Freedom Fighters: Ivy Raborn - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: Ivy Raborn


The Korean War, which lasted from June 25, 1950 until June 27, 1953, is often called "The Forgotten War."

But to the families of the 33,652 servicemen who lost their lives in Korea. It's a war that will never be forgotten. Ivy Raborn is one of the lucky ones who came back from the war unharmed.

On June 25, 1950, the North Korean Army organized, equipped and abetted by the Soviet Union, lunged across the 38th parallel to attack its countrymen to the south.

Unprepared as we were for war, President Truman committed U.S. Armed Forces to the defense of South Korea. Simultaneously, the UN Security Council called upon member nations to do likewise. Twenty other nations heeded the call, with fifteen sending combat troops and five providing medical support.

"I went from a private to a master sergeant," Rayborn recalled.

Ivey Raborn was 18 when he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1950. He was trained as a tail gunner on B-52 bombers, left over from WWII.

"They wanted me because I was a small guy," he said.

Raborn was stationed on Okinawa, where a strategic airport had been built in WWII, after a costly battle to take the island from the Japanese. However, Raborn wasn't able to board the B-52s for the bombing missions he had been trained for.

When it was discovered he was color blind, Raborn was grounded, while others flew those dangerous missions.

"They'd be there one day and the next day they'd be gone...some of them got killed and some of them didn't," he remembered.

Mortality rates were high, as the North Korean offensive drove the defenders to the southwest corner of the peninsula. A stout defense and a brilliant amphibious landing allowed the U.N. forces to advance north and recapture the capital city of Seoul.  Massive intervention by Chinese communist forces, altered the nature of the war once again. But by March of 1951, UN Forces had fought back to the 38th Parallel, and by July 1953, a military armistice agreement was forged.

"I stayed over about nine months."

Although the Korean War is often referred to as "The Forgotten War," over 33,000 servicemen were killed in battle with over 150,000 wounded. Raborn knows he was lucky not to be among those casualties. Although many of his friends and men he had trained with were killed or wounded.

"Lots of people didn't make it back and that's what bothered me."

Raborn returned home, married and attended college on the G.I. Bill. When describing his service during the Korean War, Ivey Raborn says he feels good that he got the opportunity to serve his country.

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