Members of the panel include a former congressman, a historian, a former ambassador to Korea, a journalist and three retired officers, including the former commander of U.S. and U.N. forces in Korea.
Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon announced the panel as a third arm of an investigation into the allegations.
Accounts by American veterans and South Korean villagers alleged that U.S. soldiers killed up to 400 civilian refugees at No Gun Ri, a South Korean hamlet, in the early weeks of the war.
The outside experts will have an opportunity to consult with and receive updates from Army investigators and a senior Defense Department panel overseeing the inquiry, Bacon said. They held their first meeting with Defense Secretary William Cohen just before the announcement.
The group will enable the Pentagon and the Army "to receive a variety of perspective and insights on this particularly sensitive and important matter," Bacon said.
Members of the panel are:
- Former Republican Rep. Pete McCloskey of California, a former presidential candidate who opposed the Vietnam War. He is a highly decorated Korean War veteran.
- Donald P. Gregg, former U.S. ambassador to Korea, now chairman of the Korean Society in New York City.
- Don Oberdorfer, journalist and author of a book on Korea.
- Retired Army Gen. Robert W. Riscassi, former commander in chief of U.N. forces in Korea.
- Ernest May, history professor at Harvard University.
- Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, a Korean War veteran and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
- Retired Army Col. Young O. Kim, former U.S. commander in Korea who chairs a war memorial foundation in Los Angeles.