Sometimes a picture tells less than 1,000 words

(Photo Credit: State Department via U.S. Army)

(Photo Credit: State Department via U.S. Army)

Here we see an image of a typical late 1940s/early 1950s U.S. anti-tank team with a 75mm M20 recoilless rifle. Fielded by March 1945, the M20 saw limited service in WWII, but did yeomen work in Korea and in the early days of Vietnam. The three-man team looks pretty standard: M1 combat helmets sans covers, OD uniforms to include M1943 field jackets, leather holstered M1911 and M1 Carbine with buttstock mag pouch for sidearms. The mountains could be the hills of Georgia or North Carolina, or they could be West Germany…or Korea.

Speaking of which, Ethiopia was the first nation in Africa to contribute a complete unit of ground troops to the UN Korean command– the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Kagnew Battalions. The names of the three Ethiopian gunners from Addis Ababa preparing to fire a 75mm recoilless rifle are, from left to right: Cpl. Alema Welde, Cpl. Chanllo Bala and Sgt. Maj. Bogale Weldeynse.

Formed from the Royal Guards division of the Imperial Ethiopian Army, the Kagnew Battalions drew their name from Haile Selassie’s father’s warhorse. They served alongside the U.S. 7th Infantry Division suffering 121 dead and 536 wounded during the course of the conflict. They had none of their members counted among the captured. In general serving one-year tours (with several men serving two or more), some 3,158 Ethiopians served in Kagnew Battalions from 1951-54.

“We knew there was going to be sacrifice. But this sacrifice was not for nothing. It was for peace and liberty,” Col. Melesse Tessema, an Ethiopian veteran of the Korean War, said in a 2010 interview. “My friends, they gave their lives for history and for the freedom of human beings.”

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