“Here is a little known story for you. It is one that I don’t know what the end of the story was and always wondered. I had replaced the [Public Information Officer] PIO officer, the I & E and the Special Services Officer. That was two first lieutenants and a captain. I was sitting in my office down by the base photo lab minding my own business so to speak. Major Lou Kuninger, the Base Supply Officer had served his time and was shipping home. Captain Curly Halgren who had been assistant base supply officer was given the job. Skeets Gallagher had gone home and the new Commanding Officer of the 8th had taken over. I got a call to go to his office. He said, to the effect, that he needed a new assistant base supply officer and had requisitioned one from [Far East Air Forces] FEAF. They told him that he had one, namely me, and to use me, and they would see about finding him someone for the other jobs.
So there I was. Big excitement, we got F-86Fs. More excitement, all of you flyboys were taking them up north and dumping the wing tanks and looking for MIGs. There was a difference between the tanks on the 51st [Fighter Interceptor Wing] FIW F-86s and ours. Ours held more fuel and were a lot more expensive, and you guys were throwing them all over the hills. Curly took one and went to Japan and found a place that could make them fast, and get them up to our place, so you ended up with cheaper tanks that held more fuel. Also had trouble with the oxygen masks, but don’t remember the outcome of that, except you all seemed to keep breathing.
Shortly before my father hit the end of a bridge over the river in Oregon I got a call from the docks at Pusan. They had a ship full in at the docks loaded with concrete and wanted to know how much I wanted. I told him I would take a couple of sacks off his hands and he went ballistic. Like, “Gould, you are not listening. It is a ship full, and you are going to have two rail cars full of concrete on your dock in a couple of days”, and he wanted the bloody rail cars back fast. I asked him what I was supposed to do with that much concrete. Suggestions included, build a couple of swimming pools, build a lot of tennis courts, stuff like that. I called down to the railroad dock and told them what was happening. They didn’t say so, but I think I wasn’t very popular down there. That is a lot of work unloading two rail cars and those were 100 pound sacks. Then my dad hit the bridge and I was gone. I never did hear what they did with all the concrete. This would have been in the last of July and August of 1953.
If you are a good jet jockey maybe I’ll tell you how we lost our outdoor latrines. Also, I was one of the bunch that took the [C-47] gooney bird to Japan and got the pool table and set it up at the Officers Club. Major Malin Benton, who was the Operations Officer lived in the same Quonset as me, also Chappie, the Chaplain. Malin went from K-13 to Dow at Bangor, ME. I went to Niagara Falls. I visited him once on a New England trip.
I bought the Kodak Signet that the Kodachrone slides were taken with at the PX at K-13 at Christmas or shortly thereafter in 1952. They had just gotten in a couple. Paid $95 for it, and I was a 2nd Lt and not on fly pay. So I only made a little over $400 a month. I used that camera until about 1976 or 77 and the shutter mechanism went sicko. I tried to get it fixed and was told it wasn’t worth fixing and it got thrown away. Wish I had kept it. You can still buy them occasionally on EBay. I have had a digital since 2001. No one knows how to take pictures and more. They just point those things and start pushing the button. Glad you like the pictures. Not many cameras that could take color around the base then. I never saw another one, Although at least one of the pilots had one.
Maybe I’ll even tell you the story about how one of the guys from the 51st FIW scared the Sh– out of me in a T-33 flying back from Itazuke.
Attached picture was taken in my PIO office in Jan 53. One of the guys in the photo lab pushed the button.”
– Gene Gould
Please visit the Korean Photos Page for Gene’s beautiful photos.