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.

William E Baker

Posted by on Jul 2, 2013 in The POW Experience | 3 comments

William E Baker

William E. Baker was a member of Service Battery, 38th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.  He was among the men who kept ammunition moving forward to the battalion’s firing batteries.  He was captured near Kunu-ri, North Korea, on 30 November 1950.  After a few days in the local area, he began marching, usually at night, from village to village, arriving at Pukchin-Tarigol, the site of a large mining camp, on or about Christmas Day.  Men from several groups gathered there.  Conditions were very bad, but at least they were out...

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June 2013

Posted by on Jun 1, 2013 in The POW Experience | 0 comments

On 11 April 2013, a long journey came to an end.  Capt/Chaplain/Father Emil J. Kapaun [Hq/8 Cavalry, POW 2 November 1950, death reported on 23 May 1951] posthumously received his Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama.  Nine surviving POWs who had known him were there, alphabetically: Gerald “Bob” Cavagnaro, Richard A. Caverly, Ray Michael Dowe, Jr. Robert L. McGreevy, Herbert A. Miller, Joe E. Ramirez, William J. Richardson, Jr., Paul Adams Roach, Jr., and Robert Stephen Wood.  Father Kapaun’s nephew, Mr. Ray Kapaun of Pilsen,...

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March 2013

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 in The POW Experience | 0 comments

I’ve often been asked, how many men were Prisoners of War (POWs) during the Korean War?  I don’t know exactly, and this story is worth telling.  Government figures are quite good, and the number most often seen is 7140.  It takes in 2701 men who died as POWs, 4418 who returned alive, and 21 who refused to come home.  Those who came back alive include Little Switch and Big Switch, near the end of the war, and quite a few who escaped from forward areas.  But our friend, CSM Tim Casey, has discovered well over 5200 survivor names. ...

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June 2012

Posted by on Jun 1, 2012 in The POW Experience | 0 comments

More of us are using home computers, or even “smart” hand-helds, so here is an updated list of POW camps we’ve spoken about.  You can enter latitude and longitude from the right-hand column in Google Maps, go to satellite mode, and zoom in.  WGS-84 is today’s international map system.  A few comments follow: Camp Context Used WGS-84 for Google Kosan pre-Apex Oct 1950 126 08 00 E, 41 02 45 N Cornfield at Manpo [area] pre-Apex Oct 1950 126 17 00 E, 41 09 00 N Chunggang-jin Apex i Nov 1950 126 51 45 E, 41 45 20 N Hanjang-ni [abandoned] Apex ii...

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March 2012

Posted by on Mar 1, 2012 in The POW Experience | 0 comments

It’s been a while since we’ve spoken of the Chosin Reservoir.  Very likely our recovery teams will be back in North Korea later this year.  One of our two previous base camps was on the east side of the Chosin–the other was at the Unsan battle zone, farther west.  We hope to be working on the east side of the Chosin Reservoir this Spring, and even to do some exploratory work on the west side, along the road to Yudam-ni. All of this will take place in the battle zone, but we are tracing POW movements out of the area very...

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December 2011

Posted by on Dec 1, 2011 in The POW Experience | 0 comments

We’re still losing friends, but I have a story to tell on one . . . a very helpful story.  Dr. (Capt.) William R. Shadish was captured on 1 December 1950 when the 9th Infantry Medical Station was overrun by Chinese forces near Kunu-ri.  He was a good man, and he was with us at several of the annual meetings. As POWs were bundled up from around Kunu-ri, groups formed and moved by night.  Most of these men were from 2nd Infantry Division, but there were others, as well, from 24th and 25th Divisions which had fought farther west near...

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June 2011

Posted by on Jun 1, 2011 in The POW Experience | 0 comments

Spring flows into Summer and thoughts turn to the Suan Camps where so many men were held in 1951.  After Chinese forces entered the war, the U.S. EIGHTH Army and the U.N. Command were pressed southward, back into present day South Korea.  Heavy fighting ensued as the Chinese took Seoul and tried to consolidate and move farther south across a broad front. Battles followed, month by month, from January through May, before lines began to stabilize a little below what has now become the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). A flow of POWs began to move...

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March 2010

Posted by on Mar 1, 2010 in The POW Experience | 0 comments

As I write, Washington is digging out from record snows, a tiny inconvenience if you have heat and shelter and food . . . . Days are also getting longer, and with that come hope in every Winter. Turning back the pages, hope was something very badly needed in March and April of 1951. These months were vital for most KoreanWar POWs. Among men captured between July and December 1950, upwards of 2000 had died in North Korean or Chinese hands. Now came just a hint of natural warmth. And with Chinese control of more of the North Korean camps, a...

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September 2009

Posted by on Sep 1, 2009 in The POW Experience | 2 comments

This is the story of a place that never was, yet it took on a “life” all its own. The story is worth telling, for many of you had a hand in it. But first, some background info. We begin with POWs captured in 1951. The Chinese pressed into South Korea, and a flow of POWs began to work its way north. Those captured in January and February 1951 stopped en route at the Suan Bean Camp, a very real place very well remembered, although not pleasantly. The site officially closed after an inadvertent air raid on 22 April 1951, but over 100 men, too weak...

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July 2009

Posted by on Jul 1, 2009 in The POW Experience | 1 comment

Accounting for former POWs and other missing men can become an adventure, because there are always new discoveries. So now, a story that you probably haven’t heard before. We begin with Tiger Group, which contained the fi rst U.S. POWs and quite a few civilians. It is very well known. Most of the men in Tiger Group were captured between 6 and 22 July 1950. Others joined later, but this is how Tiger Group (TG) came to be. A second group followed, of some early POWs left behind and others from after the fall of Taejon, in all over 300 men. Most...

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