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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]

Colombian Battalion
Batallón Colombia
Escudo del Batallón Colombia.svg
The Colombian Battalion insignia used during the Korean War (Army component)
Active1951–54
Country Colombia
Allegiance United Nations
BranchColombian Army
Colombian Navy
Size5,100
(over duration of war)
EngagementsOperation Thunderbolt (1951)
Battle of Old Baldy
Battle of Triangle Hill

BackgroundEdit

The election of President Laureano Gómez in 1950 sparked renewed interest in building up Colombian-American relations. 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. and pro-Germany sentiment during the World Wars.[3] Gómez emphasized 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 WarEdit

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, the Battle of Triangle Hill and the recapture of Geumseong.[5][6] The Battle of Old Baldy was particular notable for the battalion, as during the fighting over 20% of the unit's deployed strength were either killed or wounded.[7]


CasualtiesEdit

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

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Saldaña, Juliana (2013-04-02). "Colombia's legacy with Korea | The City Paper Bogotá". The City Paper Bogotá. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  2. ^ a b 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". themedalhound.com. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  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
  7. ^ United States Army Center of Military History, Korea 1951–1953, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1996, p. 278