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Wilbur Fawns - Korean War

Wilbur Fawns of Williamsville, Illinois was drafted into the U.S. Army in October, 1952, and by the spring of 1953 was in South Korea, assigned to a combat engineer battalion. During his tour, he often ventured into no-man's land to conduct surveillance missions. On one occasion, he also traveled to Panmunjom, the location for the armistice talks between the allies and the communists. While there, he was almost taken into custody by communist guards, but the American guards were able to retain his release. Fawns remembers well the last night of the war, and fondly discusses his return to the states.

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Feature Excerpt

Leaving For Korea

Abstract

Interview Session (Audio)

Photos

Caption

Wilbur Fawns, Jr.’s basic training photo in 1952. He attended basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Where:

Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri

When:

1952

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Wilbur stands outside Headquarters Company, 14th Engineer Battalion’s compound, roughly five miles south of the front line sometime in 1953.

Where:

Korea

When:

1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Wilbur pretends to play Joe Fields guitar in April, 1953. Fields, who boasted of attending school with pop and country singing star Patti Page, had recently returned to the states.

Where:

Korea

When:

April, 1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

According to the inscription on the back of the photo, Fawns saw this derailed train near Freedom Village at Panmunjom, Korea in mid-1953.

Where:

Near Freedom Village at Panmunjom, Korea

When:

Mid-1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

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Caption

Wilbur’s buddy John Hood was driving this crane when it got too close to an area where the ground wasn’t solid and overturned.

Where:

Korea

When:

1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Art Thomas and Steve McCloskey (Wilbur’s best friend while in Korea), stand outside their tent in the 14th Engineer Battalion’s compound south of the DMZ in 1953. Note McCloskey’s 8th Army patch.

Where:

Korea

When:

1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

John Hood, one of Wilbur’s army buddies, hailed from Franklin, Tennessee. The two took an R

Where:

Japan

When:

July of 1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Ruth and Wilbur Fawns have their picture taken in their back yard during Williamsville, Illinois’s centennial celebration in 1953.

Where:

Williamsville, Illinois

When:

1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Ruth Fawn, Wilbur’s mother, and his niece, Sherry Fawns stand next to the family home in Williamsville in 1953. Wilbur purchased Sherry’s coat in Japan and mailed it home.

Where:

Williamsville, Illinois

When:

1953

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Wilbur’s father, also named Wilbur, stands next to Fawns’ Standard Service gas pumps on the famous Route 66 in Williamsville, circa 1954. The gold crown was for unleaded gas, the white crown for Ethyl, and the red crown signified regular gas.

Where:

Williamsville, Illinois

When:

1954

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Wilbur Fawns and Sharon Drendel got this photo taken at a small photo booth while visiting the Illinois State Fair in August, 1955.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

August, 1955

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Wilbur Fawns and Sharon Drendel got this photo taken at a small photo booth while visiting the Illinois State Fair in August, 1955.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

August, 1955

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

This photo was taken while Wilbur was still in the service. Wilbur Fawns (right front) poses with his baseball team after the war ended in 1954.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1954

Ownership:

Unknown



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