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Donald Meier - Korean War

Donald Meier joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 1947, serving with an Ambulance Company in the 44th Infantry Division. In 1952 Meier was activated and eventually reassigned to work in a hospital on a small island just of the west coast of North Korea. The hospital served North Korean anti-communists who conducted guerrilla raids inside North Korea.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt

Before Combat in Seoul

Abstract

Interview (Audio)

Korean War veteran who spent his tour on a small island off the coast of North Korea

Transcript

Related Materials

Picture Captions

Detailed descriptions of the pictures listed below


Photos

Caption

Staff Sergeant Don Meier, while he served in the Illinois National Guard, circa 1951.

Where:

Unknown

When:

circa 1951

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Major General Joseph Martin congratulates SSG Don Meier in 1952 after Meier was named the honor graduate of the Chief Medical Aidman Course in Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Where:

Fort Sam Houston, Texas

When:

1952

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

MAJ Dye, Commander of the local forces in the Far East Command Liaison Detachment, SSG Meier’s unit, dedicates the hospital on Paengnyang Island South Korea in late 1952.

Where:

Paengnyang Island, South Korea

When:

late 1952

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

SSG Meier’s orders assigning him from the 44th Infantry Division to Camp Stoneman on October 9th, 1952. The assignment was en route to South Korea.

Where:

Unknown

When:

October 9th, 1952

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A car sticker purchased by SSG Meier while assigned to Camp Cooke, California, where the entire 44th Infantry Division trained prior to being reassigned to various units serving in South Korea and other parts of the world.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

66 years later, SSG Meier and the daughter of a Korean Chaplain who served with the first Partisan Infantry division. Mrs. Park was sponsored by Don to come to the U.S. to complete her college studies (1971). She is now a U.S. citizen.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Mr. Meier, now 80 years old, poses in front of a picture of his children and grandchildren. His parents are featured on the left.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

'These orders entitled me to a free trip to the Orient abroad the U.S.S. Gen. Meigs,' wrote Meier for his scrapbook.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Rev. Hong was chaplain for the partisan forces in 1952. After the war, he came to the U.S. several times for advanced studies. Rev. Hong later moved to the U.S. and became a U.S. citizen.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Staff Sergeant Meier relaxing on top the roof of a motor junk while traveling to another island in the Yellow Sea.

Where:

Yellow Sea

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Two Korean women (one with an infant on her back) picking oysters from the rocks at low tide.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

SSG Meier tries carrying a Korean A-Frame. The box contains medical supplies.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

SSG Meier chats with a boat captain as a motorized junk carries him to another island. Note the towed boat for going ashore.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

SSG Meier poses with two donkey leaders. The Korean partisans were organized in groups “Tahg-nah-ghee” or donkey in English. These donkey troops would conduct raids into the mainland destroying North Korean positions or equipment.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

SSG Meier and SSG Matasik pose with an elderly resident of the village. (Note: a long smoking pipe in his right hand; children are probably begging me for chocolates saying “chocoletos give-a-me.”)

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Left to Right: Mr. Cho, SSG Meier, Dr. Lee (the unit’s medical doctor) and Dr. Lee’s son Mr. Lee (dentist) pose in front of the main building (Quonset). The tent was used as a ward for patients.

Where:

in front of the main building (Quonset)

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

With Cpl Goldbloom, Meier’s American assistant at the hospital, now living in Washington, D.C.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

The kitchen crew; the man in the back is wearing an army shirt was in charge of the group.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Eating canned rations on a sun lit rocky slope.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Korean barber works his hand operated shears with an unidentified soldier.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Donkey leader with his wife and child. They were North Koreans who had fled from North Korean Communists.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Seven school boys at recess time; the boy on the left is wearing clothes made from Army blankets.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

In the village market, South Korean Marines pose as Meier holds up a string of small fish that are for sale at this open air market.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

A man, posing with his wife, worked as a carpenter (handyman) at the hospital. His pay was a scoop of rice.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Gae Soo, Meier’s truck driver, with his bride.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Two young orphans do this dance for Meier’s benefit. (Note their rubber shoes)

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

A small lake on the Island of Taech-on-do. In peace time, this island was a resort frequented by the wealthy. Meier’s interpreter warned him to stay away from certain parts of this island, although he never found out why.

Where:

Taech-on-do

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Always interested in Geology, Don had to take a picture of this proof that the earth’s surface is sometimes upended. We were heading to another island.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

The community well was located in the center of this wide valley. The path winds across the rice paddies.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Wheat was planted on the higher ground.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

The poorest of the poor, these refugees dried seaweed for food, at Amnin-do.

Where:

Amnin-do

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Women carrying a child on her back while she balances a large package on her head.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Cluster of houses or village on the high ground across the rice paddy field.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

High tides (up to 30 feet) make parking your boat an option. Six hours later, they will be floating again.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

A woman grinds grain between the two rocks.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

The ancient flail was still used to thrash the wheat out of the stalks.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Two women washing rice before cooking it.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Laundry was washed in the stream, and clothes were placed on the rocks and pounded with a stick (or club) to get the water and dirt out.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

These farmers had a threshing machine and a small gas engine for power.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Don poses with a group of children at a Christian orphanage. Mr. Pak, on the right, was the hospital’s office manager.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

A school on Paengnang-Do. The headmaster is standing in center rear. The man on the right is a donkey leader.

Where:

Paengnang-Do

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

School boys, without playground equipment, make up a recess activity.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

This man was weeding the young rice plants.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Rice is started in seed beds and later the young seedlings are pulled up and tied in bundles. The bundles are then carried to the paddy where they are separated and individual plants are pushed into the mud about six inches apart.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

The soil in a rice paddy is stirred with a plow pulled by oxen. The houses were in groups of three to five - a tiny village.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

SSG Meier, Mr. Lee and Meier’s interpreter Mr. Quan are ready to give shots to the troops (North Korean) partisans.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

The beautiful island of Taechan-Do. Since the partisan’s activities were supposed to be covert. They exchanged only enough words for him to determine that he was from the U.S. Meier is pictured with one other U.S. soldier.

Where:

Taechan-Do

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Quan liked to demonstrate his physical ability on the parallel bars.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

The harbor and a village on Paenguyang-Do.

Where:

Paenguyang-Do

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

LST ships brought supplies to Paengnang-Do. They beached and unloaded at low tide. Curious children and town folk always showed up begging for candy or cigarettes.

Where:

Paengnang-Do

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

SSG Meier in front of the hospital ward tent with a little boy who had his hands damaged by an explosive device he may have picked up.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Seven of our patients are resting on the hillside behind the hospital. Sam, a helper, and Corporal Goldbloom are in back. At one point in time, they had thirty patients.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

The hospital’s medical staff (Left to Right): Quan (the interpreter), Mr. Pak, Mr. Lee (assistant Dr.), Dr. Lee, Mr. Pak, Miss Kim, Mr. Kim, Miss Pak and Miss Song (head nurse). The patients were Korean, Meier did no medical work.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

From Left to Right: Mr. Pak, laborer, SGT Meier, ‘Shorty,’ laborer, Mr. Pak, laborer, and chief cook kitchen helper one and two. Don often ate Korean fare with patients and staff.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Plowing a rice paddy with a team of oxen. Their pilots lived and ate with them. Background right is the compound, home for about twenty officers and men of the Far East Command Liaison Detachment FECLD.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

Hospital complex, with (from left to right) the patient ward, with the next Quonset serving as the office, examining operating room and equipment room. The next building was storage and then a building for the doctors’ quarters.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

The staff’s basketball area. The small building on the right is our well. Straight up and over the hill would be close to the hospital.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo

Caption

The hospital’s bomb shelter was located close to their sleeping quarters (quonset building). A North Korean plane came over and dropped small bombs a couple times. There was no damage to the compound.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s Photo



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