Saturday, February 4, 2012

Kin and Korea in the 1950s

Without Frank Stevens’ regular letters home to his mother in Chicago, I have precious little to go by in determining his whereabouts and life circumstances past the date of his marriage. Oh, I do have that option of sending for his military records, which I am in the process of doing. In the meantime, I’m succumbing to the temptation to speculate.

After all, Frank spent his first years after enlistment in the Air Force in England, from 1950 to 1952. Knowing the major military activities of those early years of the decade, the question comes up: “What about Korea?”

The Burtonwood, England, base where Frank was stationed during the years of the Korean conflict was known for its participation in air lifts. Oddly enough, Frank’s next destination, during his Air Force years, was to a base in South Carolina which was also involved in air lifts. Keeping in mind Frank’s medical training and background from his Navy years, and his one-time request for further training in Aviation Medicine School, a spot in the midst of air transportation of wounded soldiers would be right in the very arena in which he’d already demonstrated skill.

But I have yet to find any link to that conflict.

Meanwhile, remember “The Kid”? “Chip,” as Frank often referred to his younger brother Gerald, ended up following in his six-years-older brother’s footsteps, enlisting in the Air Force, too. Since Gerry had children of his own, they would be the next-of-kin qualified to request his military records, rather than our family, until the time at which they become part of the public domain. It was only recently, by stumbling upon Gerry’s memorial listed at Find-A-Grave which bears the legend “U. S. Air Force—Korea,” that I knew about his military history.

Though I have yet to find this out for certain, I’m thinking that will become part of the direction Frank takes next, too. I do remember some family mention of the possibility that Frank was involved in the Korean War in addition to his service in the Navy during World War II.

It’s here that I can’t help remember those words, though: “If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.” Well, I haven’t documented it yet, but I know someone has.

And I can’t wait until I find out what that someone knows.

Photograph, above right, courtesy Find-A-Grave volunteer Tory. Used with permission.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't Find A Grave an interesting resource? You just never know what might turn up in there -



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