A walk with DDD & my Dad
Old 02-19-2019   #1
Timmyjoe
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A walk with DDD & my Dad

Almost 70 years ago, my Dad, a 21 year old US Marine, and his Marine Division buddies fought the North Koreans & Chinese at the Chosin Reservoir during one of the coldest winters in Korean history. David Douglas Duncan was there with them, documenting their struggles with his Leica IIIc and a Nikkor 5cm lens.

It was 10F this morning, and the ground was snow covered, as I took my DDD camera & lens combo and a roll of Tri-X for a walk.



No one was shooting at me, and nothing was blowing up to my right or left. It was interesting seeing how well the camera worked in pretty cold conditions.









I enjoy using these old cameras, and this one has a special meaning for me. I lost my Dad 50 years ago this month, and we lost DDD this past June.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 02-19-2019   #2
Paulbe
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Tim--outstanding! And thanks for posting--and thanks to your Dad. Lot of folks don't understand what people went through back then to get us where we are--thanks again.
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Old 02-19-2019   #3
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Your dad was still pretty young when he passed wasnt he? Did he remember seeing DDD? Im a Navy vet & I appreciate your dads service in the Korean War. I remember seeing an episode of MASH where the cold was unbearable. Apparently the writers got that winter down pat. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-19-2019   #4
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Lovely photos Tim - it's great you have your DDD camera/lens as a constant reminder of your dad. Thanks for posting.
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Old 02-19-2019   #5
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Great story, great pictures, and a great camera- it is the Nikon rangefinder that got me interested in rangefinders a few decades ago (and it was not until last year that I finally satisfied my interest with a Kiev 4a and a Contax iia). Sorry about your dad. Mine passed the end of 2017. He was stateside in the AF during the Korean war performing camera repair on aerial cameras in South Dakota.
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Old 02-19-2019   #6
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Lovely Homage, lovely shots ~
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Old 02-19-2019   #7
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Nice photos!

My dad flew bombers in the Korean War and brought back a Nicca with three Nikkors. Wish I had the originals but I’ve put together an identical kit. It was watching him shoot family photos when I was growing up that created my interest in photography
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Old 02-19-2019   #8
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Thanks for the write up, Tim. My uncle was a Marine in the First Marine Division at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir as well, 22 years old. Four months ago, he turned 90. Only thing he ever talked about was how cold it was, that most of their boots were soaked through with water, then froze solid. Temperatures down to minus 30 degrees F., well below what their clothing and equipment was made for. Lubricant in the guns froze. Plasma bottles froze solid.
Sorry to hear you lost your dad so young.
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Old 02-20-2019   #9
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Thanks for the kind words from everyone.

Larry, my Dad was 1st Marine Division and he too rarely talked about the war, but you're right, one of the few things he talked about was how cold it was at Chosin, the frozen boots, feet, and guns. I dug thru some old files and found this pic of Dad (center) with a couple of his buddies after they liberated Seoul, when they were still feeling cock-sure, before the battle of Chosin and the Chinese entering the war.



For anyone wanting to know more about the Korean War, and particularly the battle of the Chosin Reservoir, there are a couple of good books:

"Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign" by Martin Russ

"Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War’s Greatest Untold Story" by Patrick O’Donnell

and naturally, David Douglas Duncan's book "This is War!".

And finally, an excellent American Experience PBS documentary video:

"The Battle of Chosin"

Best,
-Tim
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Old 02-20-2019   #10
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I also recommend: The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam.
  • Paperback: 719 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0786888628


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Old 02-20-2019   #11
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Thanks for the story and the photos, Timmyjoe.

I had the pleasure of photographing a few Dutch veterans from the NDVN (Dutch Detachment United Nations) who were part of the 2nd US Infantry Division during the Korean War. And their numbers are dwindling fast now.
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Old 02-20-2019   #12
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A couple of years ago I had the privilege of helping an 85 year old Korean gentleman of my acquaintance (He is my Iaido Martial Arts Sensai) attempt to claim benefits as a veteran of the Korean war. I did this as a favor to a man I admired for no consideration other than his friendship. This gent migrated to Australia 40 years ago and under Australian law he is theoretically entitled to a veterans benefits because he served as a member of allied forces in that war. Unfortunately like many Korean nationals at that time, his service was not strictly as an inducted member of allied forces (he served with the US Army as an "ancillary" member, something which had a kind of indeterminate status before they became an official force in their own right - Think of one of those Korean youngsters attached to the US Army who turned up from time to time in old MASH episodes.) Though his service was recognised by the Korean government it was rejected by the Australian authorities - something we knew to be likely, due to the absence of direct evidence of the nature of his service and Australia's restrictive requirements. Ironically, if he still lived in Korea he would get their pension benefits.

He did not serve at Chosin but did so at the Battle of Kunu Ri and the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River in the North (on the other side of the Korean peninsula from Chosin) as a member of a ordnance / support company.

Nevertheless, despite our failure to have his service recognised officially in Australia, the research I needed to undertake in order to present his case in the best light certainly gave me an understanding of the war and more particularly of the Chosin events - which happened at much the same time. My hat goes off to anyone who served in that terrible campaign. including your dad. As your dad indicated the cold seems to be an ever present feature of veterans memories of those times. As well of course as the withdrawal when Chinese communists flooded into the region over the Yalu river.
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Old 02-20-2019   #13
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http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmdNWI4AI3Q
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Old 02-20-2019   #14
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Great story and great photos Tim. And great Homage to your Dad.
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Old 02-20-2019   #15
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Great outing you had, thanks for sharing your dad's story.

I recently received some Korean War photos I've been scanning. The vet was at the 8055th MASH unit, the one they mirrored for the TV series. They are here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garret...57677110010488

I posted on several vet's forums, and last week a nurse (male) that was at the 8055th sent me an email. I'm sending him the scans, and asking for verification of where and what the photos are. It's almost too late, so I'm hurrying. Also talked to a Helicopter medivac crew member that flew into a lot of those MASH units. We've talked on the phone several times. He is sending me some pictures of the camera he used in Korea, he couldn't describe it, but took some pictures and is sending them, snail mail!

Many of the GIs in the photos have brand new, Japanese cameras.

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Old 02-20-2019   #16
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My dad with his Nicca. He was staff weather officer and B-26 (aka A-26 Douglas Invader) pilot. Kodachrome 10 scan.

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Old 02-20-2019   #17
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Thanks for the kind responses.

Peter, that was very good of you to help the Korean vet. There were so many South Koreans who fought and died during the war (police action).

Garret, love those M*A*S*H pics, would like to see more.

Splitimageview, your Dad and his buddies with their B-26's, and the Marine & Navy pilots with their Corsairs, saved a lot of Marines in Korea.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 02-20-2019   #18
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Lovely photos and a touching story, Tim; thanks for sharing. My dad spent his time during WW2 in relative comfort, developing and printing reconnaissance photos in a USAAF photo lab in the UK.

Re books on Korea, I can also recommend "This Kind of War" by T. R. Fehrenbach.
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Old 02-20-2019   #19
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Your dad went through a lot that winter. I've read a few accounts of that battle. Thanks for the post.
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Old 02-20-2019   #20
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Thanks for starting this thread, about the forgotten war.

Not photo related in any way, but here is a painting I had commissioned of my dad's Invader. The flying was treacherous, due to weather and terrain, primitive navigation, and makeshift air strips. Bombing railroad and truck supply lines was critical to the effort.

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Old 02-20-2019   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
Thanks for starting this thread, about the forgotten war.

Not photo related in any way, but here is a painting I had commissioned of my dad's Invader. The flying was treacherous, due to weather and terrain, primitive navigation, and makeshift air strips. Bombing railroad and truck supply lines was critical to the effort.
I reckon ground attack would be one of the more "hairy" assignments so my hat comes off to those who served in that capacity.

The Invader aircraft were one of the coolest tactical aircraft to come out of WW2. But while some lasted into the Vietnam era many seemed to get superseded fairly quickly due in part I believe to metal fatigue issues. (I think this is relatively common in airframes on tactical attack aircraft due to the high G loads etc inherent in their task). Combined perhaps with the damage from ground fire.

I also still have a soft spot for the F4 Corsair and early jet fighter bombers like the F9F Panther and the F84 Thunderjet. Purely from reading about them of course - I am not of that vintage. Hell, truth be told, pretty well every fighter aircraft in that era was sexy. The names alone are machismo cool. The old film "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" remains one of my favorite movies. In that case from memory they were flying Banshees. Another cool name.
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Old 02-20-2019   #22
Larry Cloetta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
Thanks for starting this thread, about the forgotten war.

Not photo related in any way, but here is a painting I had commissioned of my dad's Invader. The flying was treacherous, due to weather and terrain, primitive navigation, and makeshift air strips. Bombing railroad and truck supply lines was critical to the effort.

Very cool, Robert. That is a heck of a nice painting.
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Old 02-20-2019   #23
charjohncarter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
I reckon ground attack would be one of the more "hairy" assignments so my hat comes off to those who served in that capacity.

The Invader aircraft were one of the coolest tactical aircraft to come out of WW2. But while some lasted into the Vietnam era many seemed to get superseded fairly quickly due in part I believe to metal fatigue issues. (I think this is relatively common in airframes on tactical attack aircraft due to the high G loads etc inherent in their task). Combined perhaps with the damage from ground fire.

I also still have a soft spot for the F4 Corsair and early jet fighter bombers like the F9F Panther and the F84 Thunderjet. Purely from reading about them of course - I am not of that vintage. Hell, truth be told, pretty well every fighter aircraft in that era was sexy. The names alone are machismo cool. The old film "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" remains one of my favorite movies. In that case from memory they were flying Banshees. Another cool name.
Some of those planes I have fond memories of too. But when I was in '69 to '72 this was the aircraft we used and I still love to hear its wop-wop sound.

Ektachrome 1970 by John Carter, on Flickr
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Old 02-20-2019   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
Some of those planes I have fond memories of too. But when I was in '69 to '72 this was the aircraft we used and I still love to hear its wop-wop sound.
Ektachrome 1970 by John Carter, on Flickr
Yep that sound. Love the way it is depicted in this old Billy Joel song even though I think it is artificially rendered but it is never the less still very evocative of that era. Still, glad I was not old enough to be sent to 'Nam.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97CHAUnDkC8
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Old 02-20-2019   #25
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An acquaintance in Belgium is currently restoring Huey.


Couple of photos of NDVN Veterans, taken during a regional veterans days in 2017 and '18.







Remember Hoengsong
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Old 02-21-2019   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
Thanks for starting this thread, about the forgotten war.

Not photo related in any way, but here is a painting I had commissioned of my dad's Invader. The flying was treacherous, due to weather and terrain, primitive navigation, and makeshift air strips. Bombing railroad and truck supply lines was critical to the effort.

That is a beautifully done painting. Thanks for sharing it.

Best,
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Old 02-21-2019   #27
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Originally Posted by Mr_Flibble View Post
An acquaintance in Belgium is currently restoring Huey.


Couple of photos of NDVN Veterans, taken during a regional veterans days in 2017 and '18.







Remember Hoengsong
My Dad would have been 90 this year. Just like the WWII vets, the Korean vets are all passing on now. So many lives and stories will be forgotten.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 02-21-2019   #28
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The veteran in the last photo passed away last year.

Like the Great War already has, soon World War 2 and Korea will also disappear from 'living memory'
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