The POW Experience


Thanks to a friend who attends our reunions and gathers recollections from the POWs. He then takes those recollections and combines them into a narrative which helps them with the recovery of those that still remain in Korea. Many of these reports are from him and give us some insight into what the POWs endured.


Richard “Dick” Raby story

Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 in Featured, The POW Experience | 0 comments

Richard “Dick” Raby story

The family of Dick Raby have published his story. The e-reader version is available on Amazon.com and BN.com.  

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Debrief of Joseph Spano

Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 in Featured, The POW Experience | 0 comments

Debrief of Joseph Spano

This debrief is posted with the permission of Mr. Spano’s family. JoeSpano_Affidavit3.18.1954

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Colonel John J. Dunn

Posted by on Nov 27, 2015 in Info, The POW Experience | 4 comments

For a long time now an attempt to cause the MOH to be awarded to Colonel John J. Dunn has been undertaken by relatives and some of the Tiger Survivors.  This project has taken a large step in the past few days and the paperwork is on its way to Washington. Colonel Dunn, then a Major, was captured after being shot two times in the jaw and face area.  Despite his wounds he took over command of the group from the 24th Infantry Division (mostly).  Such action would normally mean death at some point.  The North Koreans were killing a lot of POWs in those days.  ( Much like today except they are killing their own people) This group of POWs came to be known as the Tiger Survivors. 58 % perished in captivity.  81 multi national civilians were with us as well. All through this terrible ordeal Major Dunn was held responsible for the entire group.  He organized the group into sections as allowed by the North Korans.  This  was an important part of our survival.  Many many other things happened along the way as you can well imagine. The most outstanding incident regarding Major Dunn was when some Chinese and Russian Army officers came to our camp in the spring of 1951.  They had a meeting with Major Dunn and Captain Boysen (Medical Doctor).  Ironically the Tiger was not invited.  Apparently news of the Tiger atrocities had reached the outside world and these Russians and Chinese officers were investigating this. (in my humble opinion). During this meeting ( remember 220 of us had died the previous winter at Hanjang-nee including an American Bishop Patrick Byrne), Major Dunn took a chance thinking he could stop the killings and deaths among our group, and told them about the activities of the Tiger.  Major Dunn actually thought this would cause his death but instead the Tiger was actually relieved of his command and departed with all the NK guards and officers who were considered the bad ones.  In the fall of 1951 we were turned over to the Chinese Army POW camps at Chang Song North Korea.  The officers were taken to the officers camp.  Only 10 more of us died under Chinese control and the cause of death was brought with them from the Koreans. Major Dunn was a tough man and used to box bare knuckle to get pocket money.  He Joined the Army as an enlisted man and later became an officer.  WW 11 found him in Burma-China with the Merrills Maurauders (spell) where he became a Company Commander and was awarded  the DSC medal when he went out into  the front of his men and brought another officer who had been wounded, to safety. This group was actually the beginning of the Army Rangers and Special Forces we know of today. Hope you can pass this on to interested people.  I hope this will be approved in my lifetime and I will let you when and if it happen. NOTE:  General Dean our CG who took the 24th to Korea also has been awarded a MOH.  The division was surrounded at Taejon and at that time the General got a boozoka and went hunting Russian T-34 battle tanks.  He should have been leading his division out...

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Alfred Charles Bordeau

Posted by on Aug 1, 2015 in Info Needed, The POW Experience | 0 comments

Alfred Charles Bordeau

The information on this page was provided by Duff Zube, Alfred C. Bordeau was his mother’s oldest brother. Bordeau was killed in a POW camp on June 30, 1951 almost to a year of being a POW. webmaster note: Alfred Bordeau was a Tiger. If you knew Alfred, please email...

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Charles B. Elder to receive Purple Heart 65 years after being wounded in Korea

Posted by on May 25, 2015 in Info, The POW Experience | 4 comments

Charles B. Elder to receive Purple Heart 65 years after being wounded in Korea

  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-co-purple-heart-20150622-story.html   OPEN INVITATION Local Veteran to receive Purple Heart 65 years after being wounded in Korea. Celebrate this amazing event at the Jacksonville Senior Center, Sweet Air Road Phoenix, MD, June 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM . Award will be made by Rear Admiral Dale Horan. Charles B. Elder Born July 27,1927 I was raised on the Elder Farm on Hydes Road, Baltimore County, Maryland. The farm was apples, peaches and poultry. Education: Attended a 2 room school on Manor Road until Carroll Manor School opened in 1935. Started in 3rd grade and went to Towson High School in 1941 and graduated in 1945. Attended Baltimore Engineering Institute for 3 years obtaining a certificate. Hopkins McCoy College 1947 to 1948. Worked at home on farm. Enlisted in 1949 at the Towson Armory. Inducted into the service at Fort Meade. Completed basic training at Camp Picket, VA. After a 30 day leave I had to report to Fort Ord, CA. for deployment overseas. My records were lost so I was sent to Camp Stoneman, CA for a second basic training. In late 1950 returned to San Francisco, CA for shipment to Japan. We arrived in Southern Japan in the town of Sasebo. Went by boat to Pusan in southern Korea. Transported by train to front lines in April. Captured by North Koreans on Heartbreak Ridge, North of the 38th Parallel. I was wounded the day I was captured. I walked for a while until unable to walk any further. I was put on an ox cart as we zig zag back and forth across Korea to the prison camp. We marched for 25-30 days before reaching the prison camp. Operated on by North Koreans on the march in hut using kitchen utensils and holding down my arms and legs with no anesthetic. There were 8 to 10 on single ox cart during March. I was the only one to survive March to the prison camp. Chic Chikami who lives in Winter Park, Florida was my platoon leader said I smelled horrible, my hip was full of infection and maggots. To pass the time I was forced to attend propaganda classes. Able ones were sent on wood detail, carrying wood for the Chinese to keep warm. We were turned over to the Chinese when we got to prison camp. It was cold in winter – 40 to 50 below zero. Clothing was cotton padded; huts were heated by fires with thatched roofs. Attempted escapes, but they found the stuff we were hiding. Put in solitary confinement. The camp was on the Yalu River which is the border between China and North Korea. Armistice was signed July 27,1953. (My birthday).Repatriated through Freedom Village on the 38th Parallel. Discharged at Fort Meade. Ran out of medals and attempts to receive PH unsuccessful over the years until now. Long time friend and fellow POW Ray Unger, died earlier this year. He was determined to get PH for me. Following discharge I worked on the family farm and took courses at Baltimore Engineering. Worked at Westinghouse 1955-1957, AAI Payroll Accountant 1957 until retiring in 1991. Membership – Jacksonville Senior Center, Trinity Church Long Green, Jr. Warden, Vestry member, Little People of America 1971-2012. Received Distinguished Service Award, XPOW of Korea Inc. 1989-2014, Disbanded...

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Reactionaries

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in The POW Experience | 2 comments

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 said “I must say, that overall the Chinese failed miserably in their attempts to brainwash us. Of that I am very proud. Mostly I am proud that I was a reactionary, and I had a lot of good company. Rhatigan, Lyke, Perry, Polack, and Jack Chapman. (Jack and I became very close friends).” Note from Cindy: Dad has often talked about how they “rode” imaginary motorcycles in camp, until the guards banned all motorcycles from camp. They would also “walk” imaginary dogs, and have arguments because someone else’s dog “bit” them. They would go to the guard and tell them that the dog was pissing on the guards leg. This went on until dogs were banned from camp as...

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POW interviews air on C-Span 3

Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 in The POW Experience | 0 comments

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

Posted by on Feb 10, 2015 in The POW Experience | 4 comments

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 my feet, but, couldn’t move. They each took one of my arms, and dragged me off the hill to a house at the bottom where in the courtyard, there were about twenty other prisoners, some wounded, but not seriously. To my everlasting gratitude, my friend, Hershey was among the prisoners and he immediately gave me first aid to best of his ability with the limited amount of first aid that was available. It was at that point that I found out I had a large wound about two inches from my spine caused by the hand grenade. We were all housed in a Korean hut for the night, and the next morning we were lined up for a march to the north for internment in a POW camp. God was looking out for me at that time because I couldn’t walk and he made Hershey available to help carry me....

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Oscar Cortez: We almost came home.

Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in The POW Experience | 0 comments

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

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in The POW Experience | 2 comments

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 reply: I don’t recall exactly But I know that when we had pork the POW’s that were from Pakistan or that region they couldn’t eat the pork , it was against their religion and the Chinese had our American cooks make a special dish for them. The Chinese finally sent them to another camp with the rest of their kind. I’ll try to get the info from Tony Sanchez who was a cook. Here’s another tidbit from my time with the “yellow sob’s” in the first Chinese camp I was in. While in camp 3 North this young puppy used to come around and me and another fellow POW used to feed him some scraps of food. One morning in early spring of 1952 the Chinese took us on a morning walk for exercise and this pup was running in between us while marching. On the way back I saw...

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