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.