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by Jo Lovejoy
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"Jo Lovejoy and fans:
Behind: Ed Wells (MIA),
Standing: Don Mathews, Gene Gould (MIA), Ed Wakeland"
|Fifth Air Force Headquarters decided for whatever reason to allow Department of the Air Force civilians to volunteer to provide administrative support to their activities in Korea. The program started out in the early 1950s with some civilians assigned to Taegu and Seoul. |
The first volunteer went to K-2 (Taegu) and the Headquarters in Seoul. Most of the volunteers came from the 314th Air Division Headquarters in Nagoya, Japan and other bases under the 314th Air Division jurisdiction.
The decision to volunteer for Korea was not an easy one even though for every month spent there two months credit was given to shorten the two-year commitment made toward the contract for Japan and a 25% differential (for hardship tour), however, no proviso was made for exempting civilians from paying Federal Income Tax.
One civilian space at K-8 was already filled. The 3d Bomb Wing Commander's secretarial position was occupied by Mary Hetherington. Mary must have arrived in late 1950 as she was there when I arrived on November 20th, 1951. My assignment was with the 3d Bomb Wing Hqs Personnel Office to provide clerical assistance.
When the time came for me to board the aircraft in Nagoya to fly direct to K-8 airbase, I was in every sense unsure that I was doing the right thing. Aboard the aircraft, once in the air, my mind was made up that I would stay my full length tour even if I was the most miserable person in the world and would make the best of every situation.
At 8 p.m. on, 17 November 1951, the C-54 took off from Komaki Air Field for Kunsan. It was quite an experience, being the first time I'd flown in an airplane and being the only female aboard the aircraft. Everyone was very nice to me and I did get to sit up with the crew for a while as it was rather cold in the back part of the airplane. This plane had side seats and a lot of cargo. Unfortunately, a few GIs got air sick.
Arriving around midnight, there was no one at the airstrip to meet me. Later I was told that it was due to lack of coordination. All that can be said is that if it hadn't been for a very kind Sergeant (whose name I did not know) who offered to take me under his wing I probably would have spent the night on the airstrip. Since he was driving a truck, it worked out well since I had luggage. After getting down from the plane and securing my luggage in the truck, this kind soul took me to the mess hall on the flight line for breakfast. Afterwards, we drove to the billeting office and found out that I belonged in House 210.
Unfortunately, we had to wake up Mary Hetherington in order to get into the house. Since there were only two of us occupying the house at the time, I opted for the larger room as Mary had the smaller one with a fireplace. Two months later I moved to a smaller room when the I&E Specialist arrived.
I was much too tired to explore my new surroundings so just dropped everything and hit the sack. I would have to wait until the next day to check the place out.
When morning came and I began to unpack, I soon discovered that there was no place to put anything and that the house was perfectly empty except for our cots and pot bellied stoves.
Our house had three bedrooms (one with a fireplace), one bath, living room with fireplace, dining room and large kitchen. At one time, the Army was on this base before the North Koreans passed through it twice, and this had been a dependent housing area. These houses were used for billeting for the officers (headquarters and flight crews). Most of the porcelain fixtures were gone and there was nothing in the kitchen.
My first day was for rest and getting settled in and the second day I reported to the Personnel Office for work.
In January 1952 another DAFC joined us. Anita J. Feinstein who was assigned to establish and run the I&E office. Anita returned to the ZI after a five-month tour.
The American Red Cross had established a canteen and a flight line coffee/donut/talk room set up for returning crews. Approximately 14 female Red Cross personnel were assigned and later a Field Director, Mrs. Farrar arrived. Mrs. Farrar was billeted in "our house".
In April 1952, the Red Cross facility was turned over to the Air Force Special Services Club and was staffed with Air Force civilian and military personnel. The Red Cross contingent was transferred to K-55.
There were two recreational specialists (female) and the director. Ms. Lillian Lewis was the I&E specialist.
We now had two additional civilian females at K-8 and another was to follow.
The Air Force later established a Medical clinic which was staffed with Air Force Doctors and several nurses, this meant more females at the base. The nurses were billeted in the house where the ARC personnel had lived directly across from our house 210.
"The Nurse" dated exclusively by the Group Commander.
Facing left - unknown. Ed Meyer, Bob Lucadello, Ray Wells (MIA), "The Nurse", Chuck Wolfe"
|Basically there was nothing in our house but our cots, pot bellied stoves, and ourselves. With time and some ingenuity, help from the billeting office, supply office, and some of the crews flying to Miho, we (Anita and I) were able to have a few furnishings in the house. One of the Sergeants made a bookcase for us and we did get a porcelain sink that took three months to get installed. It took a long time, however, to get the wall put back together. |