Topic: Pyongyang, North Korea, Dec. 1, 1950 (Long)
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Pyongyang, North Korea, Dec. 1, 1950 (Long)

emoji_events [16]
Posted: Dec 1, 2019 3:30 PM

The Chinese forces were advancing rapidly toward Pyongyang and part of the 205th Signal Repair Company was already packed and ready to leave as soon as we received our orders. I was in Team "C", but we did not have a full compliment of men. One of our other teams returned from a forward position and we had about 55 - 60 men, less than one-third of our company total. The other three teams were at forward positions.

On Dec. 1, 1950, we finally received orders to evacuate and off we went. We were not aware of our final destination but we assumed we would eventually arrive in the Seoul, South Korea area, about 130 miles from Pyongyang. Wewere issued our daily allowance of "C" rations and a generous supply of 30 cal. ammo. The men in our motor pool had installed racks around the manifolds of each vehicle. We placed our "C" rations in these racks and when it was meal time our rations were warm.

We had originally planned to travel by convoy but the roads were nothing but rubble and there were literally thousands of North Korean refugees on the road fleeing to South Korea to escape the Communist regime in North Korea. Most refugees were walking, carrying what few possessions they had on their "A" frames. Others had wheelbarrows, a few had a donkey and even fewer had a cart pulled by a donkey. There were babies being carried by a family members and even some elderly person being carried by someone. The road was literally covered by the refugees.

Our speed was never greater than 25 MPH and most often about 15 MPH. I was in the last truck, along with about 5 other men in the back. One man was riding "shot gun" and was the gunner for our mounted machine gun. Our driver was an older man and from his appearance and actions I considered him a "gruff" person, an assumption that, as I was to soon learn, was just the opposite.

I had joined Team "C" about Nov. 1 and had not yet learned much about the men with whom I was associated. But as we traveled along, the sight of the refugees was the primary topic of conversation and I soon learned my new company mates were men of compassion. I should have mentioned earlier that the temperature was below freezing. Those of us in the truck were bundled up in an attempt to keep warm but many of the refugees appeared to lack warm clothing.

As the noon hour approached, our driver informed us he would try to find a spot where there were just a few refugees. Soon thereafter, we stopped at a spot were we were to enjoy our GI meals. The sun was shining brightly and even though it did provide some warmth, it was no match for the bitter cold.

Near where we had parked were about 10 - 12 refugees sitting on the cold ground. There was no evidence that they had eaten or had any food to eat. Our truck driver went to the front of the truck, lifted the hood and retrieved a can of "C" rations. He took his trusty GI issued can opener, opened the can, grabbed a spoon and took it to one of the refugees. Not one word was spoken, but each man repeated his act and all of our food was given to the refugees.

None of us could speak their language and none of them could speak English but their words, the look on their faces and in their eyes spoke nothing but gratitude. The look on their faces and in their eyes are forever ingrained in my memory.

We boarded our truck to resume our journey southward. There was not one word spoken for over two hours until we arrived at a check point. As we bounced along over that rough road, I saw young men siting there with tears in their eyes. I knew then I was extremely fortunate to be associated with men who's hearts were filled with compassion. I learned I had misjudged our driver. He was not a "gruff" person, he was a man who , without question, knew what we should do.

Finally, arriving at the check point, there were the two huge garbage cans , each one sitting over a roaring wood fire. In one can were numerous cans of "C" rations and nearby was a retriever which we could use to retrieve a can of our choice. In the other can was hot water and nearby, a container of bullion cubes. However, the best thing of all was the heat from the wood fire. Most of the men had a canteen of hot bullion but no one admitted to being hungry.

2020 orange level membermilitary_donation.jpg

Re: Pyongyang, North Korea, Dec. 1, 1950 (Long)

Posted: Dec 1, 2019 4:00 PM

Joe, you never need to apologize for a “long” post. The longer the better. My experience in Korea demonstrated that most if not all GI’s were compassionate and impacted by the suffering of the civilians. Keep those memories coming.

Re: Pyongyang, North Korea, Dec. 1, 1950 (Long)

Posted: Dec 1, 2019 6:02 PM

Wow! I always look forward to your posts, Joe! This one brought tears to my eyes. It warms my heart to read about such acts of kindness and compassion.

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