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US Air Force Guys Stationed On P-Y-do

 This is new. This is trying to put P-Y-do Airforce guys in touch this their buddies.

Steve Sorrells

I served tdy on P-Y-Do from early June through late August 1969. My permanent station was with the 5th Tac (the Roadrunners) out of Clarke AFB in the Philippines. We maintained microwave link using TRC 97's deployed to Korea in response to the 1968 Pueblo incident.

Strange as it seems, like Bob Campbell, we were playing softball on the beach when the Army medic on the island came by and asked if anyone had B+ blood. An elderly Korean lady needed a transfusion and, according to the medic, they favored the blood of American GI's. They said it had more nutrients because of our diet.

There was two of us that had B+ but the other guy would not give. I agreed and that was the only time I've ever gotten sick giving blood. I thought the Army medic would draw my blood but not so. He dropped me off at the local Korean Hospital (Clinic) and left. Those Korean doctors, nurses, medics or whatever they were must have stuck me 20 or 30 times trying to hit a vein and I got nauseous. I finally got them to understand that I needed something to puke in. Someone observing would have thought the scene quite comic, me trying to communicate to them and them running around like the three stooges trying to find a bed pan. I recall the very plain wooden building they used as the hospital was very bare, just a cot and chair with almost no medical instruments, medical supplies or medicine that I could see.

The Army medic was a tall black guy. Now me being a young white guy from Georgia I admit that I had certain views at the time that might not be politically correct today. Don't get me wrong, I never was a KKK member or anything but I did grow up in a segregated environment. But because of this fine gentleman's sincere concern for his fellow man (he spend a lot of time working at that modest Korean clinic) I consciously changed my attitude toward my fellow man. After the blood donation incident he seemed to make a special point to talk with me at the chow hall or in the small airman's club and I will always treasure his friendship and a moral lesson learned. Wish I could remember his name.

When we went down to the fishing harbor on the east side of the island on a clear day you could see the North Korean gun emplacements pointing our way but I never felt threatened. I served in Korea tdy 4 times and always found the Koreans to a very friendly and hospitable. To this day I make a special point of introducing myself to Korean Americans and, lucky for me, consider them my friends.

I will especially remember that I was on the island when they first landed on the moon.

I enjoyed my time there, the food was good and we just had to pull our shifts on the hill. Off duty was spent playing basketball on an outdoor court just outside the chow hall or softball on the beach. When I got there, somehow, one of our Air Force guys had gotten ahold of some water ski's and a long rope. They would tie the rope to the back of our weapons carrier and drive it down the beach pulling a guy on skis just off in the water. The water could not have been over 6-8" deep so you better not fall. Anyway shortly thereafter the NCOIC rotated back to Clarke and I was left in charge. I'd never been in charge of anything in my life but I was the only Air Force E4 with 5th Tac on the island so I was now the NCOIC of our 4 man staff. The Army mechanic at the motor pool called me down one day and chewed my rear because the break drums were corroding so bad on the weapons carrier from running in the salt water. We had to stop our water skiing adventure.

Also I remember that we did have a lengthy period of time when the C47 could not land because every time the tide was out the beach was fogged in. Once I stood on the hill watching a C47 circle over and over waiting for the fog bank on the beach to clear so he could land. The fog bank covered just the beach and the beach was clear just before he got there and cleared just after he had to head back to Osan without landing. We were down to eating C rations (hated the eggs) before they finally got a plane in. Actually I was getting concerned because I was short and suppose to rotate back to the states in early September and, because the fog kept going on and on, I feared I might be late getting back to Clark. Made it though and I must say P-Y-Do was one of my most enjoyable assignment. Thanks for the opportunity to share.

Steve Sorrells

Comer, GA


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Stewart Chalmers

Wow – what a surprise Steve!, I happen to be that crazy Air Force guy who did the water skiing – picture is attached as proof!!! I can’t believe I stumbled on this site. I was trying to find out the spelling of the correct name of PY Do, so I could send a note to a guy who wrote an article in our paper today in which he happened to mention tough times, and associated it with a tour he had in a remote area of Korea (not PY Do) back in the 60’s. Since so few even know about our site, I wanted to give him some idea of where I had spent my time and started with Google. Bang – there was Dave’s site!!!

I was with AFCS, maintaining the TACAN site on the island. I was there from the latter part of ’68 through most of ’69. We had a total group of 28 Army & Air Force guys while I was there. The picture of the 3 guys standing by the jeep includes (from left to right) Sam Doucette, Jimmy Stump and me, Stewart Chalmers. The cold picture is from the winter of ’68…. As you said, we missed many supply/mail trips from the C-47 due to crosswinds, particularly in the winter, at one point running out of most fresh food and relying on our Mess Sarge to get creative with old K rations.

The third shot shows our housing, which I am sure was better than the guys had it in the early 60’s. The 5th shot is a 4th of July picnic we had down by the beach. Most of the guys are Army except me (3rd from left – and the Compound Commander in the Sunglasses). And the last is a memory that most of us in our little club remember with fondness – the mail coming in!!!

Just to show what a small world we live in, there is another guy living in the area who was an Army linguist at PY Do I think about ’59 – ’60 era.

I’m going to bookmark the site so I can check in occasionally. Best wishes to you all – and com som ne da Steve, for bringing back some old memories.

Stewart Chalmers


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 Don Fraser

I was stationed on Paeng Yang Do in 1961. There was mostly Air Force personnel on the island. The people that worked on the radar site on the hill lived in our compound, which was about two miles from the beach. On that same hill, a TACAN Beacon. On the other side of the island was a compound I think they called it “Det-3.” I remember they had ice cream bars in the chow hall freezer. I would always take a couple extra ones and give them to a kid outside the gate.  There was a small group of Marines that lived on Marine Hill. They had their own cook and were pretty much on their own. They had one Sergeant and a couple of privates. Their main purpose was to advise the R.O.K Marines.

On our compound, we had a MP’s station, right at the main gate, and around the corner from there was the fire station. The fire station housed at least one fire truck, but there may have been two, I do not remember. During my stay on the island, there was one USO Show, which they performed in the fire station, minus the truck. About two or three times during my stay, there were hut fires in the village of Chin-Chon-Ni. The fire truck was dispatched to the village and we all lent a hand in helping the person who lost their hooch.

At the end of the compound was the chow hall. They baked homemade bread about twice a week. In the late evenings, the mess hall served as a movie theater. I think we had movies at least once a week. Just outside the chow hall was a basketball court and a chin-up bar. We would spent an hour or so there each day. The flagpole was located at the edge of the basketball court. There was an Airmen’s Club right behind the building that housed the diesel generators for the compound. The Airmen’s Club had about ten slot machines.

There was a water point with water storage tanks on a hill inside the compound. The airman in charge of the water point liked P-Y-Do so much he spent two tours of duty there. The motor pool was in a separate compound down the road about a quarter mile. One of the airman that worked there was a giant of a man, who was nicknamed “Horse.” There was a fenced-in storage lot next to the motor pool were they stored the barrels of diesel fuel. We had a few weapons carrier trucks and a couple 6x6 trucks for hauling diesel fuel. Most of our supplies came to the island by landing craft about once a month. The day the LC came some of us would volunteer to load and unload the trucks with barrels of diesel fuel. That would be an all day job.

About a quarter mile from our compound was a Catholic Missionary compound, where Father Moffit lived. He had been there since the Korean War. He contracted malaria during his time in a prison camp and this caused him to drink heavily when his malaria returned. The village near our compound was called Chin-Chon-Ni. It had an orphanage that was supported mainly through donations from the GI’s. About two times, while I was there we drove a truck from the compound down to the orphanage and used a portable gas generator to power a movie projector. We showed cartoons and a feature length movie all in English. About two hundred people came out to watch the outdoor movie. The kids all laughed at the cartoons.

I remember that our Commander bought himself a real fancy shotgun and went hunting one day on the other side of the island. He shot a duck and as soon as he shot it, a local farmer ran out and started shouting in Korean, the duck was his. Father Moffit negotiated with our commander, who paid the farmer for the duck. With the cost of the gun and what he had to pay the farmer that was an expensive duck.

I think it was on the Fourth of July when we had a beach party. We used surplus funds from the Airmen’s Club to buy steaks for the party. The mess cook had his Korean employees bar-b-que steaks on the beach, while we played volleyball and drank beer. During my stay on P-Y-Do, we were often allowed to fly back to Osan to pick up supplies for our work group. That meant that we would get to stay in Osan for at least a week, as there was only one scheduled flight a week to the island. Sometimes we were bumped off the scheduled flight back and have to spend a few extra days at Osan. With the extra time, we went to Base Operations and tried to get a hop to Seoul or one of the other bases.

Just about the time I was ready to leave the island “figmo,” a civilian contractor arrived and announced that he was going to expand and improve all of our facilities. They started to grade a flat area on the hill that was going to be a recreation building. I guess there have been many improvements to the facilities on the island since my days there and while we complained a lot about being stuck on the Rock, it seems like good memories now.

Don Fraser 4donf@sbcglobal.net

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Thomas R. Bull

My first overseas assignment after graduation from Air Police School was to Paeng Yang Do in April, 1958. After surviving the C-47 landing on the beach and the ride in the back of a 6 x 6 truck up a rut filled dirt road, I found my new home for the next eight months at the radar site. The duty was boring but the scenery wa excellent. My hut was adjuacent to the main gate with a view of the rice paddies in the background. Most of the photographs that I took have been misplaced over the past fifty years but I still remember the island vividly. Two of the things that I will never forget were th smell of fresh bread from the mess hall and eating C-ration when the weather was bad and the mess hall was short on food. I can still vivedly see the guys in my hut expecially the three or four from March AFB, California. Also in the hut there was a Chaplin's assistant that we nicknamed "Frank Yerby" because he was constantly reading books by that author. One incident that comes to mind was the day our script (funny money) was changed. The Air Police were assigned fence duty while the main gate was closed and the sight of the locals trying to get their money exchanged was comical. I wonder how many walls were papered with old script.

The attached picture was taken in the fall of 1958 after the ROK Air Police wee assigned to the base and a visiting Col from the mainland was inspecting us. Since I was a rookie and had a pressed uniform, I was given the assignment to work the main gate. The airmen in my hut from March AFB who were figmo thought that my being in dress uniform was hilarious.

I was reassigned to the Air Police Squadron at Oson AFB in early December 1958 and remaned there until April of '59. My quarters contained AP's who were basketball and softball athletes and played on the base teams. One person who I admired was a fast pitch player named Andre Lopes. On cold days we went to the gym and using a first baseman's glove, I attempted to catch him while he was warming up.

It would be great to get in touch with some of the people who served at Paeng Yang Do or Oson with me during this time frame.

Thomas R. Bull

24554 Calle Madalena

Murrieta, CA 92562


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