From: Woody Woodward, firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Oct 2, 2007 12:03 AM
The photo, showing two H-19’s in formation, was taken in the winter of 1955-6 in the vicinity of K-8, Kunsan, Korea.
The 2157th kept one H-19 and crew TDY at K-8, and every month a different helicopter and crew were rotated in. An Army H-19A was also attached to the base, flown by CWO Craig Burroughs, to ferry NNIT’s (Neutral Nations Inspection Team) personnel. A few days before being relieved from TDY at K-8, I learned of a missionary hospital located east of K-8; struggling with lack of supplies and primitive equipment. I scrounged everything I could from the base dispensary, and the enlisted and officers messes; and when the relief Rescue bird arrived, we loaded it on the choppers and flew them to the hospital – creating quite a stir there, I might add. While our H-19B’s had R-1300 engines, the H-19A had the less powerful R-1340; so we flew formation on Craig, allowing him to set whatever pace he could.
The NNIT’s were each composed of two members from “neutral” Communist nations, and two neutral Western nations. The Commies were treated as spies, and allowed to see only what was necessary for their mission. Craig flew with his windows covered when carrying them. The westerners mingled freely in our officers’ club; but the Commies, carefully watched by their political minder, stayed to themselves.
On one occasion, a female Commie at K-2 came down with appendicitis, and was flown in a C-47 to K-14 for evacuation to the Army 121st Evac Hospital at Ascom City late at night. Loaded as our H-19 was with rescue equipment; and carrying a full load of fuel, plus two pilots and a medic, we were within about 100 lbs of max ATOG. So, upon hearing of the impending arrival of the NNIT, we fired up and hovered around to burn off as much fuel as possible. The C-47 parked next to where we were waiting, and soon a stretcher and a swarm of Air Policemen came to our aircraft. In a minute, the medic called on the intercom, “Lieutenant, you’d better come down here.” I climbed down and discovered the patient and a USAF Flight Nurse, plus two AP guards, a female Commie escort with two more AP guards, plus an AP major, all trying to squeeze into the already-cramped cargo area. I promptly threw everyone off the chopper except the patient and the Flight Nurse, figuring that she was better qualified than our medic to tend to the female patient.
The AP major was pretty irate by this time, and ordered me to remain right there until he could arrange security all along our route and at the hospital. Not terribly politely, I explained that I was not under his orders, that our job was to transport the patient as expeditiously as possible; and we were leaving immediately. Telephone service in Korea then was terribly primitive, and he must have had trouble getting the word to Ascom City. Not until we were on final approach to their short strip was there a sign of security; then suddenly MP jeeps with red lights started swarming to the runway. One idiot drove straight down the runway at us; and when I turned on both the landing light and the searchlight, he was blinded and drove into the ditch – a most satisfying result. (We considered the MP’s to be lower than pond scum, delighting in ticketing USAF personnel for exceeding the 25mph speed limit. One night, returning from a date with an Army nurse form the 121st, I approached the main gate at K-14 at full speed, with an MP jeep close behind. The alert AP waved me through immediately, then halted the MP’s and delayed them until I was safely out of sight.)
Back to the story: an ambulance arrived quickly, and we returned to K-14 with the Flight Nurse riding in the co-pilot’s seat – also very satisfying!
Comment by: stephen wayne mills on Oct 16, 2007 01:29 AM
any photo of an h-19 would automatically rate a 10, don'tcha think? Thanks.