WELCOME TO JAPAN:
The Japanese occupation in 1949 was more plush than the Korean occupation the year previously in several ways. We had more room in our barracks. A little more privacy. There were some disadvantages. We had to do our own washing. They would not allow natives on base to help us out there.
I also was awarded the rocker strip to my insignia which meant that I was now a Staff Sergeant. It was great to see summer coming to the island of Hokkaido. I could start exploring the island with some of my buddies.
On weekends most of the fellows would go into town but a few of us had no interest in drinking and meeting up with the geishas. We could take hikes up into the mountains for about 3 hours, cook our lunch over a camp fire and hike back.
I was getting a little home sick but felt that I could make it into 1950 without much trouble and make my rotation back to the good old USA. My enlistment would be up on October 9, 1950. Don’t miss the change in plans in future chapters.
Got that promotion to Staff Sergeant 1949 – pre Korean War
Sergeant Graham-Hokkaido Japan in front of the barracks 1949.
Nice barracks on Hokkaido, Japan
Doing wash Hokkaido, Japan
HEADED FOR JAPAN. I knew a mistake was being made by our dear American Government. The Defense Department was ordering the Army to leave the Korean Peninsula with only 500 troops left behind for the South Korean Army. The 7th Infantry was being sent to Hokkaido which is the northern island of the Japanese Empire.
This note indicates that I left Korea on 5 January 1949 and was headed for Japan. Some of the people I was leaving behind were restless too. These pictures sent to me by S. K. Dong, the minister of the church in Seoul tells the story better than I can.
The caption on back of this pictures was Bro Dong’s handwriting indicating the Yun Sun Oh was remaining faithful in attendance at the church. The soldier in uniform was one of the 500 troops left behind.
I was pleased that Yun Sun Oh had remained faithful. In February 1949 I had settled in my routine duties as a clerk typist at Division Headquarters on Hokkaido.
The back of this picture notes the Captain in the picture as C. W. Miller who was a Chaplain with the U. S. Army and was very helpful after the American troops left. Number 2 is S. K. Dong and number 3 is Choong More Ung – brother Dong’s son. Number 4 is Sister Kang whose husband had died 8 years prior to this picture. The others shown were baptized by the Captain on October 31, 1948 in Pusan due to the unrest of the people knowing what was going to happen after the American Troops left South Korea.
Hokkaido was very cold that winter. That gear I have on it not truly winter gear. I couldn’t stay out in that weather very long. We did not know then that we would have to fight in colder weather with this type of gear in about a year.
My friend, Bob Cordry “enjoying” the cold weather with me.
Our office space was nice and warm. It was a pentagon shaped building and the G-3 section had one half of the 1/5th side of this pentagon building. We could communicate better than before. Sargent Wetzel was not on my case as much because he had no privacy to berate me and others. I was waiting for warm weather to come so I could explore the island more.
Brother Dong in Pusan.
Bob Cordry in the cold weather in Northern Japan.
The winter of 1948 – 1949 in Hokkaido, Japan