No Gun Ri

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No Gun Ri
Korean name
Hangul 노근리
Hanja 老斤里

No Gun Ri is a village in central South Korea. It was the site of an incident during the Korean War in which U.S. soldiers shot and killed an undetermined number of Korean refugees.

In July 26-29, 1950, soldiers of the 7th Cavalry Regiment fired warning shots at a group of refugees trying to cross the military line. The refugees were fleeing before the advancing North Korean forces. The soldiers feared that North Koreans in disguise might be among the refugees. The incident gained international attention as a result of a report by Charles Hanley published by the Associated Press in September 1999.[1] This story quoted nine U.S. soldiers, including Ed Daily, who claimed that he machine gunned refugees and could, "still hear their cries, the little kids screaming."[2] The AP won the Pulitzer Prize for this story in 2000. U.S. President Bill Clinton issued a statement of regret in January 2001.[3]

Daily, as well as three other U.S. soldiers quoted by the AP, were later exposed as frauds who were never even present at No Gun Ri.[4] Numerous media reports included the claim that up to 400 refugees were killed. The original AP story cites a North Korean newspaper report as the source of this claim.[5] In 2001, the U.S. military responded to the AP account with a report that included a high resolution aerial photograph taken on August 6, 1950.[6] There is no indication of bodies or of a mass grave in the photo, debunking the North Korean claim that hundreds of bodies were left lying around after the incident.[6]

Major Robert Bateman, a U.S. infantry officer whose book on No Gun Ri was published in 2002, estimated that between eight and thirty-five Korean refugees were killed.[7] Although the AP story claimed that the refugees were unarmed, Bateman found U.S. Army records indicating that a rifle and a submachine gun were retrieved in the area.[7] Bateman also argues that the stories Daily told at veteran's meetings contaminated the memories of authentic witnesses.[8] Some veterans even insisted that they remembered Daily at No Gun Ri, although Daily has since confessed he was never there.[8] Bateman's book won the Colby Award in 2004.

Hanley responded that the bodies might not have been visible if they were placed under a bridge and covered with dirt.[8] However, the aerial photo shows no major ground dislocation, so there is no obvious place where the dirt needed could have come from.[8] Although the site was carefully excavated by a South Korean archeologist in 2007, no human remains have ever been found.[9]

In 2007, the South Korean government announced that it would build a $20 million "No Gun Ri History Park" in the village by 2009.[10]

See also

Korean War


  1. Choe, Sang-hun, and Charles Hanley, Ex-GIs Tell AP of Korea Killings, Sept. 30, 1999.
  2. Bateman, Robert L., No Gun Ri: a Military History of the Korean War Incident, pp. 137.
  3. Clinton, Bill, "No Gun Ri: Clinton's Statement", January 11, 2001.
  4. Bateman, pp. 134-35.
  5. GI Korea (2007-01-14). Controversies of the Korean War: The Tragedy at No Gun-ri - Part #2. ROK DROP Blog. Retrieved on 2007-04-14.
  6. 6.0 6.1 U.S. Department of Army Inspector General (2001). Report of the No Gun Ri Review. Retrieved on 2006-07-15.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bateman, p. 120.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Greer, Judith, "What really happened at No Gun Ri?", Salon, June 3, 2002
  9. "Search for remains of Nogeun-ri massacre likely to end with no remains found", Yonhap, Aug. 22, 2007.
  10. SKorea to Build No Gun Ri Park Memorial"

Further reading

  • Bateman, Robert (2002). No Gun Ri: A Military History of the Korean War Incident. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-1763-1
  • Hanley, Charles J.; Choe, Sang-Hun; Mendoza, Martha (2001). The Bridge at No Gun Ri: A Hidden Nightmare from the Korean War. Henry Holt & Company. ISBN 0-8050-6658-6.
  • No Gun Ri Both the original AP story and a rebuttal.