Campaigns: UN Defensive; UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea, Summer-Fall 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea, Summer 1953
Decorations: Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered MASAN-CHINJU; Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered MUNSAN-NI
Commanders: MG William B. Kean (Aug 48-Feb 51); MG J. Sladen Bradley (Feb 51-Jul 51); MG Ira P. Swift (Jul 51-Jul 52); MG Samuel T. Williams (Jul 52-Jun 53); BG Louis T. Heath (Jun 53-Aug 53)
Service: The 25th Infantry Division, originally organized in 1941 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, was serving on occupation duty on the Japanese island of Honshu when the North Korean Communist forces invaded the Republic of Korea on 25 June 1950. The division was alerted the first week in July to prepare for movement to Korea, the advance party landing at Pusan on 8 July. The division headquarters arrived at Pusan on 12 July, and by 18 July the entire division was in Korea.
At that time the South Korean forces, as well as the US 24th Infantry Division, were falling back toward Pusan to form a defensive perimeter around the city and its essential port facilities. Elements of the division were placed in blocking positions in the Hwanggan-Sangju-Hamchang area, where they were heavily engaged beginning on 24 July. Despite a determined defense, the North Korean advance continued and the 25th was forced to pull back as the Pusan perimeter line solidified.
On 4 August the division was placed on the extreme left of the UN line, guarding the southern approaches to Pusan in the vicinity of Masan. During August and early September the division repulsed many intense enemy assaults, providing time to build up UN forces in the perimeter. On 16 September Eighth Army began an offensive to break out of the Pusan perimeter. After initially slow progress, the 25th Division advanced and captured Chinju on 25 September. Continuing the advance, the division began moving northwest, capturing Kunsan, on the west coast of Korea, on 30 September. The UN front then stretched from coast to coast across the Korean peninsula.
In October, as Eighth Army advanced up the peninsula, the 25th Division was employed in mopping-up operations to the rear. The division provided security for the transportation network and cleared out enemy troops bypassed in the rapid advance. Early in November the 25th Division was ordered north and assembled along the 38th Parallel with headquarters at Kaesong. There the 25th continued its campaign against bypassed enemy elements.
On 19 November the 25th Division moved north again, this time back into the front line north of P'yongyang near Anju. The division launched an offensive on 24 November, advancing against increasing resistance for two days. The Chinese Communists, however, had launched their first major offensive and smashed through the Eighth Army front to the right of the 25th Division, forcing the entire UN line to withdraw. The 25th began a series of delaying actions that carried it back to Kaesong by 8 December and behind the Imjin River by the 14th. A Communist attack on New Year's Day 1951 broke through the ROK 1st Division on the right flank of the 25th Division, making the 25th's positions untenable. A new defensive line was established in the vicinity of Ch'onan early in January, after the division fought rearguard actions to allow the evacuation of Seoul.
On 25 January UN forces returned to the offensive. The 25th Division reached the Han River to the southeast of Seoul on 19-20 February. On 7 March the 25th attacked across the Han and headed north, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. By the end of March the 25th Division held a line above the Hant'an River south of Ch'orwon, about 35 miles northeast of Seoul.
On 22 April the Chinese launched another offensive, again pushing the UN forces back. The 25th Division fell back through successive blocking positions to a line about five miles northeast of Seoul. There the division prepared for another UN offensive, which was launched on 20 May 1951. The 25th progressed through a series of planned phase lines, crossed the 38th Parallel, and captured the "Iron Triangle" town of Kumhwa by the middle of June. On 21 June the 25th Division was relieved by the 3d Infantry Division and placed in reserve near Uijongbu, where it prepared positions along a secondary defensive line and conducted training and rear area security missions.
When armistice negotiations began on 10 July 1951, the war entered a new stage. The lines became static, with limited objective attacks and probing tank-infantry patrols replacing sweeping offensives. In mid-July the 25th Division returned to the front line, and by the end of the month was in its previous positions in the Ch'orwon-Kumhwa area. The division occupied these positions until mid-December, conducting frequent patrols and several company-sized raids to destroy enemy bunkers. The division also improved its own defensive positions. Artillery bombardments of enemy lines and ambushes of enemy patrols were also common activities.
In mid-December the 2d Infantry Division relieved the 25th, which then moved into reserve near Kapyong. There the division was engaged in training activities and in maintaining the secondary defensive line. Divisional elements were also provided for front line duties and rear area security missions as needed. On 23 February 1952 the 25th Division returned to the front line in the center of the X Corps sector near Mundung-ni northeast of the Hwach'on Reservoir. The division resumed the front line routine of patrols, ambushes, artillery exchanges, and bunker maintenance. The division also secured and defended forward outposts beyond the main line of resistance.
On 21 October 1952 the 25th Division was relieved by the 40th Infantry Division and returned to reserve positions near Kapyong. Following a brief training period the 25th was recommitted to the front in the IX Corps sector on 12 November, returning to its old section of the line around Kumhwa. In December boundary adjustments moved the division's zone slightly westward. The division continued aggressive patrolling and ambush operations until the end of January 1953 when it was relieved by the 3d Infantry Division. The 25th Division command post was set up at Yongp'yong and the division began intensive training. Divisional elements, particularly artillery and armor, continued to provide support to front line organizations.
On 5 May 1953 the 25th Division returned to the line, this time on the extreme left of the UN front near Munsan-ni. The division sector extended from the Kimpo peninsula northwest of Seoul to an area near Korangp'o-ri above the Imjin River. In the last days of May an enemy assault four battalions strong struck the right of the division sector. Outposts in the area changed hands several times during two costly days of battle, until the division was ordered to relinquish the forward hills to avoid further casualties. On 8 July the 25th was relieved by the 1st Marine Division and went into reserve, where it remained when the armistice became effective on 27 July 1953.