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Bill's Stories

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Bill Powell, Aug 7, 2005.


  1. Bill Powell

    Bill Powell
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    Not too long after I arrived in Korea, Munsan-ni, First Cav Div, we had a Thanksgiving party. After the dinner and party was over they were going to throw away about fifty or sixty pounds of cheese, cold cuts, pieces of turkey pieces, and other turkey day goodies.

    I checked out a 3/4 ton truck from the motor pool and hauled all these goodies to the edged of the town. There I called all the kids I could, together by the truck, and started handing out the goodies. They would take their treasure and run. Then I noticed that as the kids passed the houses, for most of them an arm would shoot out and the kid, and the goodies, would disappear into the house. I had also noticed that when the tempature was in the twenties the kids may be wearing T-shirts and shorts. About the time I was getting really pissed about that, I was hit with an important truth.

    In a rice paddy economy the most important person to keep healthy is the father, cause every day he doesn't work, for whatever reason, is a day the family doesn't eat. He eats first, and gets the warmest clothing, and whatever else it takes to keep him working day by day.

    I also found that the only people who cared who was in power was the top five per cent of the population.

    This was forty years ago. They may have adopted a lot of the social programs that have screwed up other countries by now.
     

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  2. Bill Powell

    Bill Powell
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    One more, and then I will go back into fluff mode. I was driving through a village one day, and in the crowd lining the road was a little blonde girl, half Korean, half american soldier. I was driving a five ton tractor, pulling a 5000 gallon fuel tank. The truck was an M-52 for those of you familiar with military vehicles.

    I suddenly felt the need to stop the truck, get out, and check out my surroundings. As I rounded the front of the truck, there on the ground and just getting up from two feet in front of my drive axle, was that little blonde girl. Had I not stopped exactly when I did, I would have run over that little girl. She had been pushed into the road by her mother or some other member of the family.

    It was tough making a living in Korea, especially for someone with a little half breed girl. Under my truck, and dead, the little girl was worth about twenty five thousand dollars to her mother. That was about the going rate for a dead family member.

    digitspaw, I was in Munsan-ni, just south of Freedom Bridge. We worked a lot with KATUSA soldiers. Just north of Munsan was a favorite spot for North Korean soldiers to set up an ambush and blow away a jeep load of people, and then haul ass for Seoul. To counter that they brought in a detachment of 1 st ROK Marines, anti terrorist unit. Not one group of infiltrators made it to Seoul after that. I was there 1960-61-62. I was eleven day short when they built the Berlin wall. I got extended 90, so I was a short timer for 101 days. I use to tell the newbies that I had as much time left as them I would get a bicycle and a basketball and ride through a mine field, dribbling that basketball.
     

  3. Bill Powell

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    Part of my duties in the post office was getting the air mail to Kimpo Air Base. The military, if their infinite wisdom, decided that if it said air mail it would be flown.

    So, I got up in the morning, loaded the processed mail in the truck, and drove over to 15 th Aviation Company, auxiallary field, and dropped off the air mail. After dropping the air mail I drove down through Seoul, across the Han river, and on to Kimpo Air Base. Half hour, or so, after I get to Kimpo the mail plane would show up, or the helicopter, whatever would fly that day. Remember that air mail drop off I told you about earlier? Remember that if I had left the air mail on the truck it would have gotten to Kimpo half an hour sooner? Remember the most important thing, and that was if it had an air mail stamp it would be flown, even if it was five or six miles, or in our case about forty miles. They had a couple of old Sikorsky H-19's, and sometimes we rode down in those. We picked up the surface mail at Inchon Harbor.

    I remember one holiday we had picked up a semi load of surface mail, packages and stuff. While processing the mail someone noticed that one of the boxes was ripped open and some delicious looking chocolate chip cookies were spilling out. Guys started chowing down on the cookies, flicking away little bits of chocolate chips. One of the guys reached up in the box to grab some cookies and pulled out a big ship's rat that had been crushed in the box. Those extra bits of chocolate chip they were flicking off were bits of crushed ship's rat. They all went outside and had a group puke.
     
  4. Bill Powell

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    Oh, they took her back that day. It had to be an accident for them to collect. There were other accidents in that area. I don't know if she survived or not.

    In the houses in town se used to shoot rats off the rafters with .45 automatics, til someone called the MP's (usually referred to as part of a monkey's anatomy), and they started patrolling every few minutes. Then one day a guy showed up from the states with a shoe box full of little single barrel .22 derringers. He also had about ten boxes of .22 Thunderbolts. They were a graphite, ricochet proof rat round.
     
  5. Bill Powell

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    digitspaw, I agree with the fact that on the surface people are pretty shallow. I think Americans are fortunate that they can complain about some of the petty things they complain about. On the other hand, it has been my experience that when called upon to perform, a majority will rise to the occasion. 9/11 was a good example. People stopped complaining in mid-sentence and started risking their lives to help victims of the attack. One entire plane load of people probably sacrificed themselves to stop that final plane. I think hidden in the majority of the people, hidden under that surface shallowness, is the willingness and the ability to rise to the occasion, what ever that occasion may be.

    I was fair friends with one of the roving portrait artists that worked the units, doing protraits from photos. I spent many pleasant hours at his house, watching him work, and doing some of my crazy cartoons for the kids in the area.

    I don't know how many of you are aware of it but the Korean national anthem is a sad song. On and off for eight hundred years Korea's fate has been in the hands of someone else. The song tells about the dove that flew off and left them.

    When the Japanese occupied Korea they started stripping Korea of all it's natural resources, timber, minerals, etc, til about all they had when I was there was rice farming.
     
  6. Bill Powell

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    No I don't, scottauld, that was 1961. Plus, the guns stayed in Korea, passing along to the next guy. A few guys did something stupid with theirs and got them taken away. One guy tried to shoot the company commander's jeep full of holes, but those little Thunderbolts wouldn't penetrate the sheet metal, so he just made some dents. The derringer I had I traded for a Petri Pentax camera when I rotated.
     
  7. Bill Powell

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    I don't know about the sand box, but in Korea there was enough new surplus stuff in the trash dumps that you never had to buy anything. I found the surplus dump site by Munsan-ni. It was under a water tower. Buried there were new Proto tools, M-1911's new in the box, Machetes. Again, when the military had a surplus of something they don't put it back in the system, they trashed it or dumped it.

    Units were alloted their operating funds quarterly, to shop at the company store with. When the quarter ended, and the unit had a surplus, there was a buying frenzy, cause if you had a surplus at the end of the quarter they would deduct from your funds the same quarter next year. Since a unit was only alloted so much stuff, all the surplus went into the trash heap.
     
  8. Bill Powell

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    Here's another little story for those of you who still think people are basically the sam the world over.

    You ever go to a Korean funeral, in Korea?

    The people are buried depending on their standing in the village. The rich and famous and the leaders are buried way up on top of the hill, high and dry. The lower your standing in the village, the further down the hill you were buried. You could sink so low that you are buried in the creek bottom, to be washed away by the first rain.

    Let's say you are a hooker, or a criminal. I saw a hooker's funeral once. The whole procession was dressed in white, with the musicians, the professional mourners, and family members. The body was wrapped and placed on a flat slab, and the time I saw, the slab was place on a cart so the purifiers could get at her. They dance around with hardwood sticks about three feet long and do their bit to drive the evil spirits out of the body. What they felt was that she would not have been a slut if she had not been invaded by evil spirits. What they accomplished was to turn the body into a pile of jelly, cause every bone was broken many times over.

    Of course, what I witnessed was the beliefs of a small village. Maybe the cities were different. I doubt it.

    See you tonight.
     
  9. Alex_Knight

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    Let's make this a sticky.


    Hiya Bill.


    Hope all is well with you. :) :) :)
     
  10. Alex_Knight

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    Wow ! ! !

    I typed Sticky and it happened ! ! !




    ;f ;f ;f
     
  11. tous

    tous
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    GET A ROPE!

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    Behold! The power of cheese!
     
  12. Patricia

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    I've been called cheesey, but never cheese. ;f ;f

    Ever once in a while I have a good idea, and I think this qualifies. I know I'm gonna enjoy this thread very much and I think I'll have plenty of company. :) :)
     
  13. Mrs. VR

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    Sharon, you will be missed.

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    VERY awesome! Cant wait to read more. After my nap;f
     
  14. Bill Powell

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    We woke up one morning with a brand new company commander, one Lt. Surface, and airborne ranger who was an apple polishing, gung ho dummy who managed to piss people off above him and below him. Two days before we got him he was a heavy infantry company commander up near Camp Casey, on an exercise above the 38th parallel, at nightmare range. The 38th parallel is straight. The DMZ is S-shaped, starting south of the 38 th on the west side, and crossing to the north side about the dividing line between the first cav and the seventh army. I've north of the 38th parallel many times, and north of the DMZ a couple of times, at the meeting house.

    We got him because he had his battery of 106 mm rocoilless rifles co-ordinated and ready to fire when an umpire shut him down. Well, in an officer's map case there is a training side and a TO&E side. When he reached into his map case he reached into the wrong pocket, got a TO&E map, and almost had the honor of starting the third world war. All of his 106mm recoilless rifles were aimed at a North Korean supply depot about three miles north of the DMZ. Two days later we had him. His military career was dead as Hogan's goat.

    One of his favorite things, being he was a ranger and eater of bugs, was to sneak up on the guards at night and grab their weapon. It wasn't a totally brilliant plan, cause guard was walked there with live ammo. The guard paths could be a little spooky at night, and they were off in lonely parts of the camp. Well, one night there was a hell of a rain going on, and the pathways were as slippery as snot. This Lt. was sneaking down a path toward a guard when he lost his footing and started sliding down the path. The guard hears the noise and looks up to see this wailing, flailing creature coming at him, and give it a proper military upper butt thrust with his M-2 carbine, breaking the Lt.'s jaw in about three places.

    While the Lt was in the hospital getting better the company exec came to him with court martial papers for him to sign. He turned into a nice guy and told the exec that if he court martialed the soldier, as soon as he felt better and got out of the hospital he was going to kick his ass. He said the kid was just doing his job.
     
  15. okie

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    Wow these are some kinda stories. Thanks Bill;? ^c
     
  16. Bill Powell

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    Anyone familiar with the M-47 tank, and the M-48. The main battle tank when I got to Korea was the M-47. In 1961 they made the change to M-48 tanks. You ever have a situation where not reading the directions well enough can make you a candidate for a Darwin award? An armored company was convoying their brand new M-48 tanks, when the convoy leader called for a halt. The lead tank stopped, and a crewman jumped off the back of the tank. The second tank stabbed the brake, he thought. He hit the gas and the tank lurched forward, pinning the guys head between the pointy nose of the one M-48 and the flat back of the other one. The nose of that tank caught him right at the hair line.

    You know what the tank commander's main concern was? His main concern was the helmet the guy was wearing, and if he would get it back after the brains were cleaned out of it.

    The one guy went home in a body bag, his troubles were over. The second one went home in a straight jacket, his life screwed up possibly for good, All because the commamder didn't have the time to read the instructions.
     
  17. Alex_Knight

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    Holy Crap ! ! ! ! ! !
     
  18. Mrs. VR

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    Sharon, you will be missed.

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    ~rf~rf~rf~rf I know that's not really funny, but that made me spit tea out my nose;f
     
  19. Bill Powell

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    That depends on your perspective. I knew the officer involved, and I thought it was funny as hell..
     
  20. DepChief

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    Get Tous's Rope

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    I smell a mini-series!