• The animal balloon reunion! Chris meets Micah after so many years!

    Coco : Micah, by any chance you are the person Chris is referring to in the attached post?

    Micah: Yes! I thought about him the other day but was having trouble looking him up because we all knew him as J.D. Had no idea he was still in Seoul. Thanks for reconnecting us!

    Coco : Chris you will not believe it but YES!!! Micha Granderson is the Micah that taught you how to make balloons!!!!!!

    Micah: Thank you Coco for making all these amazing connections!
    Hi Mr. Vaia! I was chatting about with my wife the other day and somehow I ended up talking about the ballon twisting we would do at special events. I said “man, I would like to look him up but I only knew him by his nickname J.D.” So glad to be back in contact. I hope we can get a meal together if I come back through Seoul and you are welcome anytime in Tokyo. I’m married and have three children. Always remember your kindness and cheerful smile. You really made a blessing out of those balloons for all the kids. I see you swapped your Korean grandfathers hat for an Uncle Sam topper. Is there a story behind that?

    Chris: Greetings Micah, Our Good Lord gave me a great joy by hearing from you. I always mention how a young child taught me how to make a balloon poodle and with a book – my balloon twisting was started. It remains an enduring blessing to be using this wonderful talent to Help Others in the Name of Jesus. The Balloon Brother name came from several Korean grandmothers who thought a seasoned rascal like me would make people more cheerful. LOL We make weekend visits to charitable organizations and a few during the week. It ties in great with Sally’s evangelism. The outfit evolved to be more universal. Hats were never the comfortable anyway. We hope to see more pictures of your family. Are any of your siblings and parents still living in Asia? We do hope to make it to Japan and visit Camp Zama where we have a memorial bridge for my daughter Jeni. JD was and is still Jeni’s Dad. If we make it, we will also visit New Sanno and hope to meet everyone. Naturally, if you come to Seoul, it will be wonderful to have fellowship. We have a small place near Walker Hill. My memory is pretty poor, but I think I met you a few decades ago at Yongsan and thought you might be in the US Army. Regardless, p[lease give our love to your family. Our Good Lord has blessed you with them and a good career. Grace and Peace, Chris and Eun Young (Sally)

  • YongsanLegacy posted an update in the group Group logo of Finding Marie …Finding Marie … 4 days, 9 hours ago

    DAS 25 was my truck. Both the truck and my self was assigned to shop one.

    Shop one’s G.I. forman during 1956 and 1957 had painted the truck with gloss paint! This was a Real NO!! Because in the event of combat, the gloss paint was a shining target! I fought with the “higher ups”, the duration of my tour to keep this paint on the truck.

    The GI i replaced told me this.

    What you are calling the UN village , was opposite the direction of Seoul. I can’t remember directions now. And what you are calling the Han river is correct.

    The truck is pointed in the direction of the Barracks. And where you are pointing the arrow to the road is correct, but it is located on the other side of the roof top where the arrow stops. I think I remember the building as being the paint shop.

    The building to the right of the road arrow, had a steel door and it had bullet holes remaining from top to bottom!

    I think I remember the building toward the Han river as our , paint storage shed! this was the 570th ord co (DAS) in 1958

    Thank you , George

  • YongsanLegacy posted a new activity comment 5 days, 22 hours ago

    Carol, we will let you know if someone contacts us with photos. Thank you for joining us.

  • YongsanLegacy posted an update in the group Group logo of Fire DepartmentFire Department 6 days, 15 hours ago

    a minute ago

    Note from former Yongsan Fire Chief Temporado:

    I really appreciate the work you are doing in capturing the historical and human stories surrounding Yongsan Army Garrison (Yongsan.).
    To me Yongsan has always been more than an Army Base but also about all the people that passed through Yongsan or that have had the chance to visit or live on Yongsan. As Pat and Tim might have told you my name is Alex Temporado and I was assigned to Yongsan as the Fire Chief from March 2003 thru October 2015. I lived right on Yongsan in the Itaewon Acres Housing Division. During 2010 our Garrison Commander, the Col Huber, asked if we had a Fire Station Dalmatian Mascot. I told Col Huber that we had an older Dalmatian Sparky but that Sparky was already 8-years-old when it came to Yongsan and not good with children. Dalmatians are known to be very protective, since Dalmatians were originally breed to protect horse driven coaches in Europe.

    As a group, our firefighters and leaders realized that we would have to find a puppy Dalmatian that would be raised around children and adults and would be people orientated. Thus, began our quest to find a puppy Dalmatian that was around 2-months-old and weaned from its mother. Our search went from Seoul puppy mills to one of our firefighters that found a person online selling 2-month-old Dalmatian puppies just north of Gunsan City. In order to get the pick of the litter, I and Assistant Fire Chief, Mr. Choe, left early on a June 2010 morning. We arrived near Seocheon and soon found the person selling the Dalmatians. The person selling the puppy Dalmatians was not a puppy mill person but raised Dalmatians as a love for the breed. I asked where the puppies are. He then whistled out and called all the Dalmatian puppies out to feed to include the mother and father Dalmatians that were wary of our presence, (reminded me of 101 Dalmatians). There were eight puppies, seven males and one female, including the soon to become Sparky. I watched the puppies play and eat for a few minutes, while the parent Dalmatians watched us very carefully. I noticed one puppy (Sparky) that was not interested in eating but just wanted to play with its brothers and sister. I looked at the puppy’s markings and it was beautifully marked with tiny black spots around its face and tummy. I chose the trouble maker puppy because it seemed to have an outgoing personality and was full of energy. I paid for the puppy and we were off back to Yongsan.

    I carefully held the puppy in my arms while we drove all the way back to Yongsan. As the puppy whimpered, I was saddened by the fact that I had taken the puppy from its family, but felt reassured that it would be loved by our firefighters and community and that it would serve as a great Fire Department Mascot helping to spread fire safety throughout the Yongsan community. By the way, as I held Sparky on my lap, let’s just say Sparky did not like the ride back to Yongsan and had a little mishap on my white shirt! As I had guessed, everyone at Yongsan fell in love with the new Sparky and many people came to see Sparky at the fire station, to include Pat and Tim Mitchell. Sparky helped produce Public Safety Announcement videos and was always well received during our annual Fire Prevention Week Open Houses and Burger Burns.

    As the new Sparky began to get older we realized that it was hard on Sparky, with me and my staff going home at night, and our firefighters busy at work and going to emergencies, Sparky was often left in his room alone. Given that the Yongsan Fire Station is located at a very busy traffic intersection on Yongsan we could not chance Sparky getting hit by a car, which actual did happen and we were very fortunate that Sparky only injured his left hind foot (paw). I soon realized that Sparky would be better off with someone that could give him full time love and care. That is where Pat and Tim Mitchell came in. Pat loved Sparky and would often volunteer to walk and care for Sparky. Although it was hard giving Sparky to the Mitchells, we knew it was in the best interest of Sparky and the Fire Department. Additionally, Sparky would always be part of the Garrison and Fire Department since the Mitchells lived on Yongsan. The rest is history. Sparky is a gorgeous Dalmatian with a firefighter personality, brave and serving. I still miss Sparky but know he is with people that love him very much.

  • YongsanLegacy posted an update in the group Group logo of I was thereI was there 6 days, 20 hours ago

    Karen Hanzawa
    SAHS Student
    Yongsan Library
    I remember being dropped off there and spending hours reading and looking at books

  • YongsanLegacy posted an update in the group Group logo of I was thereI was there 6 days, 20 hours ago

    Ira O. Wheeler
    GS13 IT Telecom Program Manager
    1964-66, 1968-70, 1987-2006, 2008-2018
    1st Signal Building and USFK Engineer Building Main post
    Currently resides in USA
  • Note from George breen: Notice the difference in the shine on the boots of the troops arriving and the troops departing! The boots of the troops departing were shined by YOUNG Korean “HOUSE BOYS”! We were not required to have our shoes “spit shined” in the 570th! The troops arriving are probably fresh out of school. I can’t find any rank stripes on any of the jackets of the troops arriving!

    Very good photo and very meaningful.

    I have experienced being ion both lines! The line leaving and the line arriving! For me, the line leaving was the sad line!
    I had no idea that all through my life, memories of serving and living in south Korea would become stronger and stronger, day by day!

    I also traveled home on the USS Mitchell.

    • YongsanLegacy posted a new activity comment 6 days, 20 hours ago

      Note from George breen: Notice the difference in the shine on the boots of the troops arriving and the troops departing! The boots of the troops departing were shined by YOUNG Korean “HOUSE BOYS”! We were not required to have our shoes “spit shined” in the 570th! The troops arriving are probably fresh out of school. I can’t find any rank stripes on any of the jackets of the troops arriving!

      Very good photo and very meaningful.

      I have experienced being ion both lines! The line leaving and the line arriving! For me, the line leaving was the sad line!
      I had no idea that all through my life, memories of serving and living in south Korea would become stronger and stronger, day by day!

      I also traveled home on the USS Mitchell.

    • Note from George Breen:
      I have experienced being ion both lines! The line leaving and the line arriving! For me, the line leaving was the sad line!
      I had no idea that all through my life, memories of serving and living in south Korea would become stronger and stronger, day by day!
      • YongsanLegacy posted an update in the group Group logo of Camp KimCamp Kim 6 days, 20 hours ago

        Photo and note from Bill Strouse stationed in Korea (ASCOM) in 1957-58
        I took this photo in front of the USO in Seoul, 1957
      • YongsanLegacy posted a new activity comment 6 days, 20 hours ago

        we just posted the note and hope to get back to you with information. Thank you for writing

      • Note from George Breen:
        I also traveled home on the USS Mitchell.
        GEORGE
        • Photo and note from Bill Strouse: Welcome to Korea GI, troops arriving at Inchon after offload off ship, we are on the Left waiting to go Home on the USS Mitchell, Oct. 1958
          • YongsanLegacy posted a new activity comment 6 days, 20 hours ago

            Photo and note from Bill Strouse: Welcome to Korea GI, troops arriving at Inchon after offload off ship, we are on the Left waiting to go Home on the USS Mitchell, Oct. 1958

          • YongsanLegacy posted a new activity comment 1 week, 1 day ago

            WHAT AN AMAZING story!!!!!! Thank you very much for sharing it.
            Do you have your trip planned to come this coming September?
            If you allow us we really want to meet with you.
            Such stories add an immense value to this peace of land!

            • Yes, I would love to meet you and the rest of the group, too. The trip is already booked and the flight arrangements made. My husband is a retired US Army soldier. Currently, he is a DA civilian at the Signal School at Ft Gordon, GA. We live in Evans, GA. We have reservations for the Tokyo-Seoul Package. I will be arriving from Tokyo to Dragon Hill Lodge on Sept. 16 for the 10 day stay in Seoul. Our flight itinerary has already been approved by Dragon Hill Lodge. We will be departing Seoul on Sept. 20. Thank you so much for your reply. Marsha Jean Altvater

          • YongsanLegacy posted a new activity comment 1 week, 1 day ago

            Thank you for contacting us!
            You may be referring to what used to be gate 1, currently gate 16. By this gate there is the MP Station. The attached map is from 2016. Would you like us to include you in the legacy of Yongsan? The gate where the arrow is pointing at on the attached map. The street is Hangang Daero. To the left hand side is Samgakji.
          • YongsanLegacy posted an update in the group Group logo of Finding Marie …Finding Marie … 1 week, 1 day ago

            Note from George Breen on April 11th 2018:

            This is exactly how I arrived in Incheon! Note one line is smiling and the other line seem a little sad!
            I was taken from here by truck to the 570th ORD. CO. (what later on became Niblo Barracks and later on Hannam Village) It seemed like it took for ever to travel from Incheon to Seoul! Road was rough!

            No one that served in south Korea ever forgot this day!

            • Photo and note from Bill Strouse: Welcome to Korea GI, troops arriving at Inchon after offload off ship, we are on the Left waiting to go Home on the USS Mitchell, Oct. 1958

            • Note from George breen: Notice the difference in the shine on the boots of the troops arriving and the troops departing! The boots of the troops departing were shined by YOUNG Korean “HOUSE BOYS”! We were not required to have our shoes “spit shined” in the 570th! The troops arriving are probably fresh out of school. I can’t find any rank stripes on any of the jackets of the troops arriving!

              Very good photo and very meaningful.

              I have experienced being ion both lines! The line leaving and the line arriving! For me, the line leaving was the sad line!
              I had no idea that all through my life, memories of serving and living in south Korea would become stronger and stronger, day by day!

              I also traveled home on the USS Mitchell.

          • US army base called ‘unreachable land’ Posted : 2018-04-09 18:44
            http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2018/04/632_246955.html

            A full-size cardboard cutout of Yu In-su, who worked for over 35 years as a Korean civilian for the USFK, is on display at the “Yongsan: The Unreachable Land” exhibit. Behind him is Charles Woodruff, librarian at Seoul American High School who worked as a CID clerk in Camp Coiner in the 1970s.

            By Jon Dunbar

            “To me, Yongsan Garrison is like North Korea.”

            An odd sentiment, but understandable when you think about it; both are like an inaccessible foreign country to the civilian population.

            I heard that comment almost a year ago at an event by Yongsan Legacy (YSL), an NGO working to document the living memories of Yongsan Garrison as it disappears from the center of Seoul.

            “Yongsan: The Unreachable Land,” a new exhibit at the Yongsan War Memorial, provides a catch-up lesson on the more than a century of history most Koreans have missed out on, and gives a sneak preview of what’s on the other side of those concertina-wire-topped walls.

            “Yongsan Garrison is still recognized as a forbidden space most Koreans cannot easily reach or visit, so the history of this space is largely unknown,” said historian Kim Chun-soo, who organized the exhibit. “This exhibition was designed to examine the history of Yongsan Base at the time of transition when it is transformed into a park and to think about how to build a park in the future.”

            For over a century, the space located within what we now call Yongsan Garrison has been virtually inaccessible to the public. On domestic online maps, the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) property is censored out, covered over with an unconvincing mat of trees. From the ground, we are told not to look too closely, not to photograph the base. From almost all angles it seems uphill from us, with all we can glimpse over the high walls being dull burgundy buildings. But from within the base, we can observe that many of these buildings do have colorful signs welcoming the few in the know, into clubs, bowling alleys, bars and more.

            The base also has schools, U.S.-style suburban housing, a hospital and more to make it seem like Small Town USA. And as the exhibit shows, it has other traces of previous eras, such as a Japanese-built prison, the Namdan Altar, Joseon-era tomb markers and a reconstruction of Mancho Stream which still runs underground from up on Mt. Nam, down beneath Gyeongnidan-gil, under the base and then out to the Han River to the south.

            One blown-up photograph shows U.S. planes over Yongsan in September 1945, around when the Japanese forces officially surrendered to the U.S. Below, Mancho Stream stretches toward the Han, with many bridge crossings visible. Today, that portion of the stream is buried under a street that runs through the middle of Yongsan Electronics Market. Other pictures show the horrific floods the Yongsan region was once prone to.

            So much history has unfolded behind those high walls, and so much of Korean society has felt the influence of this secretive military installation in myriad ways, many of which historians are still working to trace.

            It really is unprecedented for a city to gain this much land, right in its very center. We won’t know what it will be like until it happens, but suddenly citizens will find passage from Itaewon to Yongsan Station or Seoul Station to be much quicker than now. Plans are already underway to build a park that will incorporate most of the land returned to Korea. There is information on various plans, and visitors are invited to write their own suggestions on cards.

            Personally, I hope Korean people who have missed out get the chance to see Yongsan Garrison with their own eyes, after the handover but before reconstruction begins.

            “I know negotiations will start next year, and the central government also plans on a temporary opening as soon as possible,” said Kim, who is helping Yongsan Park’s design team on the history and culture of the base.

            The exhibit documents past history through maps and images dating back to Joseon, as well as showing what’s to come, but it doesn’t leave out the legacy built here. Life-size 2D figures of real people who’ve lived and worked on base appear at the end of the exhibit, including not just military personnel but also civilians and people whose time in Yongsan led to greater things, showing the base was not just a military machine but also produced tailors, engineers, educators and more. The cutouts also contain bio information on the back and recorded voices. Each week the exhibit will add more figures.

            On a Friday afternoon, the exhibit received robust foot traffic. People young and old walked through, striding over a giant floor map that welcomes guests over the walls of Yongsan, some relishing the experience and others totally oblivious.

            Today, exhibitions like this are our best way to see what’s over the fences. But a day will come when the gates open and we can see it for ourselves.

            “Yongsan: The Unreachable Land” is on display at the War Memorial of Korea until May 5.

          • YongsanLegacy posted an update in the group Group logo of S.A.H.M.E.SchoolS.A.H.M.E.School 1 week, 2 days ago

            LOVE STORY WITH ITS ORIGINS IN YONGSAN GARRISON

            Note from Sue Kizer Fri, Mar 30, 2018
            To: “yongsanlegacy@gmail.com”
            Coco,
            Rick and I were that couple in the class of 1971 that most thought would end up married. Turns out they were right, just about 40 years later than expected. I had to return to the states for our senior year, he graduated with our class in Seoul. Communications were laborious back then, letters and tapes often took 10 days or longer. Too bad FB didn’t exist – our lives might have been a very different story. We ended up going our separate ways. I’d just retired in 2013 when I found him on FB. We began communicating in real time – so much more effective. He was providing end-of-life care for his mother in Tennessee. I was able to travel and so I came to visit him in Nashville and never returned to Albuquerque. We married in 2015.
            (That’s the condensed version)
            Sue

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