• Note from Marsha:
    My father was a young MP during the mid-1950’s assigned to Yongsan when he met my mother. Toward the end of his tour, he finally got his command’s approval for their marriage. However, my mother decided she didn’t want to marry and leave her family. After he PCSed to Germany, she discovered that she was pregnant. She contacted him and let him know. He promised he would return and take me back to the United States. She corresponded with him and his family about my birth and sent pictures over many years to let them know how I was doing. He returned after 8 years. I came to the United States in 1965.
    I was born in Yongsan to an unwed Korean mother and an American GI. I realized that unlike many other Amerasian children, mine was atypical story. I was brought up in a Korean family home, unlike so many like myself who were either abandoned or placed for adoption. For this, I will be forever grateful to my halmeoni, since I know my birth brought great shame to our family. Also unlike many of the others, I have always known who my father was and what he looked like from pictures. He, too, did not abandon me either.

    As a Korean-American child, Yongsan Garrison was place that was forever behind some gate that I was not allowed to go past. One day, I decided that I was going to find my father. From the outhouse window from my home you could see the road and the gate leading to the garrison across the gully between the two. One time, my mother held me up to the window and told me that my father had worked at the gate.
    In my mind’s eye, I can still see myself as a little girl walking down the main road I lived by, crossing a bridge over the gully, and coming around the corner to the short road that led to its entrance. When I arrived and tried to get thru the gate, the Korean MP stopped me. I told him I needed to find my dad so I could go to the United States. Of course, he informed me that he was not there and not to come back. It became my daily ritual for awhile to walk to the gate, but not to get too close and have a staring contest with the Korean MPs on gate duty. I finally got thru a gate to the Yongsan Garrison after my dad returned. He took me to the PX to buy a new winter coat and scarf the night before we flew to the United States, leaving my Korean family behind and losing all contact with them.
    I remembered when someone turned 60 in Korean years; it was a special hallmark and time of celebration. I promised myself that I would follow the Korean tradition and return to Yongsan when I turned 60, if I had not returned by then. I will be returning this September, a year later than I anticipated. I am elated that I can finally stay on Yongsan Garrison at Dragon Hill Lodge and go in and out any gate as much as I please. After 53 years, I am finally coming home to Yongsan!

    My main goal is to start looking for my mother and the rest of my Korean family.

  • Coco Cugat posted an update in the group Group logo of Where are you? I found you!Where are you? 13 hours, 59 minutes ago

    Note from Deborah Marshall on 17tth April 2018

    Here are the details of dad’s story, as promised. I have attached a word document with the outline story, as well as several jpeg attachments from a Saga Magazine article that was run some twenty years ago.

    Each time I read this story, my eyes fill with tears of pride at what these young sailors did so graciously for these little children. My dream and focus is to find any of them that are still living. Particularly Soon-Ok Chang, because she loves those sailors as though they are all her fathers. I feel so proud whenever I read this, and for me, if my dad is her father in her eyes then it makes her my sister in mine.

    My dad and his shipmates were on a two year active service mission in South Korea, and I am advised that one day in the harsh winter of 1951, while they were patrolling numerous islands off the north shore, a landing party were sent ashore to Paeng Young Do. There, close to a graveyard they discovered a ramshack hut, where 20 or so orphaned children were huddled together trying to keep warm from the harshest winter the country had ever known. (Parts of the sea had frozen over. There were young babies as well as children in their early teens. They were hungry and thin, and a couple of them were obviously unwell. There was little for them to eat, and so these young sailors (all around 20-25) sent word to the ship to bring gifts of food and clothes.

    The ship provided dozens of boxes of items to feed them and keep them warm with new clothing. Of course the clothes were far too big for them because all the sailors had to offer was from their own attire!

    In 2000, fifty years after the invasion, Saga magazine ran an article about this story, and were able to locate two of the orphans (by now around fifty years old) and brought them to London to reunite with those kind men who had shown them unconditional love all those years before.

    I would particularly like to trace these two people (or any others who are still living) to unite with them also. The man’s name is Kwang-Il Park, and the woman Soon-Ok Chang said at the reunion that she looked upon those sailors as her fathers, because they had treated her like a father. This being the case, I want to acknowledge her as my sister, so I really want to find her, or any of her family!

  • Is this what used to be gate 1 back then? the one along Hangang dareo
    • Micah! look at this photo taken by Morning Calm Weekly Newspaper Installation management Command, U.S.Army
      is this how the library looked back in the 80’s and 90’s when you were there?

      Micah: Haha! Wow, It is very close. I’m sure that was part of its progression! If my memory serves me correctly those vertical wooden sections weren’t there. Instead I recall they had bricks all the way down there those planters where and then a few concrete pillars.

      So cool to see it though. The only pictures I’ve seen are the ones from the 60’s and the current. Which, oddly enough are very similar. There aren’t many photos of when the front was bricked up. So glad to see this one though. I started to feel like I was imagining things in insisting that the front was bricked over before. Lol

      I’m guessing from the book return outside that it was already operating as the library at this point.
      So glad to have it! Those wooden beams look to be in bad repair. I bet they decided that was a bad idea for Korean monsoons and simply extended the brick work. That section of bricks you see, I think, had the metal letters “Yongsan Library” in the upper right when I was there.

    • Frank Tims commented on a Photo in the group Group logo of maps of Yongsanmaps of Yongsan 1 month ago

      Good. I had seen it on the map, but had a road leading to it when I was there. I did see the road o one map.

      • In April of 1957 I was roped into becoming an ‘actor’ by my friend Lenny who I had previously played a trick on (You can read about how I was tricked into this by going to chapter 13 of my auto-bio: “The Crazy LIfe of a Kid From Brooklyn”. We were stationed in Seoul, Korea and we put on 6 stellar performances for the 8th Army, 24th and 7th Divisions. I played LInus Larrabee in one of the main parts and I still remember one of my lines, where I lecture Maude on funerals: ” Lyman Ward who was my friend and who now lies dead in Oyster Bay, once observed that man’s progression through this world is a series of indignities. He is born in an undignified manner, is married as an insignificant part of a female ritual, procreates in a grotesquely undignified position and spends the rest of his life being virtually ignored. In the light of this it was Lyman’s belief….and is mine, that it is man’s duty and the duty of his friends to see to it that his exit from this world at least shall be made with all possible dignity. It is very little but it is all that is left.”

        (Note that the play was directed by Garry Marshall of Hollywood fame)

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