In preparation for our discussion of the Korean War, I called my grandma to see what she could remember of my grandfather's experience as a member of the air force during the Korean War. (My grandfather currently resides in Arlington Cemetery, a victim of a car crash when I was 9. I get more angry about it as the years go by at the irony of him living through WWII, Korea, and Vietnam only to die in a car accident.)
I think my grandma surprised herself at how much she remembered. Although Grandpa flew bombing missions in the Atlantic during WWII right up until the end, the interwar period saw a dramatic increase of the technology and style of the planes into jets. Although he just needed some training, the large number of young pilot fresh from school and with superior training on the newer birds allowed Grandpa to be stationed on the ground. For more about the aircraft used in the Korean War by the U.S. and how technological innovation and capability restriction determined the evolution of aerial support in the war, click here. He experienced a few trips of R&R in Japan during his station in Korea and did not return until his mission ended.
He did bring an interesting souvenir home form Korea, though. Apparently, the area in South Korea where he was stationed was quite friendly with the U.S. soldiers and my grandfather became good friends with one family in particular. Because the family knew my grandfather was going to be a father soon, the patriarch of the family presented my grandfather with a set of traditional Korean baby clothes which were made by his wife. My grandma recalled how impressed she was with the vibrant colors and at the fact that the family went to the trouble to make clothes for a boy and a girls since she was indeed expecting twins.
Time permitting this weekend, it would be good to find some of his military logs as kept them all from each tour of duty served.