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September 17, 2010

Oroville Mercury
October 16, 1950
23 Waited Execution—Then The Planes Came
While 23 Yanks, their hands tied behind their backs, waited to be executed by retreating North Koreans, There was a sudden scream as 500-mile-an-hour P-80 jets came over their prison camp. For two hours the jets circled the barracks where the Army men waited death. But the ceaseless fire from the planes, rocketing shells into the enclosure, stayed the burp guns of North Koreans. For two hours… the longest in the life of Samuel E. Hyde, 19-year-old grandson of Elmer Hunt of Ward boulevard… the men stood huddled together expecting death yet wildly happy that the planes had come at last. After two hours, a sudden roar came from the entrance of the enclosure. A shattering of gates was heard and mighty Patton tanks charge in. The prisoners were saved, 23 days after their capture. “God, did we love those planes… we could ‘a kissed ‘em,” Hyde said during an interview Saturday. The young soldier was one of 33 ex-prisoners who arrived Friday at Fairfield-Suisun Air Base direct from Korea. Hyde was so anxious to get to the home of his grandfather that he took a taxi to Oroville. Price, $35. “It was worth It,” he commented. He was captured between the Kaktong River and Masan Sept 1. with 22 other Yanks who were part of the 23rd Regiment’s Mortar platoon. “We were surrounded by 1000 yelling, screaming savages,” Hyde said. Immediately they were divested of their shoes, and then they were marched barefooted 150 miles to Namwon. Worse, they marched at night when they could not see where they were going. Part of the way each man was tied to another. “We were fed on rice and barley, when we got that,” Hyde said. Interrogators questioned the men continuously, Hyde said, asking such questions as these. “Is Truman any good? “No,” the men answered. “Is MacArthur any good?” “No,” The Men answered. The reason for the strange answers lay in the story of Simmons, one of Hyde’s captured buddies. SIMMONS said ‘yes’ to the question about MacArthur,” Hyde said, “and a guard blew his head of with a burp gun.” They had one other casualty in the prison camp. One of the men flagged a U.S. observation plane and the Korean guards shot him on the spot, Hyde said. Hyde, son of Mose Hyde of Van Buren, Ark., left Oroville over the weekend to visit his father, but intends to return to Oroville before re-joining his outfit. He has a 60-day furlough Oroville Mercury April 29, 1953 Prisoner Recalls Screams Of GIs Who Were Killed After Surrender Tokyo (UP0- ) An American double amputee told today how Communist guards mowed down screaming guys after they surrendered to North Korea. He said his buddies cut off his frozen feet with a penknife in 40-degree-below zero weather. Pvt. Tally Cox, of Altoona Ala., Army hospital here where he is waiting to fly home in the Army’s Freedom Airlift of sick and wounded prisoners liberated in the exchange with the Communists.

It was near the Chosen Reservoir in North Korea on Dec. 7, 1950, Cox said, where the Communists with soldiers, during the Allied retreat. Many of the men in the trucks were wounded, Cox said. Though the Americans surrendered, North Koreans boarded the trucks and fired “burp” guns into them. “There were about 25 GI’s in each truck, and there were several trucks in the convoy,: Cox said. “I was on the ground but I saw them spraying the prisoners with burp guns and I heard screaming.” Cox said he did not know how many were killed. He blamed the North Koreans for the massacre. He said he saw no similar cruelty all during his imprisonment. But he lost his feet during the long ordeal of a march in sub-zero weather across North Korea. They were frozen, and the Communists had no doctors in the guard detail. “Some GI’s operated on both of my legs with a pen knife in 40 below zero weather,” Cox said. “It was a matter of life or death. I passed out several times.” Later on I was operated on in a Chinese field hospital. But they never gave me stumps. “After I got out of the hospital other GI’s would carry me around.” Lack of medical facilities, inadequate food and neglect caused many deaths during the first winter in prison camps. Cox said and his own weight dropped from 165 to less than 100.

Stu’s Notes: These two stories almost 3 years apart must represent the tip of the ice berg as to what our soldiers went through when captured by the communist. Many went missing in action (MIA) in North Korea and many are still unaccounted for. That is one of the reasons we will meet tonight at 7pm at the steps of the Veterans Hall at 2370 Montgomery Street
. The whole town is invited. This date has been set by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and carried on by every president since. Over 100,000 of our young men are listed as MIA in all our wars, they and the thousands that were Prisoners of Wars (POW’s) who suffered terrible, unbelievable conditions under the hands of their captors. For example 44 % of our POWs of Japan, died in Japanese Prison Camps.

Thank you, Jess Pitney, Jeff and crew of PGE who worked on our site.