K2-Taegu, K55-Osan-ni

and Seoul, Korea


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Leaving Detachment 6, Moriyama, Japan for Detachment 6, Sec 1 K-55, Korea, during Cherry Blossom Time

April 7 1953


The Korean flag is called taegukki. Its design symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang in Oriental philosophy. The circle in the center of the flag is divided into two equal parts. The upper red section represents the positive cosmic forces of the yang. Conversely, the lower blue section represents the negative cosmic forces of the yin. The two forces together embody the concepts of continual movement and the balance and harmony that characterize the sphere of infinity. The circle is surrounded by four trigrams, one in each corner. Each trigram symbolizes one of the four universal elements: heaven, earth, fire and water." Ivan Sache, 29 December 1998".

One Yen, Japanese and 1000 Won, Korean

5 cents in Military Script and my Geneva Conventions Identification Card

Taegu, K2 airstrip. First stop on way to Osan-ni, K55


On the way to K55 we lost an engine on the C46 and had to turn back to Taegu. Check the feathered prop.

Operations, in the trucks, and our tents. Hill 170 K55, Osan-ni, Korea. April, 1953. Note the Quad 50 Caliber AA gun on top of the hill.

We shared Hill 170 with the Army and ate in their Mess

Kinard & Lowe, Air Police attached to the 136th Det 6-1 on Hill 170. Lowe is holding Sukoshi. Photo by Larry Kinard

John Lytle Writing Home, 1953, Photo by Wendell Lowe

Kinard "on Duty". Photo by Larry Kinard

Wendell Lowe with Quad 50 Caliber AA Gun in background. Photo by Larry Kinard


398th AAA AW BN C Battery 40 mm emplacement. Hill 170 K55, Osan-ni, Korea. April, 1953.

The building of our qounset huts. Living quarters on the left and operations on the right.


Compound near completion. Two holer latrine on the right.


Operations K55 July, 1953

Inside Operations. Note gun rack and space heater were Boyle blew up his can of beans. We found them in the typewriter keys.


Inside Living Quarters, T/sgt. Brown upper left sitting on cot and Starnes on the right. Photo by Larry Kinard


Larry Kinard with Hanakosan & Tyrosan. Photo by Larry Kinard


John Fox & Starnes washing Sukoshi. Photo by Larry Kinard


Robert R. Meyers 1953, Photo by Wendell Lowe


John Fox, Starnes & James O. Wood shooting food cans to the village below, 1953, Photo by Wendell Lowe


Wendell Lowe in Guard Tower built with Wing Tip Tank Crates. Photo by Larry Kinard


Pate (Mechanic) and Kirk K55 Osan-ni, Korea. Early 1953.

Courtesy of Roger "Doc" Hallada


Houseboy Kon, Doc,?, Kirk,?,Wilson,?,Rhodes,McCormick,?,?,Lowe,?,Pate, Lytle

Courtesy of Roger "Doc" Hallada


?,?,?,?,Kendall Ropp, Brown,?,Kirk

Courtesy of Roger "Doc" Hallada


K55 airstrip as seen from Hill 170, April, 1953

"January 22: The 18th FBW withdrew its remaining F-51 Mustangs from combat and prepared to transition to Sabres, thus ending the use of USAF single engine, propeller-driven aircraft in offensive combat in the Korean War. Some of the F-51s went to the ROKAF, and the rest were ferried to Itazuke, Japan. The decision to reequip the unit with F-86F-30 Sabres was made in Oct 52, but problems with delivery had delayed the conversion. (Source: AFHRA) (NOTE: On 27 December 1952, No. 2 Squadron flew its last missions in the veteran F-51Ds. However, delivery problems held up the conversion to the Sabres until early 1953. On 30 December 1952, the 18th Wing moved from Chinhae to the new air base that had been built at Osan in anticipation of the arrival of the F86s.)"

"January 28: The l8th Fighter Bomber Wing received its first three PAINTED F-86F Sabres. One was marked in SAAF colors and the other two in 18th FBW colored bands. The South African Air Force's (SAAF) No. 2 Squadron, the "Springboks" (antelopes) had a springbok silhouette painted on the sides of its Mustangs. The 12th, the "Fightin' Foxey Few" had yellow propeller spinners with shark's teeth on their noses like the Flying Tigers. The 67th, the "Fightin' Cocks," had red spinners with a rooster logo."

Excerpts from Kalani O'Sullivan's website


South African 2nd Squadron F-86

The following excerpt is from Kalani O'Sullivan's website

"The United Nations acceded to the request of the United States to intervene militarily on the side of South Korea. On 12 August 1950, the South African government announced its intention of placing No. 2 Squadron, the so-called "the Flying Cheetahs" of the South African Air Force at the disposal of the United Nations. The offer was accepted, and on 26 September 1950, 49 officers and 206 other ranks, all volunteers, left from Durban for Johnson Air Base in, Yokohama, Japan, prior to their deployment in Korea. All these men were seasoned pilots and technicians having an outstanding World War II record from operations in Eastern Africa, Ethiopia, Sicily, Italy and the Middle East.

2 Squadron had a long and distinguished record of service in Korea flying F-51D Mustangs and later F-86F Sabres. Their role was mainly flying ground attack and interdiction missions as one of the squadrons making up the USAF's 18th Fighter Bomber Wing.

The first flight of four F-51D Mustangs departed for Korea on 16 November 1950 and the first operational sortie was flown three days later from K9. This was at a stage when the United Nations forces were retreating in front of the advancing enemy. In freezing cold and poor weather, the aircraft had to continue operating and be maintained and armed in the open, moving from K-24 (Pyongyang East Air Field) to K-13 (Suwon Airbase), K-10 (Chinhae Airbase) and finally K-55 Airbase at Osan in January 1953, which became the all jet fighter base for the 18th Fighter Bomber Wing. Here the squadron immediately started to convert to the Canadian F-86F Sabre jet fighter. On 11 March 1953 the squadron flew it first operational sortie with the F-86F Sabre. The Squadron now flew, in addition to its ground attack role, high-level interdiction and standing patrols along the Yalu River.

The cease-fire was signed at Panmunjom at 11:00 hours on 27 July 1953. During the Korean conflict the squadron flew a grand total of 12 067 sorties.

A total of 243 Air Force officers and 545 other ranks served in Korea. 34 pilots out of 152 and 2 other ranks gave their lives. Eight prisoners of war were returned. Aircraft losses amounted to 74 out of 97 Mustangs and four out of 22 Sabres.

On 31 October 1953, the last South African Force left Korea."


Pulling guard duty. Note the cigarettes on the shoulder. Pretty cool.


Overlooking Bomb Dump and Namsan-ni outside our Compound. In the 1950s, there was no road to the right of the Main Gate leading to the Namsan Village area. The village below Hill 170 became the first bar areas for Osan AB, but soon returned to being a farming village once the Main Gate opened.


Looking out over Namsan-ni to the left of the Bomb Dump towards the end of the runway. Notice the villages in the distance.

"The Namsan-ni houses along fenceline while looking towards the end-of-runway has a nice shot of Shinjang-ni (to the right of the picture) and the two others Ya-ri left-middle and Shin-Ya-ri in the distance to the left. That portion of Shinjang-ni near the EOR would have had to be relocated after they built the Perimeter Road...and Shinjang-ni was around into the 1980s. Yari/Shin-Yari both disappeared in 1954 with the Perimeter Road construction".

From Kalani O'Sullivan.


Looking to the right of the Bomb Dump over Namsan-ni toward Hill 180. Crane tipped over while trying to set telephone poles. Hill 170 is to the right.


Namsan Village (1968) (Bill Bayless)

In the 1968 photo above, ("This photo was taken from the village looking up at Hill 170." Bob Spiwak) the mudwattle houses (choga-chip) in the center area are those from the 1950s. Notice that the older houses are grayish in color, while the newer stucco houses are lighter in tone. In the 1953 photo the house on the left with a wall when seen from the rear is located on the right. By 1968, it was still there, but some new houses to the area. The area had returned to being purely agricultural. By 2005, the mudwattle houses were gone and the place they were at was now an open field. However, the two houses at the bottom of the photo still remained occupied by the original residents. The house to the right cares for a small farm patch planted where the original homes once stood.

Description and photo from Kalani O'Sullivan's website


Black market mamasans, from Namsan-ni, just outside the compound.

Osan-ni Farmers' Market. (NOTE: This open market supposedly has its roots dating back to 1742, but you could hardly tell that from this scene in 1953.) (Description by Kalani O’Sullivan).


Osan-ni little girl (NOTE: Children were left to care for their younger siblings as the mother and father had to work the farms. The traditional method for carrying babies on one's back with a swaddling blanket tied around the waist.) (1953) (Description by Kalani O’Sullivan).


Osan-ni kids and Choga-chip (country house) (NOTE: Mud-wattle frame with rice-thatch roof. Kitchen is the room to the left. Open courtyard in front traditional for drying farm produce, threshing rice.) (1953) (Description by Kalani O’Sullivan).


Osan-ni farmer with Chige (A-frame) (NOTE: In the a-frame is firewood from twigs as it was so scarce. Notice he is wearing the traditional farmer sandals made of woven rice reeds.) (1953) (Description by Kalani O’Sullivan ).


Seojong-ni Elementary School (1953)

"The photo of the school kids is inaccurate as to school name. That is NOT the Seojong-ni School -- and it is NOT the Kumgak-ri school as you said it was close in walking distance. There are three villages to choose from: Namsan-ni, Mokchon-ni near the railroad tracks and Shinjang-ni on the other side of the Bomb Dump Hill. Mr. Oh Sun-soo said it is of Japanese construction". Kalani O’Sullivan.

If anyone knows the name or origin of the school please lets us know.


Old Papasan at Osan-ni (NOTE: Typical farming garb with woven hat. Plants being cultivated appear to be sesame seed plants -- whose leaves are eaten, seeds used in cooking, oil used for meat preparation. (1953) (Description by Kalani O’Sullivan).


The village called Namsan-ni down the bottom of the hill on the east side of Hill 170, between our compound and the bomb dump.

It had several working girls. "However, observe the structure of the building. The building to the right has rough thatch roof, but it appears to not have been replaced in many years. There is a rough patch to the left side of the roof that was made by simply the throwing thatch over the leak and tying it down instead of using thatch bundles to repair a leaking area. The building on the right is an old farm house with a tile roof indicating that it was pre-Korean war."

Excerpt from Kalani O'Sullivan's website.

I remember the USAF Medics chasing the girls to give them penicillin shots (Bob Spiwak).


Kon the houseboy and I.


A bar in Namsan-ni.

"The sign above the door that says "ICE COLD BEER SOLD HERE." was on every store and little stands along MSR-1 -- specifically for the GI trade. But notice the roof construction. The material appears to be tar paper that is tacked down by strips. This same type of construction was typical in Chicol-ni when the shanty-town went up. Again the assumption is that the materials were obtained from refuse (or otherwise) materials from Osan AB. The louvered construction of the windows are unusual for Korea at that time as they prefered shutters for better air circulation."

Excerpt from Kalani O'Sullivan


Namsan-ni scene taken near the local bar described above.

"The photo of the village scene is unbelievable!!! SUPER!!! Who ever would have guessed a 24-hour service photo shop in Namsan-ni. The shop name is Jaeil Photo Shop. Also in the scene it looks like someone is selling some furniture right beneath sign. The chairs and table could have been a restaurant scene, but right along side are Korean-style desks (floor) with drawers. The building to the left is a restaurant (but can't make out sign) as seen by the yoke for carrying water buckets from well, a steamer atop the center kimchi pot and the country cook pot atop what appears to be a portable charcoal cook stove. Notice that the stove is sitting on a empty wire spool".

Kalini O'Sullivan.


Harrop, Morrow and I arrive on TDY at the 5th Air Force in Seoul.


Crossing the Han river.


Capital of Seoul, May 1953. Not a window left.


We couldn't stay here.


Back at K55 on a pheasant hunt with a M1 carbine.


F86 fighter/bombers leaving on a mission to unload their bombs just before the July 27th 1953 truce.


Stars & Stripes, Truce is Signed


Hunting license from K55 Osan-ni, Korea and drivers license used in Nagoya and K55.


                        Koolaire C Ration can opener.  Still on my key chain, 2015

Stop over at Kimpo, K16, on C 124 while heading back to Nagoya, Japan.

November 2, 1953