Imagine yourself in 1951, the Korean War raging on.

The brutal conflict often overshadowed by World War II and then later by the Vietnam War was a crucible of innovation and daring military maneuvers.

One such operation, often relegated to footnotes in history books, was Operation Tomahawk – a massive airborne assault with hundreds of paratroopers training down from the sky, aiming to disrupt enemy movement and turn the tide of the conflict.

Today, this daring operation stands as a testament to American paratrooper courage and adaptability.

A Turning Point in the Korean War

Nearly a year after the Korean War broke out, both sides had settled into a bloody stalemate until a successful push by United Nations allies in early 1951, forcing the communist North Korean and Chinese forces to regroup north of the 38th Parallel.

General Matthew Ridgway, the newly appointed commander of the Eighth US Army, recognized the need for a bold offensive strategy to break the deadlock and take control over Munsan-ni, a strategically vital area located northwest of Seoul near the Imjin River that could cripple the ability of the communist forces to launch further offensives.

The Rakkasans

Through General Ridgway, the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team—also known as the “Rakkasans” (Japanese for “falling parachute man“)—embarked on a perilous mission on the crisp morning of March 23rd, 1951.

Composed of over 3,400 elite paratroopers, Operation Tomahawk marked a significant moment in military history as the second and final large-scale airborne operation for the US during the Korean War.