The punched cards

Contributor: Rich Kent

All of the personnel information that came into our data center from headquarters in Hawaii, came on cardboard IBM cards. These cards had to be…

Topic: Cultural shock, technology, Yongsan Legacy

Data Processing Center Yongsan Garrison by Rich Kent, 1969

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All of the personnel information that came into our data center from headquarters in Hawaii, came on cardboard IBM cards. These cards had to be kept cool and dry or they would jam in the computer reader. If it was raining when they unloaded them off the plane from Hawaii, they could all turn to junk. Like everything else, electricity was in short supply especially in the humid summer months. We had a diesel auxiliary generator by our office building to make sure that the air conditioning kept running so that the cards and the computers could keep working.

In the Army, we had a room with 20 or 30 keypunch machines and Korean girls typing. It was very noisy. When they all dragged out their lunch tins, it smelled of kimchee. Kimchee smells very strong especially inside an air conditioned room with no windows.

We worked in computer operations when computers were new and we had the only ones on the base. I was a computer programmer.

This photo was taken from my office window. You could see what was gate 6.

Here s a post map of where I think the office was on main post.

 

Below you can see a photo of the office from outside.

I enjoy “talking” to folks who were stationed there and reliving old times. Some do not like to remember those times. Somehow, I guess the Yongsan of today does not resemble the area in 1969. The fact that they are going to turn the base into a park, is sad to some of us, but I very much enjoy hearing from folks like you (Yongsan Legacy) about what is being done.

I was  in Korea at Yongsan Army Base in 1969. I only stayed 6 months.  That was after the Pueblo incident so things were kind of hot there. That was 56 years ago.  Travel was very restricted, but I got out on the economy (outside the base) as much as I could. I didn’t have much interaction with the local citizens only the Koreans who I worked with on the base. Mr. Im was one of them, I wish i could get in touch with him again.

Note from Veteran Rich Kent