Fort Beavers Korea

Memories

 Email from Tom Hall on his trip back to Fort Beavers in 1983
Well, Sarge, now that I've found a website dedicated to Camp
Beavers, Korea, I suppose it's true that you can find just
about anything on the Internet.

I served at Camp Beavers from April 1962 to April 1963 as a
tank crewman in B Company of the 2nd Medium Tank Battalion of
the 40th Armor.  Looking over your website I learned for the
first time that shortly after I departed in 1963, the
battalion became the 1st Battalion of the 73rd Armor. 
However, even though the unit designation was changed, the
great photos on your website make it clear that the look of
the base itself did not change too much during the 3-4 years
until 1967 while the base continued in use by American troops.

For my own part, I had the opportunity to visit Camp Beavers
in January 1983, exactly 20 years after I had served there. 
This was during a business trip I had made to Japan, and for
the hell of it, I bought a second ticket on KAL and flew over
to Korea fo about a week, or so.  During that week I went up
to Camp Beavers, which in early 1983 was the home of a ROK
Army unit, an infantry battalion, I think.

The biggest change to me wasn't the base, although that had
changed somewhat.  For one thing the road that ran through the
middle of the base was completely open to civilian traffic. 
The area to the north of the road where A & B Companies had
been in 1962-63 was in 1983 a fenced-in compound, seperate 
from the part of the base south of the road where HHC, C, D,
and E Companies had been located.  I also noticed that things
like the movie theater, special services building, etc, had
been torn down.  I guess the ROK Army troops in 1983 didn't
need such things.

Again, even though the base had changed somewhat, what was
really different in 1983 was the village of Tae-jon-ni, just
to the west of the base.  No longer was it the site of bars,
etc., that catered to GIs, particularly on the south side of
the river that ran through Tae-jon-ni.  Instead, it was a real
quiet farming village that was much smaller than it had been
when the 40th Armor was there in the early 1960s.

On the day I was there in January 1983, I talked with some of
the villagers with the help of a former KATUSA who said he'd
served with the U.S. Army in the early 1960s.  The villagers 
said they remembered the 40th Armor (and I guess the 73rd
Armor, too.)  They said we "made a lot of noise."  I'm not
sure if they were referring to the sound of the tanks as they
moved through the riverbed that ran through the village, or if
they meant us young GIs when we were on pass in the village. 
Probably both, I guess.

Still, the people were real friendly, and a young woman in a
small store there told me she could not recall ever before
meeting any former GIs, who had returned after about 20 years.
I told her and the other folks in the store I had just come
back to check up on them, and see how they were getting along.
They all laughed about that, and asked if I was going to come
back in another 20 years.  I told them I'd have to check with
my wife about that.  As it turned out, my wife wasn't
interested in going on vacation to Korea, and instead talked
me into going to Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay in 2003,
instead of Korea.

Again, you've got a great website with some real interesting
photographs.

Tom Hall

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David Sabie Recollection:

1/73 served in the Korean War and was most often attached to ROK units. It does not get a lot of attention in histories but does appear in more detailed work. The battalion was demobilized after the war.

Men I met in August of 63 told me that I was lucky to have arrived after it was reconstituted from an old (unit unknown) unit and redesignated as 1/73. I did not understand at the time what these guys were talking about but have learned that 1/73 was reconstituted (minus D company) in July of 63.

As it existed Beavers at the time of my arrival 1/73 consisted of

3 tank companies

1 HHQ

1 attached engineer company (don't know if they were combat engineers)

(I do not know how many tank platoons each company had and never knew how many tanks were at Beavers. I suspect there were three platoons per company with four tanks per platoon but I cannot ever recall seeing 36 tanks in the field.)

Notable equipment included

M48 tank

Tank retrievers (chasis unknown but it was standard issue and may still be in service)

M113 APC

Standard 2 ton truck, ton truck, and "jeep"

Battalion HQ had a full S-1, S-2, S-3, and S-4 complement, but I think they were "G-1, G-2..." The battalion headquarters building also housed ROK armored units had what we thought was an M-36. I have not been able to confirm this but do know they operated with a lesser tank than the M-48.

SERVICE FACILITIES

Post Office located at Battalion HQ

Telephone (field style) located at Battalion HQ

EM Club down hill from company HQ on left of road possibly between PX and Barber shop-George

NCO Club down hill from company HQ on right of road-George

Officers Club located across from Battalion HQ

Snack Shop down hill right below company HQ on left of road-George

PX located at the base of the hill near massage palor and athletic field-George

Movie Theater

Gym included basketball court

Craft Shop included wood working, camera, other hobby choices

Massage Parlor to the best of my knowledge it was legitimate and was located at the base of the hill next to athletic field-George

Library down hill from company HQ on left of road

Barber Shop cannot recall where it was (I believe it was down hill right below Snack Shop on left of road-George)

Tailor

USO style facility had piano room, small stage, and red cross girls ever infatuated with people other than e.m.

Chapel

OTHER SERVICES

Battalion Medical was at the base of the hill down from HHQ. Some medical problems went to Casey.

Officers Quarters were on the east side of Beavers.

Tank Companies were on the east side of Beavers.

The engineer company was near the west entrance.

Transportation repair as was most repair was not at the highest level of difficulty but was shipped to Casey or Seoul. Repair that was done at Beavers was in a facility at the bottom of the HHQ hill.

Water for personal use was only available in the mess and latrine.

Physical functions of Battalion S-1 - S-4 were north of the post road.

Any updates or corrections would be appreciated.

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Memories from Ron Graham 5/21/2010
 
I did find one guy I served with, he called me last night, he's in Wy. it's been forty years so we talked awhile, he has a year book from our old MSA#31 Det. that has most of everyone's old home towns this will help me in looking them up. A lot of us went to Fort Beavers out of Sheridan Training School Knox Ky. July of 70 AIT was on M48s. There was talk of the camp being turned over right away. Still had to hump on foot patrols and night guard on tanks. Had live fire once, found out a lot of rounds were too old to fire. Eng. had to dispose of them. Not sure of date but there was a riot at front gate. I was on duty that day, had to give a report to IG on what happened, I know one village woman lost a baby, was hit they said by an MP. They wanted their money owed by GI's before we shipped out. Slicky Boys put women and kids up to fence and hit the front gatehouse with rocks from stream on other side of road, all windows broken out and MPs hit. I know there was a page about it Stars and Strips newspaper. ROK's came and flattened all quonset huts put up tents,  said it would make the ROK's too soft living in them. That was the last of Fort Beavers as we knew it.

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The Kimchi Jug

Who thought this idea for camaraderie up I do not know. When I arrived at the 1-73rd in June 1966, the Kimchi Jug game had been in existence for some considerable time already. Since there were two infantry divisions in Korea, the 7th and the 2nd, armor/cavalry units were dwarfed by the number of infantry and artillery battalions. To foster camaraderie between the "lonesome" armor/cavalry units in the 7th ID the Kimchi Jug game was conceived. The units involved were the 1-73rd and the 2-10th Cav. The 2-10 Cav was at Camp Kaiser. Depending upon who the 7th ID CG was, the 2-10 was either a divisional unit or a component of the 1st Brigade based at Camp Kaiser. While I was in Korea we had no liaison at all with the armor/cavalry units of the 2nd ID except that in Oct/Nov 66 NCOs from one of the 2nd ID armor battalions acted as graders for us at TCQC at Chip-O-Ri.

A formal set of rules was written up. One of the units started out in possession of the jug. The jug was supposed to be located in the officers club out in the open, not hidden in a closet for instance. One or more officers from the unit seeking to "capture" the jug had to do so during the time of day when the club would be open for business. This meant after duty hours during weekdays or perhaps starting at noon on Saturday or Sunday. The idea was to get to know the armor officers in the other unit. This meant you had a "few" drinks together. At some point during the visit, one or more of the "visiting" officers would attempt to "liberate" the jug from the current holder. I recall the rules stating that once you got out the door or the building with it in your possession, it was your unit's until the other unit came to "visit" your club and tried to get it back. Now if the guys in the unit currently in possession of the jug saw your guys making off with it and managed to "tag" them before they got out of the building, your unit's attempt had failed. Tag meant not tackle or punch but a gentle slap on the arm or back or whatever part could be reached before the absconders got out the door.

Walt Mays recalls a time when the 2-10 Cav had the jug and a number of 1-73rd officers went to their club to "socialize." Walt and another officer "cased" the club and found out where the jug was located. It was not in the main bar area. The room/area it was in was in proximity to the latrine and not in line of sight of the main bar. Walt and the other officer talked to one or two more conspirators and came up with a plan. Walt and one officer went to the area where the the jug was located and secured it. They then took it into the latrine. Conveniently, there was an exterior window. They opened the window and passed the jug out to the officer(s) waiting outside. They took the jug to their vehicle and returned to Ft B. Walt and his accomplice returned to the bar to have another drink before departing. Very well done.

What led to the demise of the Jug was that the CO of the 2-10 Cav was either visiting Ft B on official business or just passed thru in the middle of an afternoon. He went into the club, located the Jug and walked off with it and took it back to Camp Kaiser. The Korean club manager and/or his assistant observed this take place. This was clearly outside the rules. I do not know how soon it was before the 1-73rd organized a "raiding party" to go after the Jug. I do not know if we were smart or not but the longer you let the other guy hold whatever it is you want the less his vigilance will be. 

On the occasion of our "visit/raid" I believe we were wearing khakis. So it must have at least been it May 1967. Dick Dreiman was by then, I think, the Bn S4. He got a jeep and also arranged for a 2.5tn truck. I think 8-10 of us from the 1-73rd might have gone. As I recall when we arrived the 2-10 Cav CO was in the club wearing some casual civvies and reading some Army manual. There were maybe two or three other officers present. The CO was surprised of course. He said they were expecting to have their Squadron Oganizational Readiness Test (ORT) in a couple of days and they could not socialize. The ORT began with a no notice alert. We could have one drink and we would have to leave. What did this guy think we had come there at 2000-2100 in the evening for? Some of our guys ordered drinks and some others, this being their first visit to the 2-10 club started looking around. Of course they were looking for the jug too. They found it and reported back to whoever was nominally in charge of our group. 

The 2-10 CO may have finally guessed why we had come. I think he sent one of his people out to try and gather reinforcements. The 2-10 had filled the jug with sand and had piled several obstacles around it. Our "liberating" detail was sent to take possession and moved off to do so. The CO began to get chesty and tried to exercise his superior officer status. The jug was fairly large as I recall and now filled with sand was quite heavy. This now became like rugby. Most of our guys became blockers and tried to prevent the 2-10 people from "tagging" ours. As I recall, one of their guys did get his hand(s) on the jug but we were not going to give up so easily in view of the underhanded and illegal method by which their CO had taken the jug from the Ft B club. The jug only had so much tensile strength and being pulled two or three ways at once, it cracked and fell to the floor crashing into several pieces. Our guys scooped up the pieces and beat feet for the exit.

We piled into our vehicles and headed out of the 2-10 area. Now not being satisfied, as we exited the 2-10 area they had a sign like we did over the highway at the entrance to Ft B. We had a rope or a cable in the 2.5tn and hooked it up around the support of the sign and to the towing pintle. One good jerk from the truck and down it came. I think we went round trip to Camp Kaiser using the Greek Valley Road entering and departing from the West Gate. I fully expected to see an MP jeep or two, red light flashing coming after us but none did. 

Back at Ft B we all celebrated our "victory" with several rounds at the club.

The next evening at the supper in the club, LTC Mather was quite upset with our conduct as related to him by the 2-10 CO in a phone call. LTC Mather was reminded of the illegal manner in which the jug had been removed from Ft B. What happened after that I know not for in about a month or so I went back to the USA. This experiment in camaraderie had failed. 

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Share my interest in Fort Beavers or 73rd Armor? Want to comment on some of the photos, or point me toward some of your own photos? Have something to add to the memory list? Please get in touch!

Just click this address to send me mail:

fortbeavers@yahoo.com

Do You Remember?
Alerts
The Wooden Bridge Old Faithful
25 cent haircuts
$5 a month house boys
$2 steam bath
25 cent a pack cigarettes
Pall Malls in your C-Rations with canned apricots
paper "chit" books ($50 a booklet) at the NCO club
Slot machines that paid $50 jackpots when we only made around $250 a month as E6s
400 Won kimchie cab ride to TDC
260 Won to the dollar
100 WON a beer
OB Beer 
Mockly rice wine
Slickey Boys
# 1 or # 10 GI