Reactionaries

Dad (Franklin Jack Chapman) has always talked about how they were considered “Reactionaries” in camp. I asked Dad to write down some of the things they had done to be called “reactionary”. Here are his remembrances. – Cindy Chapman I was captured on November 30th, 1950. I finally arrived at Camp One where I met Dick Raby, Dick Rook and several others. It was late 1951 when I arrived at Camp One, Company 7. Dick Raby was already there. During early spring 1952, several of us formed an organization that called itself the “True Americans” better known to the Chinese as the “Reactionaries”. We made plans for escapes and organized other resistances. One of our protests was to refuse to stand in the freezing cold and be forced to listen to the Communists and their damn lectures. One cold morning, right after we were called out for roll call, several of us broke ranks and ran back to our huts and we refused to return to the formation. This action caused many of our inmates to break ranks and run to their huts. In April 1952, we were informed by the Chinese that we would be marching in a May Day parade that was to travel through the center of town (Chang Song). Our group passed the word around to those we could trust and told them not to march in the parade and everyone agreed. I recall, it was some time around May 1952, when the Chinese finally gave us new clothing. Around May or June, they said we were going to march in the May 1, 1952 May Day parade, the Chinese Herded us onto the main road for the parade. We were all dressed in our new Dress Blues that the Chinese had issued a short time before. When they saw what we had done (painted POW across the back of the jacket/shirts – this was Luis Lugo’s idea), they became extremely upset and began lecturing us about the destruction of the clothing. (note from Cindy: they used berries to paint POW on the back of their shirts, and wore their jackets over the shirts. When they got in line and started marching, they took the jackets off.) There were several other incidents which took place in Company Seven and Company Four. One was helping to break a fellow out of confinement. Here’s what Dick Raby...
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POW interviews air on C-Span 3

C-Span3 is airing interviews conducted for the Korean War Veterans Digital Memorial by Jongwoo Han, president of the Korean War Legacy Foundation. The interviews are also available online (click on the POW name for the interview): Charles Ross Clifford Petrey Sal Conte A full set of interviews with Korean War Veterans can be found at the Korean War Veterans Digital Memorial...
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POW Experience of Joe Annello

On the 22nd of April 1951, my unit, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regimental Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, entered into defensive positions along what was identified as “The Kansas Line” adjacent to the Imjim River. Hershey(Hiroshi) Miyamura, the squad leader of the second squad and myself, the squad leader of the first squad, machine gun platoon were sent to a hill and attached to support “Easy” (E) Company. In coordination with the E Company Commander, we placed our two Heavy(water cooled) and two light machine guns (air cooled) intermingled with E company riflemen in positions to give us the best possible field of fire. The morning of the 24th of April 1950, the Battalion Intelligence Office told Hershey and I that the British Marines urgently needed help. Since there was no reported enemy activity to our immediate front and none expected in the foreseeable future, they were pulling all the riflemen out to assist the British Marines a few miles to the North West of our current positions. After E Company riflemen pulled out, that left Hershey’s and my squad, 22 men with four machine guns on the hill covering a couple of hundred yards. But, even with no enemy contact expected, it left Hershey and I more than I a little concerned. We instituted the one man on alert in each fox hole for the evening. Not long after dark, we were hit with an overwhelming force of Chinese soldiers. They had infiltrated to our rear and completely enveloped our positions through the many unoccupied positions that were previously covered by E Company troops. To say that things were hectic would be a gross understatement. We were being challenged from all sides by superior forces. There was a lot of close in fighting, man to man, thankfully, we had plenty of stocked ammunition for the guns and plenty of hand grenades! After about two hours, I tried to call in some mortar fire and flares at the section CP, but, on the way was shot across the back of my legs and as I was going down, a grenade exploded next to me and that was the end of the fight for me as I slowly lost consciousness. I awoke the next morning to the prodding of a Chinese bayonet. Two soldiers were standing over me motioning for me to get up. I tried to get to...
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Oscar Cortez: We almost came home.

November 24, 2014 It was this time of the year when we were preparing to come home. Our 2nd Infantry Division was at Kunuri in North Korea and the South Korean soldiers already had been sent to their South Korean Army. We hadn’t had a firing mission in some time and we were thinking what Gen McArthur had said, “that by the end of this year we’ll be going back home”. And it almost came true, it was on November 26th when that thought was erased by the communist Chinese when they joined the fight against us. All hell broke loose when we started receiving in-coming fire in our area. Luckily I had dug a fox hole and there is where I went into. One of the cooks hadn’t dug his fox hole that he was using his steel pot to dig one. As I was inside my fox hole I was sticking my head out when an enemy round hit a wire above me and it whipped down over my head. The battery CO came running out into the open asking if we were alright. There was a tank on the other side of our battery which was behind a mud hooch and that is where the Chinks were aiming their mortars. We hooked up our 105 howitzers and we moved out. We stopped into an open field close to the MRS ( main service road) and we started firing. After a short while we had a “march order” to move out. The aiming site etc. were removed and we started driving South. Thankfully we didn’t received any incoming fire. We drove all that night and it was almost dawn when we saw our Battalion Commander waving and saluting us. Some outfit had set up a kitchen to feed us. They were serving “leather eggs”, that is hat I called the flap jacks, I went through the line three times. In a few months our luck changed, our unit and most of the 15th Field Arty. unit was annihilated on February 13th 1951. I and many more were repatriated at the end of hostilities, I on August 26 1953. We left South Korea around September 2nd and came home to the “Big PX”. Oscar...
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Oscar Cortez

From Oscar Cortez: I arrived at Camp #3 North around October 1951 and the Tiger Survivors arrived probably in November, I remember it was raining when they arrived. We looked out the big windows in our “house” and I felt sorry they were getting wet and I prayed that none would get sick. In early spring on 1952 some of us were transferred to Camp #3 South. There we joined the guys that were captured in July 1950, The Tiger Survivors. I left some close buddies in Camp #3 North like Lester Todd, Ted Hada and a an older man who knew my mother in Pearsall, TX, Marcos Gonzalez. It surprised me when I told him that my mother was from Pearsall and then he asked what was her name, so when I told him her name he told me that he knew her, that she had blue eyes and was very beautiful. By the way, over our camp South was known as MIG alley. Our Saber jets and the Chinese MIGS would have a dog fight. We would go to the banks of the river, lay down and wait for them to start shooting, that was about all the entertainment we got. More from Oscar about life in camp: David Spears was the butcher in our company. One day I was helping David (Teji) by stoking the fire under the big cauldron to get the water to boil. After David has the hog ready he put it in the pot, David let the hog in the boiling water a bit too long, he pulled it out and was ready to scrape the hair off the hog. All this time there stood a Chinese (Leo) watching every move. When David got the knife and scrape the hair a slice of fat  rolled back. Leo right away started hollering and asked David, who did that heh? who did that. In our camp we had twelve squads so David said “nature did it” Leo asked who is it, what squad is he in, David told him “he is in squad thirteen, so Leo took off and went looking for “nature”. Those Chinese were dumb. My wife and I visited David and his wife some years ago and we remembered all the goofy things that went on in our camp. I asked Oscar how often they had meat and here is his...
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Stan Gawley: UK POWs

From Stan Gawley to Lew Villa: MAD-16 (nothing to do with the loony bin – the guys name is Mick A Dellow) is of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. Some of these lads would have been fellow POWs with you from whom you would have picked up strange pronunciation of the Queen’s English. An English film star called Michael Caine was a Private in the RNF in Korea (before he was a film star, of course). In MAD-18 Col. Carr VC was a POW. You may recall the battle of Gloster Hill where the Regiment fought a rearguard action to delay the Chinese from getting to Seoul. They lost a hell of a lot of men and what men were left after running out of ammo were taken prisoner. MAD-19 are the “other ranks” (as we were quaintly referred to) who were proudly marching from the troopship at Southampton. You may have known a few of these lads. MAD-22 These Black Watch were on the Hook in November ’52 three days before this photo was taken and one of our tanks was called up to the top of the hill to support them. Taff Lewis, the driver, was badly wounded when a bazooka hit the front of the tank. Williamson the Wireless Operator pulled Lewis through into the turret and reversed the tank back down the hill to offload Lewis and get a replacement driver. They used to call Lewis “The Beast” on account of his body hair. They got him out of the tank onto a stretcher to take him to the Aid Post but after falling off three times due to the incoming shells he said, “Bugger this, I’ll walk”. And with that he gathered his protruding guts into his arms and walked up to see the medics. After a cup of tea (how English can you get?) the new driver, Bill Ward, started back up the hill. On the way the tank caught fire around the gun mounting. Williamson climbed out of the turret and in full view of the enemy snipers he tackled the blaze jumped back in the tank and they continued along the ridge before going over the top so the gun could point down the other side.They stayed there all night blasting away as attack after attack came at the Black Watch trenches. They had one of...
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