Tuesday, October 27, 2009

19th Troop Carrier Squadron, Japan & Korea

We left San Francisco in May1952 on a troop carrier ship (converted Kaiser freighter) for a two-week cruise to Japan and eventually Brady Field. During these two weeks the weather at sea was so bad that no one was allowed to go out on deck. Most everyone was sea sick, making the two weeks seem much longer. We arrived off the coast of Japan the day before May Day and the ship would not dock until the day after May Day.

In Yokohama we boarded a troop train for Fukuoka, a city on the island of Kyushu. This was an adventure in itself. The train was rather long with mess car in the middle. At chow time one half of the troops would file through the mess car, picking up eating utensils and one dish. Once everyone from the one end of the train had their eating gear the line was reversed, passing back through the mess car to collect our food. It was all placed on the dish with dessert being the last item, usually sliced peaches. I think this must be the term "mess" came into being. Then the troops in the other end of the train had their turn. The train trip took about three days. We arrived in Fukuoka very early in the morning and were transported by truck (6 by's) to the airbase, Brady Field, arriving at about 0500. Brady was located near the village of Gannosu, across Hakata Bay from Fukuoka. We were taken to the mess hall (much better than the train) for breakfast. Half way through the meal the air raid alert sounded and we headed out for "slit trenches". It must have been a drill or false alarm because, thankfully, there was no air raid. That was the introduction to the my next 25 months and 26 days at Brady.

On May 16, 1952 I was assigned to the 437th Troop Carrier Group, 83rd Troop Carrier Squadron.  We were "regular air force" replacements for the 437th reserves from Chicago.  On June 9, 1952 I was reassigned to 315th Troop Carrier Group, 19th Troop Carrier Squadron.

JUST ADDED: Ralph Hawkins was one of our squadron's radio operators.  This link takes you to a video of Ralph and his experiences while stationed at Brady.  http://bcove.me/v4s9qrl7   
Thank you Ralph


 The 315th Wing Headquarters at Brady

This is a fly over picture taken by George Fletcher

These aerial photos of Brady Field are through the courtesy of George Fletcher.  As you can see they were taken after the tents were replaced with metal barracks buildings.

The administration area for our squadron.

Latrine Row - I remember those walks from the nice warm tent or barracks when it was cold, wet, muddy and windy to latrine row to take a shower or whatever. As I remember there were six buildings so usually there was not waiting. Enough said on this subject.
C-46's "tucked away" for the night, ready to fly again tomorrow.

 The C-46 "At Work" moving personnel.  Sorry about the quality of the picture, but for a 55 year old camera on a vibrating aircraft (before lens stabilization) and using slow film this is pretty good.  You can tell from the picture that this is the "first class" section.  You didn't even get a small package of pretzels or peanuts on these flights and we all had to carry a parachute

Our way into town, Fukuoka,

The first tent on the left was my home for the next 18 months. They were replaced by steel barracks buildings which housed more troops and were more resistant to typhoons. Occasionally a tent would just go with the "blow". I don't remember how many troops were in my tent, but there was room for twelve.

Same tent row, but taken from the opposite side (across road from the station movie theater)

Donald Evans Brady-home from February 1952 to November 1952 - Tent B-23.  Photo courtesy of Donald Evans.

SSgt Donald Evans, May 1952. Photo courtesy of Donald
 As you can see we added a little luxury to our "home". Worn out de-icer boots from the aircraft wings made nice "lawn chairs". A few posts in the ground (sand) and we had a covered patio

This was the Base Operations and Passenger Terminal at Brady. I was in this building only a couple of times since I didn't take many flights as a passenger. It was busy though as we were kind of an military airline for between Southern Japan and Korea. We carried supplies, passengers, dropped paratroopers - both in Korea and practice drops on the golf course, sand greens, at Camp Hakata (located at the end of the peninsula that Brady was on) and flew search missions for downed pilots.

Heavy maintenance was done in the hangars on the right. Squadron maintenance was performed in "nose docks". Only the front of the airplane was protected from the weather. The three aircraft on the left were in nose docks. If I had foreseen this webpage/blog the docks would have been included. However, at picture-taking time it was not the hangars nor the aircraft that were the main subject. It (main object) is shown in the background. For obvious reasons (at least to personnel on a 30-month tour of duty) we named these mountain peaks "Mae West".

Engine maintenance inside of a Nose Dock on one of our birds.

As instrument specialists we kept these gauges and their systems throughout the airplane in working order, both on an as-needed basis (something was broken) and the systems that sent information to them (also sometimes broken) plus a scheduled inspection and maintenance program. From our point of view the most import item to the pilots was the autopilot.

The specialists, instrument, hydraulic, electrical, sheet metal and as I remember Propeller worked out of this "shop". Notice the material on the ground (sand). We called it PSP, I don't whether that stood for Perforated Steel Plating or Portable Steel Plating. This material was used for runways, aircraft parking areas and taxiways. Any place that was used by an airplane.

The instrument crew: left to right - Hallock, Peterson, Quick, Devins, Wiarda and Wolfe (me - the guy sitting here at the computer).

The 19th Day Room - getting ready for Santa, December 1953

Brady theater, at least it wasn't a tent.

For the present, most pictures from this point on will be of personnel. Hopefully, you may find yourself or at least some forgotten friends. If I had been smart when taking the pictures I would have recorded names. Any information about these pictures would be appreciated, send it to me and I will update the postings.

This picture should not require any explanation (What airmen?). 

I don't remember whether Marilyn was here as part of a USO show or by herself. Either way, it makes no difference as she was the kind of change we appreciated.  She visited Brady February 1954. Recent research disclosed that on February 9, 1954 Marilyn Monroe visited Brady Airbase while on her honeymoon with Joe.

Front row, left to right: Baity and Nealy. Back row: Quick, Green, Papa San, Chapman, ?, Hoss, Houck and Carter. Christmas Day, 1953. This looks like a Merry Christmas was had by all. I don't know who was able to remember all the "fun" the next day. Notice that we are NOT in a tent, but rather in one of our new steel barracks buildings.

Some of Brady Glee Club in a Nagoya civilian club after a show.  Donald Evans is third from left.  Photo courtesy of Donald.
Brady Glee Club in Fukuoka, April 1952.  Photo courtesy of Donald Evans (third from right, top row).

Assigned to the 19th as an aircraft instrument mechanic (Photo through the courtesy of Shellie Stevens)

S/Sgt Lawson and his helper taking a well needed rest.

T/Sgt Sobol, our Tent Chief.

As shown in this picture sometimes I did take time out to work on our airplanes. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 Shelli Stevens was also an instrument mechanic in the 19th.  Comparing the background with my picture above it appears we both worked on 547 during the same inspection or problem.
This photo is through the courtesy of Shelli.

 Occasionally, Navy airplanes would land at Brady.  As I remember this it the Navy version of the B-24 Liberator.  That is me in the picture.

As I remember we all had a three-day passes and were able to hitch a ride to Manila in the Philipine Islands and back on this C-46. We landed at Sangley Point, a Naval Air station across the bay from Manila. A typhoon came in and we were stuck on the naval base most of the time. We did have a short time in Manila though.

These paratroops are getting ready board the aircraft.  This is a "before" photo.  The following two pictures are the "after" situation.  These troops did not enjoy still being on the airplanes during landing.

After takeoff photos.

Iwo Jima - On the way back to Brady from the Philippines we stopped at Iwo Jima. Some of us were invited on a ride to the top of Mt. Suribachi. It was after dark so nothing shows but the flag raising monument. We stayed at the memorial almost too long and just about missed the continuation of our flight. We arrived at the air field only minutes before take off. Any later and we would have been in big trouble (AWOL, I believe). The National Park Service maintains a nice web page about the memorial. The URL is: http://www.nps.gov/archive/gwmp/usmc.htm.

We called this Quonset home. In most ways a nice change from our tents.
Front row, left to right: Devins, Hoss and Neely. Middle row: Faustine and Houck. Back row:Baity, Slusher, Kenyon, Quick, McBean and Wolfe.

I did get to Korea on occasion. Mostly when I was able to go along on a search mission for downed aircraft and their crews.

 Hal Colby provided this picture (front row to our left) of the flight crew.  Picture taken after Hal was reassigned to Korea.  Names of the rest of the crew members were not provided, neither was the C-46 tail number.  After 60 years some of those specifics seem to disappear from the memory banks (a problem I have all the time).  Thank you for the picture Hal. 

This young man was the primary luxury our tent enjoyed. His name is Ueno, he was our "houseboy". Unlike most military units we did not have to get the tent into a "ready-for-inspection" status before going on duty. Ueno did that after we vacated the tent. He cleaned, made up bunks, shined shoes and did whatever else that was necessary. This was my only military duty assignment where this condition existed. By Japanese standards we paid him very well, but he was worth every yen. I do hope he is still around and enjoying old age.

The following four pictures of the Fukuoka area in 1952 were sent through the courtesy of Leonard Gray, another Brady alumni. Pictured below.

The RTO, Railway Ticket Office in Fukuoka.

Leonard Gray sent the additional following pictures.
This about three blocks from the Fukuoka RTO. A lady was living in this structure in the front of Leonard.
Leonard on the left and Daniel Fox. Picture taken at Tachi AFB, 1953.
Clarence McGuire on the left and airman Hamerick. Picture take at Lake Yosia near Tokyo.

A2/c George Fletcher - These next three pictures were provided by George - These pictures were taken after I reassigned back to the USA, SAC, Hunter AFB, Savannah, GA.

Jim Devins - Photo courtesy of Stevens.

Horse shoe game being played behind the specialist tent. - Photo courtesy of Stevens.

Hubbard and Stevens changing a tire. - Photo courtesy of Stevens.

Hubbard on his Cushman scooter. - Photo courtesy of Stevens.

Inside view of tent a-1 - Photo courtesy of Stevens.

Three guys from Michigan: Devins, Stevens and Hubbard. - Photo courtesy of Stevens.

Stincel, Kid, Shilling and Ginnie - photo courtesy of Stevens

I Imagine most of the Brady "Alumni" recognize this Saturday Morning parade ("Pass n Review") for the local civilians.
The following three photos were provided by Charles "Don" Evans.  Don was at Brady from January to December 1952.  Housed in tent #23.  He was assigned to the Squadron instrument shop.

 Don Evans.  This building should look familiar.  It is one of the base latrines.
Brady Beach in July 1952.  Don is on the right.  I don't remember the life guard tower.

Relaxing after a hard-days work.  Don is on the left.

The following six photos are through the courtesy of Vinnie Cumoletti:

This "OOPS" is not the preferred method for parking a C46 - but it did happen occasionally.

 Another example of a less-than-perfect parking effort.

While not a direct part of our deployment to Brady Field I have included this next item as one of interest to ALL USAF airmen and women.  I am sure you all are familiar with it as it was part of your stay in the air force from day one at boot camp.  It is provided through the courtesy of George Fletcher (one of our "Brady Bunch")

The following pictures show Brady as it was being established during the period of 1950 and 1951.  These photos are provided through the courtesy of  Frank Hennig.

Brady Field in 2001

 Frank Hennig

The following pictures were submitted by A/1C Jack K. Dougherty.  He arrived at Brady about seven months before I did.  Most of his pictures concern the typhoon that did major damage....Dick
I arrived in Yokahoma, Japan on September 13, 1951 and almost immediately loaded onto a Japanese train headed for Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu.  The train ride lasted over a day and a half.  We went through the city of Hiroshima
where the first atomic bomb was dropped.  You could still see the damage that it did.  Upon arrival at Fukuoka, we were loaded onto trucks and were transported to Brady Field.  Upon arrival there I was assigned to the 437th Transportation
Squadron as a special equipment operator.  Upon completing my tour of duty, I left Japan in January, 1954.
I was among some of the first to replace the 437 reserved outfits.  There was four or five reservist in my tent that I was assigned to.  The Typhoon that my son made reference to was very severe.  It happened sometime in October
(I don,t remember the date).  We had to evacuate the whole base.  I was alerted about 11:30 p.m. to report immediately to the transportation squadron.  When I arrived, I was assigned to drive a truck.  The wind and rain were already getting high.  All the trucks were loaded with personnel.  I don’t remember exactly how many trucks there were in the convoy.  The convoy was headed to Camp Hakata, which was located near Brady Field.  The convoy leader did a magnificent job leading  the convoy.  They made us fold down the windshields on the old trucks to keep flying debris from breaking windshields and maybe causing injury to the drivers.  The hard winds and rain was blowing sand off the beach that ran near the highway.  It made it very difficult to see.  I just followed the little red light on the truck in front of me.  Upon arriving at Camp Hakata we were put in large warehouses where we remained for two days.  When we arrived back at Brady, we found that the storm had done severe damage, especially to the non-permanent buildings (tents) .  I will forward you some pictures showing the storm damage.  We had to repair our own tent, as the pictures will show.  They flew all of the planes that were flyable to other bases.  The ones that were not flyable were tied down and sand-bagged.
We had three missions; one was dropping paratroopers, one was evacuating wounded from Korea and one was flying supplies into Korea.
I will never forget the things I experienced at Brady.  Most of the people I served with have passed on or I have lost contact with.  I was glad to hear from someone who served where I did.  Let’s keep in touch.  Would you care to share your mailing address with me? 
A/1C Jack K. Dougherty