the division lacked an understanding of the geographical condition and shape of the Korean peninsula and the status of the North Korean Army.
While fierce battles continued under such difficult conditions, 24th ID was attacked from all directions with the southward roads from Daejeon cut off. The U.S. Soldiers fought bravely, including the division commander himself, Maj. Gen. William Frishe Dean, launching a 3.5 inch rocket at an enemy tank.
Despite a retreat order from above, Dean tried to defend Daejeon along with his troops up to the very end. As Daejeon was captured by the enemy and the U.S. 24th Division fell apart, he failed to retreat and was captured by the enemy.
The North Korean Army's infantry unit did not suffer heavy losses but the artillery and the armor unit suffered a significant amount of casualties.