“When I was in Korea, it was strictly bare bones. We lived in Quonset huts that had never been painted and had no insulation or covering of any kind on the inside walls, all you saw or felt was the cold, corrugated steel. There was one flight to a hut. The hut was heated with fuel oil furnaces made of 55 gallon fuel drums, two of them in each hut. We slept on canvas Army cots with lots of blankets. The only women on base were either Korean or a few nurses. The nurses had their own hut of course, inside a fenced in compound with one other house, it was used by the group commander and hospital commander. The bath house sat off by itself about 100 yards from our hut (we were the closest) and it had the commodes too. There was nothing like taking a hot shower and then running 100 yards through snow and zero degree weather to get back to your warm hut.
But it wasn’t all bad. We had some good times, too. The Club, which was for the entire base, really wasn’t much. They served some meals there, if you could call them that, and had a small bar. Powdered eggs, powdered milk, canned Argentine beef, and Spam taste the same no matter where you eat it. Liquor was plentiful and cheap. Most of the boozing was done in your hut or with some buddies in their hut. Most of the huts had arraigned some space to have a poker table in it and there was a lot of poker played. We did get some R&R in Japan, I can’t remember whether if it was at the end of so many missions or whether it after so much time in the country. We really looked forward to those trips. And of course, we were always ferrying aircraft back to Itazuke for any heavy or periodic maintenance. We had a set of tip tanks that we had cut doors in and we put those on for the ferry flights. Our F-80s didn’t have enough fuel to make it from K-13 (Suwon) to Itazuke without tip fuel, so we’d land at Pusan to refuel. On the trip back we’d load the tips with rice beer, usually Asahi, and land again at Pusan for fuel for the trip home. You could get about four cases of beer in each trip. After about three trips we’d have enough for a squadron party.
We usually have the party in Operations. At the time, the squadron had the full crew with it, all the enlisted troops (photo, armament, mechanics, clerks, personal equipment, and all the rest) so it took quite a bit of room. Needless to say, we did that when the next day was a down day…
At the beginning of the war, the flight docs were handing out 1 ounce bourbons at the end of each mission. It was claimed it was needed to steady the pilots’ nerves. But they were also flying 5-6+ missions a day, and by mid-afternoon they couldn’t find anyone sober enough to fly! That policy didn’t last too long before they started giving you a whole bottle for each 25 missions.
I saw a video tape of the JUVAT Boys Choir at the last reunion, they were great! You boys keep things going over there, and God Bless.”
– Dean Price