transparent.gif (42 bytes)

Jan. 20, 1952

REFUGEE QUERY-In the never ending job of questioning Korean refugees, members of the 45th Division Civil Assistance team talk to two new arrivals at the refugee collection point.  The interrogators are 1st Lt. Byron Eppler, Seminole, Okla., (right), and Cpl. Richard Bianchi, Arlington, Mass. (U.S. Army Photo by PFC Jack Gunter)

Thunderbirds Quick To Help Refugees

By Cpl. George Randol


WITH U.S. 45TH DIV-As the Thunderbird patrol approached the isolated farmhouse, sitting in no man's land about halfway between the lines of the 45th Infantry Division and Communist lines, two small Korean children stepped out crying.  Inside, they found the body of their father.

IT'S AT TIMES like this when a team of two or three division headquarters men, attached to each infantry regiment, begins its work.  A Civil Assistance unit is charged with the care of such refugees.  The incident took place in the 180th Infantry regiment area.  The patrol took the hungry, freezing children back to battalion headquarters.

LATER, A JEEP bounced up and two Thunderbirds loaded the children and their lifeless father into the jeep.  First Lt. Byron Eppler, Seminole, Okla., and Cpl. Richard Bianchi, Arlington, Mass., drove them back to the regimental refugee collecting point.

IT WAS ALMOST dark when the jeep, with its tragic load, pulled up to the collecting point.  The children were ushered into a warm squad tent.  Inside the tent, which serves as headquarters for a squad of Korean policemen, the kids got a hot meal of rice.  Then a native doctor gave them vaccinations and they were dusted with DDT for lice.

EVEN IN THE case of innocent appearing children, no step is left out in the processing of refugees.  So the Korean policemen checked the meager personal belongings of the children.  Following the check of belongings, the refugees are questioned by Counter Intelligence Corps agents.  Even children must be interviewed by the intelligence men.

Within 12 hours after being picked up, the two children were on their way to a division collecting point.  There, within 24 hours, they get further screening.

FROM DIVISION, the two children went to an orphanage in South Korea.  Refugees over 14 are sent to a refugee camp.  Working with each regimental CA team is a platoon of Korean policemen.  One squad works directly with the team itself, while the others are attached to battalion.  The battalion policemen run periodic patrols into the hills searching for civilians in hiding.





Home  |  Editorial  |  Activities  |  Stories  |  Links