Korean War Legacy Project

Bjorn Lind

Bio

Bjorn Lind was born October 1st, 1920 in Oslo, Norway. He trained as an anesthesiologist at the Norwegian Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, known as NORMASH, in first Euijeongbu and later, after it moved, in Dongducheon in 1952 and then again in 1954. Bjorn Lind’s education was interrupted by Nazi occupation during World War II but resumed after the war. He became one of only ten anesthesiologists in Norway in 1948 and the only one at NORMASH during his service. He describes seeing about 30 wounded men a day and is very proud of the 1% death rate his unit was able to achieve in its frontline tent hospital with sand floors. During his second tour, Bjorn was joined by his wife Randi who was an X-ray nurse. He is proud of his service calling it valuable training for his medical career and also astonished at the progress South Korea has made since his time there in the 1950s.

Video Clips

Working at NORMASH

Bjorn Lind describes his daily experience at the NORMASH field hospital in 1952. He describes the pace of about 60 patients a day that of course depended on the frequency of fighting. Even with so many wounded, the unit maintained a 1% death rate. He describes one patient with 40 shrapnel wounds. These wounds were the majority of the types of cases they saw. Bjorn worked on organizing the surgical room to increase efficiency by developing a better process for preparing and recovering patients making use of the limited number of operating tables in a better manner.

Tags: Dongducheon,Euijeongbu,Front lines

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD6s6rA94mg&start=1143&end=1400

Return to Korea 60 Years Later

Bjorn Lind returned to Korea in 2014 after 60 years away having left service in 1954. He was surprised and impressed upon his return to Seoul. When he left in 1954, he remembers not being sure if South Korea would ever survive. He recounts how used X-rays would become windows in homes. Bjorn Lind is proud of how South Korea grew from a poor agricultural nation. He is impressed with their improvements and also respects how they treat veterans like him to this day.

Tags: Dongducheon,Euijeongbu,Impressions of Korea,Modern Korea,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD6s6rA94mg&start=2258&end=2461

Better than the Swedes

Bjorn Lind describes how patients moved from the aid stations at the front lines, to his NORMASH unit, and then to evacuation hospitals further south to recover. He discusses death rates at the front lines being at around 4% compared to his unit's 1% rate. Bjorn Lind talks about a group of Swedes who visited from their hospital located in Busan. With pride, he pokes fun at how his unit's accomplishments compared to those of Norway's national rival Sweden.

Tags: Dongducheon,Euijeongbu,Front lines,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD6s6rA94mg&start=2898&end=3064

Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

B:        My name is Bjorn Lind.

I:          Can you spell it?
B:        Eh, B – uh, I don’t, do not think you have that uh.

I:          Right .  So O

B:        O – R-N.

I:          Okay, Bjorn.

B:        Yeah.  And then Lind which is L-I-N-D.

I:          That’s your last name.
B:        Yeah, that’s my last name.

I:          Okay.

0:00:30

And you can just up hold a little, yes, that’s better, that’s better so that we can have all your face.  And how old are you today?
B:        I am 99 years old in, uh, 13 days.

I:          Thirteen days?
B:        Yeah.  That

I:          So

B:        The first of October I am 99 years old.

I:          So you were born in

B:        Twenty, 1920.

I:          1920.

0:01:00

B:        Yeah.

I:          You are the legend.  And you don’t really, I, I, to be honest with you, you don’t look like a 99 year-old.

B:        No, but I feel like it.

I:          Wow.

B:        My, my legs at least feel like close to 100 years.

I:          Yeah.  All parts of our body, warranty expiring.  But what is the secret that you been maintaining

0:01:30

good health?

B:        That’s just luck.

I:          Uh, please share some secret.

B:        Good fortune, you know.

I:          You drink?
B:        My, my, yes.  My, uh, my father was 91.  My grandfather was, uh, 99.

I:          So it’s in the DNA.

B:        See seen, yes.

I:          But you regularly exercise?

B:        Not any more.

I:          You used to?

B:        Yeah, yes, but that was not [INAUDIBLE] professional, uh.  I, I was just am, amateur.

0:02:00

I:          Amateur.

B:        Amateur, yes.

I:          Um hm.  Anything you specially eating?

B:        No.

I:          No?

B:        No.

I:          You eat everything?

B:        Everything, yes.

I:          Hey, next year is going to be 70th anniversary of the Korean War as I  mentioned,

B:        Yeah.

I:          So you going to celebrate 100 years

B:        Yes.

I:          And then also we all together celebrate and commemorate

0:02:30

100, I  mean 70th anniversary.

B:        Yeah.

I:          The War that you fought for.  So that’s great.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Where were you born?

B:        In Oslo.

I:          Oslo.

B:        Yeah.

I:          So tell me about your family background when you were growing up.

B:        Yes.

I:          Uh, your parents and your siblings, brothers and sisters if there are any.

B:        No.

I:          No?  You are the only child?

B:        No, I, I, I had one brother, and he has died nearly 20 years ago.

0:03:00

I:          Uh huh.

B:        Yeah.  He was my younger brother.

I:          Uh.  How about your parents?

B:        My parents?  Uh, my father, he worked at the electrical bureau

I:          Um.

B:        [INAUDIBLE]

0:03:30

and we lived in a small apartment, small apartment.  Unfortunately, my father, he smoked nearly day and night and that has, uh, the [INAUDIBLE] is that my legs are, uh, smoker’s legs.

I:          Oh.

B:        Yes.  And I, I, I think he would have been rather, he would have disliked this very much

0:04:00

if he knew how, had known that

I:          Um.

B:        his other, and this also [INAUDIBLE] his smoking.

I:          I’m so sorry.  But he lived until  91, right?  I mean he, he

B:        Yeah.

I:          He was 91 year-old?

B:        Yes.

I:          So if he didn’t smoke, he could have lived longer or

B:        Yeah, yeah

I:          shorter?  Who knows?

B:        But a lot his legs were, uh, uh, they, uh, uh,

0:04:30

they were not, not good.

I:          Um.

B:        He had, he had, he had, uh, his legs were amputated

I:          Um hm.

B:        before he died.

I:          Oh, I see.

B:        Just because, because of this.

I:          Um hm.  And what about school you went through?

B:        Yeah.
I:          What kind of school you went through?

B:        Private schools, five years.

I:          Five years?  Uh.

B:        Secondary and then uh, the, uh,

0:05:00

gymnasium as we called it.

I:          Um hm.  When?

B:        Uh, I, I, uh, I graduated in, uh, ’39, 1939 I graduated and started, gone to medical, uh, medicalist study.

I:          Medical study.

B:        Yeah.
I:          Where?

B:        Oslo.

I:          Was it University  of Oslo?

B:        University of Oslo, yes.

I:          Tell me more about it.  What did you study, and what did you do?

0:05:30

B:        Yes.  When I studied medicine, we, we started with Physics and Chemistry, eh, one or two years, Anatomy and Physiology.

I:          Yeah.
B:        Yes.

I:          Um.

B:        And then after that the University was closed because of the German Occupation of Norway.

I:          German occupation.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.
B:        And in two years, I worked

0:06:00

at the hospital in [HAMOK]

I:          [HAMOK]?

B:        Yeah.

I:          Uh.

B:        as a medical candidate actually.  That is, uh, whatever I could do as a, as a student.

I:          Um hm.  So like a intern or resident.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

B:        That would, yeah.

0:06:30

So that the [INAUDIBLE] was, uh, very fortunate when I, uh, later entered the study again because I, I had very, I had practice.  I had written a large number of medical journals and I had assisted in large number of [INAUDIBLE] operations.

I:          Um, so when did you become a doctor, medical doctor?

B:        In 1948.

0:07:00

I:          1948.  And what was your specialty, surgeon?

B:        Uh, no, no specialty at that time.

I:          Oh.

B:        In 1950, I started a specialty in anesthesiology.

I:          Oh.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Oh, so

B:        I, I had one year in University Hospital of Oslo, and then I

0:07:30

had a stipend, stipend.  I, I do not know what to call it.  But I had the opportunity to study one year in Copenhagen.

I:          Copenhagen.

B:        Yeah.

I:          What did you study?

B:        Anesthesiology. And that was the WHO, uh, possibility for me to study there.

I:          Um hm.

B:        We were fifth, we were fifth in, uh, uh, students,

0:08:00

medical students from, uh, European countries [INAUDIBLE]  And, of course, one year course in Denmark.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And then I had finished there, this Korean War had started.  And they, there were no anesthesiologists in Oslo or in Norway.

I:          Hm.

B:        They were, they, we were only 10, that’s all in, in all the world and none that had the possibility of joining the

0:08:30

I:          What do you mean?  You, only 10 doctors there?

B:        Yeah, yes, in, and the [SOLDIER] yes.

I:          Only 10 Anesthesiology

B:        Yeah.

I:          In Norway?

B:        Because it, quite a, a new specialty in Norway.
I:          Ha.

B:        And quite a new specialty.

I:          When was it, 1950
B:        Yeah, uh, yeah, in, I finished in Copenhagen 1952, and I had, uh, I was nearly forced to join the

0:09:00

Norwegian hospital in Korea and the Nor, Norwegian, uh, uh, [INAUDIBLE] hospital in Korea.  And that is, I was the first [INAUDIBLE] I found it as my duty to do that because I was the only Norwegian anesthesiologist within work on the special hospital at that time.

I:          Huh.

B:        because I just finished my, my, uh, lesson, my, uh, course in Copenhagen.

I:          Um.

B:        So from there, from Copenhagen I

0:09:30

flew to Korea and there was an anesthesiologist in, in the NORMASH.

I:          So you, you flew from Copenhagen, not from Oslo.

B:        Yeah, I think it flew from Oslo, yes, from Oslo.

I:          Yeah, yeah.  And when, when did you leave for Korea?  Was it

B:        Uh, I think it was June, June ’52.

I:          June ’52.

B:        And it was summer ’52.  But the, I left June or July.  I, I, that I do not remember.

0:10:00

I:          Okay.  So you are the only one of the 10 doctor who were able to do this, anesthesia

B:        Yeah, yeah

I:          And how did you find about  how you can go to Korea?  Who did ask you to go to Korea or did you volunteer?

B:        Yeah, yeah.  I volunteered.  But the, I was asked by the, uh, the, the Norwegian, um, um, Chief of, um, Army

0:10:30

I:          Um

B:        And, and, um, well they had a service.

I:          So Norway Army asked you go to Korea.

B:        Yeah, yes, yes.

I:          Uh huh.  That’s how you went up.

B:        Yeah.

I:          And you didn’t refuse.  You wanted to go.

B:        Yes, yes.

I:          Um hm.  You were not afraid?

B:        I was not afraid.  But I thought that

0:11:00

I, I was too short education to participate in a war zone.

I:          Ah.

B:        Yeah.

I:          You were a doctor.  I mean,  many of the male

B:        Yes, but, but my specialty was only two years.

I:          Right.

B:        Yeah.

I:          But most of the nurse, they went to Korea without knowing much about how to do, help medically.

B:        I don’t think that was the case for the  Norwegian nurses.  They, they

0:11:30

were specially, specially selected.

I:          So, um, before you finished gymnasium and then you went to University of Oslo.  You were educated in Copenhagen

B:        Yeah

I:          Did you know anything about Korea at the time?

B:        No.

I:          Nothing?

B:        Nothing.

I:          Oh.  And so school didn’t teach you anything about it?

B:        Except it had been some skaters, some very good Korean skaters.

I:          What do you mean?

0:12:00

What  is that?  Oh, you mean skate?

B:        Yes, yeah, yeah.

I:          Huh.

B:        Some Korean skaters I, I, I had heard about because, you see, that, that, that sport is very, very, eh, right in Norway.

I:          Hm.
B:        I think they were from North Korea.  But that was before the War of course.

I:          I see.

B:        Yeah.

I:          So when you decide to go to Korea, did your parents say

0:12:30

anything about it?

B:        No, no.

I:          No.  So you were independent.

B:        Yeah, yeah.

I:          Okay.

B:        Yeah.  I was, actually I think I was, uh, I was married at that time, yes.

I:          Married?
B:        Yeah.

I:          Then what  about your wife?  You, your wife didn’t go with you, right?

B:        No.

I:          So, did, did she say anything to you?
B:        Actually we  just, shouldn’t tell you.

0:13:00

But in ’54, [INAUDIBLE] they, they gave the ane, anesthesiologist

I:          Um hm.

B:        and I said I go the second time if I may bring my wife

I:          Um hm.

B:        as a nurse cause she was a nurse.

I:          Ah.

B:        So she has pretty career, too.  But she died 20 years ago now.

I:          I’m sorry?

B:        She, uh, she died, uh, 20 years ago I think.

0:13:30

I:          She couldn’t go?

B:        You, yes she went to Korea together with me in ’54.

I:          Fifty-four.
B:        Yes.  But then, at that time, they, they, NORMASH ended.

I:          I know.
B:        Yes.  So we were only four months I think.

I:          I see.

B:        Yeah.

I:          But when you went to Korea in 1952

B:        Yeah

I:          You went there by yourself, without your wife?

B:        Oh yeah, yeah.

I:          Hm.

B:        There were none, no, none wives in Korea.

I:          Right.

B:        No.

I:          So Army did not allow

0:14:00

you to bring  your wife.

B:        No, no.

I:          Um.  And when did you arrive in Korea?

B:        Yeah, uh,

I:          Do you remember?

B:        No.  Only that it was the summer or ’52.

I:          Summer ’52.

B:        Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I:          And was it in the Kimpo Airport?

B:        It was in, we landed in, in, Japan and

0:14:30

we went by air, another plane to, uh, I do not know which airport it was, no.

I:          Um.

B:        I, I don’t remember that.

I:          And then you went up to [Dungechon] or Uijeongbu?

B:        Yeah.

I:          Was it [Dungechon]?

B:        Eh, to the, the first place, uh, [EPLOG] and also the Apple, the thing they called in Norwegian the Apple, um, Garden.

I:          Was it Uijeongbu or [Dungechon]?  Which one, Uijeongbu or [Dungechon]?

 

0:15:00

B:        It, uh, [Dungechon] was the final one.  Uh, I went to the first one  you, you named,

I:          Uijeongbu.

B:        Yeah, yeah.

I:          Okay.

B:        Yeah.

I:          And

B:        But then, you know, they, they moved the hospital to, to [Dungechon]

I           [Dungechon]

B:        Yes.

I:          Um hm.

B:        I participated in the movement of course.

I:          Oh, okay.

B:        Yes.

I:          And what

0:15:30

did you think about Korea at the time you, when you saw for the first time?  How was it?  Tell me the details.  And, and speak up little bit more.

B:        Yeah.

I:          And, yeah.

B:        It, it, it was very much destroyed by bomb, bombs, by, by, uh, gunfire artillery.  Where we had our camp in [Dungechon] and, and nearby they had big, um, uh, small town, 20,000 inhabitants,

0:16:00

and all that we could see was eh, eh, eh, some, um, fire, uh, some, um, chimneys, some chimneys.  That was all that was left.

I:          Hm.

B:        It was totally destroyed.
I:          Totally flat.

B:        Yeah.  Totally flat.  Some chimneys were so, all that was could see and, and, it had been 20 inhabitants there.

I:          Uh huh.

0:16:30

What were you thinking when you see for the first time?  You didn’t know anything about Korea

B:        No.

I:          Honestly ,what, what were you thinking about?

B:        Well, I have, I, I, did hope that I would do a good job for the, for the Koreans.

I:          Um.

B:        Eh, their landscape was

0:17:00

somewhat like Norway.  There were hills.

I:          Um.

B:        But there weren’t no woods.  They said that the Japanese had cut down all the woods.  So, so it didn’t exist, and it looks, in, in the

I:          Um hm.

B:        In the, in the, in Korea at that time.

I:          And also lot of bombing.

B:        Yes.

I:          Um  hm.

B:        Oh, yeah.

0:17:30

I:          So when you joined the NORMASH in [Dungechon]

B:        Yeah.

I:          Uh, Uijeongbu first

B:        Yeah.

I:          how did they treat you?  Did they welcome you or what happened.

B:        Yes, yes.

I:          Tell me.  The first day you joined the NORMASH,, how was it?

B:        Uh, I finally met very many friends and actually when I went, uh, around then, you meet the different persons there.

0:18:00

Then I went, I, I, um, met them, them church, churchman and he said, uh, well,  uh, nice to meet you, uh, Dr. Lind, it’s the third time you are, uh, you are, uh, uh, meeting me now.

I:          Um.

B:        Yeah.  They were, at least,

0:18:30

[INAUDIBLE] Norwegians, us, you know?  And they had the, nearly as many Korean helpers.

I:          Um hm.

B:        They were, uh, I think there were two Korean doctors at that time.

I:          Um.

B:        in the, in, in, in, uh, staff.

I:          What, how did, I mean, at the time, I, I wasn’t sure.  But who, must be they work as a doctor before the War broke out, right?

0:19:00

And so how was life there?  How many patients do you have to do, you know?
B:        Yes.

I:          Tell me those detail, I mean daily routine, how many, uh, patients, what kind of, any, anything stands out

B:        Yeah.  I, yes.  Um, uh, we received roughly 60 wounded patients say every second day.

0:19:30

That was what the, the hospital crew, uh, afford, could take care of.

I:          Sixty patients every second, every two days?

B:        Yes.

I:          So almost like 30 patients a day.

B:        You see, that depended on the fighting because, uh, there, there, there was fighting [STAMMERS] about seven hills and the, when the Chinese bombarded the hill,

0:20:00

then, then nothing was left.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And the next time the, the, Allied did the same.

I:          Yeah.

B:        And there, therefore [INAUDIBLE] every second day.  It wasn’t actually every second day.  But, but then we received 60 patients.  That was what we could afford to, uh, pre-surgical help.

I:          Um.  Must been hard to watch all

0:20:30

B:        Yeah.

I:          these people bleeding and tell me about those.

B:        Yeah.  It, well, the, the fortunate thing was that at the hospital we had not more than, uh, little be, beyond one person death. So those arrived at the hospital need all, uh, remained in life.  Very, very few

0:21:00

death at the hospital.  But, of course, there were many badly wounded, badly wounded, and one of the patients had 40 shrapnels which had to be ex,

I:          Taken out.

B:        Yeah, taken out, yes.  And, and that those, uh, the, the, it was mostly shrapnels we treated.

I:          Um.

0:21:30

B:        And uh, I could, uh, I organized the surgical work at that time.

I:          Um.

B:        because that I, I was interested because you see we had ordered 22 operating tables.  But, uh, uh, the, part before, before us, they added two, um, stretcher tables

0:22:00

so they could operate on four.  But then there was when the, they had operated on the fourth table, then it took a very long time before they were carried out, next, uh, carried in and prepared for operation and anesthetized.

I:          Um.  I did, uh, study all that and found out that they could, they should only operate on two tables, and then we did,

0:22:30

prepared the, the two next tables so that then the surgeons were finished at the first table they could go directly, and that was very much saving of time.  So, uh, at, uh, then they could in fact actually work eight hours, rest eight hours, work eight hours because they, yes, that was, cause I, I, I found out, uh,

0:23:00

[STAMMERS] and we had the same, uh, we, we, we did, we, we managed the same, the same number of patients.

I:          Good.  So you did time study.

B:        Yeah, yeah, I did a time study of that.

I:          Very good.

B:        Yes, yes, and did

I:          How about facility there?  Was it good enough?  Was it clean enough or, please tell me about the

0:23:30

the lack of hospital tent and how you did it, what kind of equipment you had, all these things, please.

B:        Yeah.

I:          And please a little bit, speak up little bit more.

B:        Yeah, and once you believe that the, a tented operation wasn’t as good.  But it worked very well actually, and they, they, they had all the equipment we needed that was

0:24:00

American equipment we had.  Of course we had American uniforms and American tents to.  Everything was from, uh, American and we, we were part of the Eighth Army.

I:          Um hm.  Eighth Army.

B:        Yes.  And the, the floor was sand.

I:          Right.

B:        But that didn’t make, we, we had very few infections,

0:24:30

very, very little death what was never problems.

I:          Um hm.

B:        So, uh, I think it worked [INAUDIBLE] hospitals.  And, um, all the personnel was very dedicated, very, very dedicated.  So when the, I mean, there were

0:25:00

cooks.  There were military personnel, and they were helping all the time.

I:          Hm.

B:        And the cooks, they made, uh, foods, all, all, all overnight.  So we’d, we’d be the very, very well taken care of, much better than in the, in the, uh, civilian hospital.

I:          Oh.

B:        Yes.

I:          That’s pretty god.

B:        Yes, it was very god.

0:25:30

I:          Anything you remember, any patient that you remember was very traumatic?

B:        Uh, as you may have yet, there was one patient which, uh, uh, doctor, doc treated

I:          Dr. who?

B:        Dr. Yurt.

I:          Dr. Yurt?

0:26:00

B:        Yes.  He, he was, um, our surgeon.  He was a [INAUDIBLE] which had a very large bleeding.  And  the details I’m not, I’m not, uh, able to describe it.

0:26:30

I:          Um.

B:        But at least, um, uh, he saved us.  He saved life and, uh, he [INAUDIBLE] and left it to the King of Norway.

I:          I’m sorry?

B:        His, the father of the patient wrote a letter to the King of Norway

I:          Ah.

B:        and said for he had, uh, saved his son.

I:          Ah ha.

B:        So that was a very special patient.

I:          I see.

B:        Yes.

0:27:00

But I had not seen this guy exactly and the wound and the, the, the way he saved it.  But it, it’s, it’s uh, it’s described in the [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Um.

B:        [INAUDIBLE] Korean War.

0:27:30

I:          How was, uh, Korean doctor did?  Was he good?

B:        Yes.  They, the did a good job, yes.  I think they went and had the outpatients.  The, the other one was, uh, together with, together with us in, uh, in the [INAUDIBLE] team, the, in the surgical team.

I:          Uh.

B:        In the surgical team.  Uh, and he went to Norway and did work at least some time in  Norway later.

0:28:00

I:          How was the, uh, where, I mean, so what, what was your rank at the time?

B:        Captain.

I:          Captain?

B:        Yes.

I:          So you became the Captain.

B:        Yes.
I:          From the very beginning.

B:        Yes, yes.

I:          Yes.

B:        Because I was a specialized, uh, the, the, the, The main [INAUDIBLE] Lieutenant.

0:28:30

I:          Lieutenant.

B:        Yeah, yeah.

I:          Um hm.  And

B:        So the gen, these young doctors who had served in, in Germany actually after the War

I:          Hm

B:        we had them, um, in Germany.

I:          Yes.

B:        And, uh, the young doctors, they came from Germany.  And they were Lieutenants.

0:29:00

I:          And so you were paid by the U.S. Military or by the Norwegian government?

B:        Yeah.  By the, the, Norway paid

I:          Norway?

B:        [INAUDIBLE] yes.

I:          How much was it?

B:        Not, uh, you see,  I, I, uh, I was, they were not, not compared to what, what, what physicians work in Norway.

I:          Exactly, yeah.  Must be very small.

0:29:30

B:        It was, [STAMMERS] people in the Army [INAUDIBLE] I, I was paid as an Captain in the Army.

I:          I see.

B:        Yes.

I:          So no more special treatment for doctors.

B:        No, no.

I:          Oh, that’s not good.

B:        No.

I:          Were you able to write letter back to your wife?
B:        Yes.  Yes.  And the letters to the, the personnel in Korea

0:30:00

was [INAUDIBLE] We wanted it very much.  Very, very much.

I:          Um hm.

B:        That was, uh, top of the day.
I:          Do you still keep those letters you have written?
B:        No.

I:          No.  Ah, that’s

B:        Some do it.  But I, I haven’t.

I:          You don’t have it now.

B:        No.

I:          No.

B:        No.

I:          Okay.  So did you go  back to Norway to bring your wife?

0:30:30

You said that your wife came to Korea 1954.

B:        You see, I was there half a year.  That was the, the, the period that we had to serve.

I:          Right.  And then?
B:        And then I went to England to, to, for my first specialization.

I:          When did you leave Korea?

B:        Uh, at the end of the year ’52.

I:          Fifty-two.

B:        Yeah.

I:          And then did you come back to Korea again?

B:        Yes in ’54.

0:31:00

I:          When, uh, only ’54 or when?

B:        Eh, I think that was summer ’54.

I:          And you came with your wife.

B:        Then I came with my wife.

I:          Ha.  So your wife is also NORMASH.

B:        Yes.

I:          What’s her name?

B:        It’s, Randi.

I:          Could you spell it?

B:        R-A-N-D-I.

I:          Randi.

B:        Yeah.

0:31:30

I:          So Randi Lind.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.

B:        Yeah.

I:          And she was already nurse, right?

B:        Yeah, yes.

I:          So she must be one of the most professional nurse there.
B:        Yes, she was professional nurse, yes.

I:          Um hm.  So did you live together then?  You sleep together.

B:        Yes we did.  We did have one tent together, the two of us.

I:          That’s very special.
B:        Yeah, yes it was very special.  And none of the Americans had their, the opportunity to bring wives.

I:          So everybody should have been very envious and jealous of you.

0:32:00

B:        Yeah, yeah.

I:          Ha.,

B:        Yeah.

I:          So how was it?  How was it like to be with your wife and serving  as a NORMASH there?

B:        She, she had her own job, of course.

I:          What did she do?

B:        She was a, x-ray, uh, she was x-ray nurse at that time.

0:32:30

I:          That’s very important, too.

B:        Yeah, yeah.
I:          Um hm.  And in 1952, were you able to see North Koreans and Chinese soldiers, too?

B:        No, no.

I:          Not at all?

B:        No, not at all.

I:          But I know that there

B:        Very, very, very, very few [PENETRATORS]

I:          Very what?

B:        Few, few, few [PENETRATORS]

0:33:00

I:          Um hm.  But no, no.  I’m talking about patients, those were wounded.

B:        Oh, no.  I, I saw no, none, I think

I:          But altogether more than 100 Chinese and North Korean soldiers been treated by the NORMASH.

B:        Yes.

I:          But you haven’t seen that.

B:        Eh, I, I, I cannot remember at least that.  I, I haven’t seen

I:          Um hm.

B:        them, some.

0:33:30

I:          So mostly the patients were American or British Commonwealth?  Who were they?

B:        Or, or [INAUDIBLE] Korean.  Many, many Korean.

I:          But that was after the Armistice, right?

B:        No.  That, that was during the War.  After the Armistice, they were, and they were several American, uh, patients but mostly Korean civilian patients.

I:          Right, after the War.

B:        Yeah, yeah.

I:          But even during the War, you treated lot of Korean patients?

0:34:00

B:        Yes.  If, if there was a stop in  the, uh, if the fighting stopped, the hospital was more or less empty.  Then we had the possibility to admit, uh, uh, Korean patients up to 40% of the beds.

I:          Forty percent.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.

B:        And the, the patients, they were carried to the hospital by [INAUDIBLE] in their, you know, eh,

0:34:30

I:          By A-frame.

B:        Yes.

I:          Yes.  And they are not soldiers but Korean civilians.

B:        Yes.

I:          Um hm.

B:        Korean civilians.

I:          What was the most case, like a disease or is it broken bones?  What was it?

B:        Some have, uh, some have, um, been hurt by, by mines of course.

0:35:00

But, uh, it was, you, you see, I was the anesthesiologist.  I had nothing to do with their

I:          At your  surgery.

B:        Yeah,[STAMMERS] except surgery, yeah.  And two of the civilians needed surgery.

I:          Um hm.  Were you able to visit  Seoul when you were there?
B:        Yes, yes.

I:          How was it, Seoul?

0:35:30

B:        They live, uh, badly by the War.  Very badly hurt by the War.

I:          Um.
B:        [INAUDIBLE] over windows, not property.

I:          And so when did you leave Korea with your wife?  Did you leave, uh, Korea with wife together, right?

B:        Yeah.

I:          When did you leave?

B:        At the end of 1954.

I:          Fifty-four, end of ’54?

0:36:00

B:        Uh, I think it was November ’54.

I:          Um hm.  And have you been back to Korea then since then?

B:        Yes, yes.

I:          When:

B:        Uh, I think it was five years ago.

I:          Um hm.

B:        I don’t even remember exactly.

I:          Just  once?

B:        Once.

I:          Just once you back to Korea?

B:        Only once and, and the Koreans took very, very good care of us. Fantastic.

0:36:30

This, this watch is a present from, from Korea.

I:          Um.

B:        And I had several of, uh, very nice presents, very nice presents.  And we were, um, shown many interesting sites and, uh, shows and, uh, we had, uh, nice hotels, good food and

0:37:00

were taking very, very, very well care of during that visit.

I:          Did you like it?

B:        Yes, I liked it.

I:          Um.

B:        And at that time, I had my new, uh, wife

I:          Um hm.

B:        with me.

I:          Your new wife.

B:        Yeah.  So, so I brought, uh, um, [STAMMERS] a person with me.  We were paid for two, and we had a very, very nice time in Korea,

0:37:30

and Korea takes very, very, very care of their, um, veterans.

I:          Um.

B:        Very, very good.

I:          So when you went back to Korea in 2014 and when you saw Seoul, how did it different?  How did it look different?  Tell me the details because the children in the school, they don’t have any idea about this transformation from Seoul in 1950’s  to 21st century.

B:        Yes.

0:38:00

In 1952, Korea was a very backward nation as, I can tell you that in their agriculture they, they, uh, produced rice.  But also, they, cows, they, they’re not, they, they did not produce milk.  They were only used for, for, uh, uh, for [DRAWING]

I:          Yeah.

B:        So, and, and

0:38:30

when we went back in, in, as you say, say in,  in 2014 and saw all those, um, very modern and, and a large city, uh, impressive, very, very, uh.  So that was a, and very, very nice people.  And [INAUDIBLE] actually for us who had seen it, uh, in, uh, in the 50’s.

0:39:00

I:          Yeah.

B:        You see, when, when I left Korea, when, when a person asked me what’s the future of South Korea, and that, I, I didn’t like to answer because it looked so very, very poor and bad.  And the, I, I can tell you that the boys, the Korean boys who worked at x-ray, they very,

0:39:30

even when we left the x-ray films, and that was a fortune because they could send it as windows.

I:          Um hm.

B:        So it was, you know, [minerals and cold] was, everything was in North Korea.  In South Korea, [INAUDIBLE] angry country.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And, uh, a very

0:40:00

cruel angry country actually.

I:          Um hm.

B:        [INAUDIBLE]  so, so, uh, it was very interesting, too, to see how they had, how Korea had developed in that time.  And, of course, you see it in cars and in, I n, uh, operators and everywhere.

I:          Hm.

B:        Korea is a nation well off.

0:40:30

And I cannot, I must, all the time press how they had taken care of their, their veterans from the War.  And, of course, if the veterans, if  the United Nations had not supported Korea, then all will have been  North Korea of course.  So, it, it’s understandably

I:          Um hm.

B:        that they appreciate.

I:          Of course.

B:        Yeah.

0:41:00

I:          Yes.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Do you know the Korean economy rank right now in the world?  What, what is the number one country in the world, economy?
B:        No, I, I do not know.

I:          And Korea is number 11.

B:        Yeah.  That, that really may be.

I:          Unbelievable, right?

B:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  I, I not just because I am Korean.

0:41:30

But also I am political scientist, and I wrote the book about Korea

 

B:        Yeah.

I:          This is unprecedented

B:        Yeah.

I:          in a very short  period of time

B:        Oh yeah.

I:          from complete devastation to 11th largest economy in the world.

B:        Yeah.  It, it’s, yeah, uh, I, I am the first to, to appreciate that.  But it’s, it ‘s quite unbelievable for, for us who were in Korea in, in the  50’s.

I:          Um hm.

B:        I can believe it.

0:42:00

I:          And that is your legacy.

B:        Yeah.

I:          But you know that Korean War known as Forgotten War.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Some thing very good came out of those 1950 Korea, right?
B:        Yes.
I:          But people say it’s the Forgotten War.  Why?

B:        Yes.

I:          Why?  Why they think is the case?

0:42:30

B:        I think them, they, Vietnamese War, uh, there’s been other cases as you know.  The, because, you see, we didn’t like to tell about the Korean War because people might think that this is like the Vietnamese War.

I:          Um.

B:        It, I mean, against the people.  And so

0:43:00

at that time, I never, I never

I:          Talk about it.

B:        about the Korean War, never.

I:          Um.
B:        Because I was afraid that it would have been mixed.

I:          Hm.

B:        The, the, the Vietnam War [INAUDIBLE] totally different  war of course.

I:          Exactly, right?

B:        Yeah, yeah.

I:          How, tell, explain to Norway, Norwegian young students that how different from Korean War and Viet Nam War.

B:        Yeah, yeah.

I:          Please.

0:43:30

B:        Yes because Korean War was a war very fighted for the Korean people.  And, but in the Vietnamese War it was a, a different, quite a different, uh, approach.

I:          Um.  That’s right.  Um, So your skill as anesthesia physician,

0:44:00

you are really appreciate by the people there in NORMASH, right?

B:        Yes, yes.

I:          You must be very popular or important person there.

B:        Well, of course, there were only one anesthetist at the time.  So, of course, we were appreciated.

I:          Um hm.

B:        by the surgeons of course.

I:          Yeah.  Did you work with, did you have a chance to work with, uh, Dr. Bernard Paus?

B:        Yes, uh.

0:44:30

I knew him from the University Hospital of Oslo,

I:          Ah.

B:        you see, because he was, he was there when I, uh, specialized, worked one year at the, the University Hospital Oslo.  Then he was a doctor at that time, at the same place.

I:          Yeah.

B:        So I knew him from before.

I:          Uh huh.

B:        Yeah.

I:          And did you meet him in NORMASH?

0:45:00

B:        No.

I:          No.

B:        No.

I:          Okay.  Any other dangerous moments during your service there?

B:        No.  The fortunate thing was that the Chinese or the North Koreans, t hey did go to about the, the borderline because they were afraid of being shot down.  So [STAMMERS] never bombarded.

0:45:30

I:          Never bombarded.

B:        Never bombarded.

I:          Um h.

B:        It was a, it was dark as the night, of course.  We had no, uh, we had no, we shone no lights.  So we were prepared that they could [INAUDIBLE] overheads.  But, but they never did.  So no.

I:          Um.

0:46:00

Any, what was the most difficult thing during your service in Korea?  If you, if you are asked just to say one thing that really bothers you or what?  Whatever?

B:        Actually nothing bothered me very much.  But, but, but, of course, the drinking water was very, very chlorinized.

0:46:30

To, to, to, to, to, um, bring enough water, they had to use, uh, rivers.  And then, they had to chlorinize it because, uh, to prevent infections.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And, uh, in the Korean homes, there were infections, very, very, very of, very often.

I:          Yeah.

B:        Yeah.  Because they, they drank, uh,

0:47:00

infected water. So they had special, special diseases actually

I:          Um.

B:        because of that.  But I do not know the names of those so that, I cannot tell my more about it.

I:          I see.

B:        No.

I:          Um.
B:        And I, I, I, I did not have any, I have only good memories

0:47:30

from, from, uh, from NORMASH and my work in Korea.  And, of course if  you had spare time, then we walked around in, uh, in, in the countryside.  Only on roads or paths, of course, because, uh, outside there might be mines.

I:          Mines, yeah.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Um hm.

B:        So, uh, we were very, very, we knew very, very to, to be aware of that danger.

0:48:00

I:          Um hm.

B:        But we, we had, uh, many tours in the, in the other side, yeah.

I:          Uh hm.  You told me that there’s only 1% death rate out of the hospital.  That’s amazing, isn’t it?
B:        Yeah, it is.

I:          During the War especially.

B:        Yes it was.

I:          So you guys must been

0:48:30

very good.

B:        Yeah.  Yeah.  We had the patients directly from the first aid stations.  And there, of course, there was very little higher effect, 4% I think.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And from there they would been, went directly to other hospital, and we had them only, mostly three days.  Then they, they emigrated to

0:49:00

recreations hospital for the South and for the

I:          For the South.

B:        Yeah.  Uh, for instance, Swedish hospital in Pusan.

I:          Um hm.  Have you been to Swedish

B:        No, yes.

I:          Hospital?

B:        Yes, I visited the Swedish Hospital

I:          You mean there?

B:        Yeah, yes.

I:          Ah.
B:        I visited that hospital, too.

I:          Ah.

B:        Yeah.
I:          What did you do there?

B:        No, I

I:          Just visited.

B:        On a visit, yes.

I:          How was it?

B:        Yeah, yes, that was a [GOSH] normal hospital it was.

0:49:30

And, uh, this [INAUDIBLE] they visited NORMASH.  [I think they, and then they’ll put you on the table and you had your stay in Korea to be sent to ] Norwegian, and then they went to, to Panmunjom.  That was what they really allowed to do during the stay at the Swedish hospital.

I:          Um hm.

B:        [INAUDIBLE] Panmunjom once.  And I visited Panmunjom when it was

I:          Yeah.

B:        to.

0:50:00

I:          But Sweden hospital was in Pusan which is not in the front line.

B:        Yeah, no.

I:          So it’s not that danger, and they didn’t treat much of the wounded soldier.

B:        They brough the wounded soldiers to, to, to make it, uh, uh, secondary [INAUDIBLE]

I:          I see.  But mostly Korean people they treated, right?

B:        No.  Most Korean and, and American and the, wounded, wounded personnel.

I:          Okay.

B:        Yeah.

0:50:30

I:          So when they visited NORMASH in the front line

B:        Yeah, yeah

I:          they, they saw how you guys doing, and it’s completely different situation, right?
B:        Yes.

I:          What did they say about it?

B:        Yeah, well, once, that’s the only time the Norwegians had taken the, the right, uh, choice to have a field hospital and a  re, re, re, recreational hospital.  That’s the only time we have had done

0:51:00

it better than the Swedes.

I:          I see.  Have you sent a patient to Jutlandia, the Danish hospital ship?  Do you know?

B:        Yeah.

I:          Denmark sent, uh, Jutlandia.

B:        Yes, that, that was a very, uh, uh, they used a lot of money and, uh,

0:51:30

they had so many patients, of course.  So, uh

I:          Have you seen that hospital?

B:        Very, very costly.

I:          Yeah.

B:        Very, very costly.

I:          Um.

B:        And they were helping the Koreans.  They were there a relatively short time, and then they had to go back to

I:          That’s right.

B:        to, to Denmark.  So that was not good, uh, that was, uh, very, very costly.

I:          Yeah.

0:52:00

Okay.  Um, any Korean person you remember from NORMASH?

B:        Uh,  first I remember one of the doctors.  Kim was his name.

I:          Kim?

B:        Yeah.

I:          Um.

B:        Then I remember we had a houseboy

I:          Houseboy

B:        Yes, who took care of, who watched hourglasses for the anesthetist and brought us water and other things.

0:52:30

He was a very, very nice boy, very, very nice.

I:          Um.

B:        His father was a dentist actually.

I:          Father was dentist?
B:        Yeah, yes.

I:          Ah.  And I just had a interview with, uh, Fin Bakke.  Do you know Fin Bakke?
B:        No.

I:          You don’t?

B:        But Sommerness I know

I:          Sommerness.

B:        Yeah.

0:53:00

I:          Ah.  So you were with, together with Sommerness?
B:        No.  We were not together.  But  we had met in, um, in Korean, uh, Society.  The, the Korean Veterans Society.

I:          I see.

B:        Yeah.
I:          Um hm.  Next year will be the 70th anniversary.  It’s kind of ridiculous.  I mean after official cease fire

B:        Yeah.

I:          we haven’t had any peace treaty at all.

B:        No.

I:          So what do you think about this?

B:        It’s, sorry.

I:          Uh.

0:53:30

B:        Very unfortunate.  And, of course, Korea should be united certainly.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And very many of our veteran, uh, friends in, uh, NORMASH, they had[STAMMERS] they let him see North Korea.

I:          Yeah.  So what would you say to the Korean people next year who is going to have a

0:54:00

70th anniversary of the Korean War?  What would you say to them?  It’s, do you have any special message to them?

B:        No, not

I:          No?
B:        The only message I have that I hope that they be united, unite with the, the North Korea.

I:          Um hm.

B:        so that they, I mean, it, it’s Korean people both places and they have families off the board.  So, of course, they should, they should have the possibility to live toget, together certainly.

0:54:30

I:          What would you say to North, uh, Norwegian young students about NORMASH?

B:        I think they should know everything more about it because that was the Norwegian, uh, Norwegian did they, they gave good help to

0:55:00

our nation which had, had been shown to be worth it.

I:          Um hm.  So are you proud to be a NORMASH member?
B:        Yes, I am.  And, uh, fortunately I, it’s had a few alive at the time.

I:          Um.

B:        Oh, at least at the doctors because they, of course

0:55:30

they tend to use only the rest of the, rest of the personnel.  So doctors and the other, uh, personnel, of course, they are they are much younger and will live more and, uh, be veterans more better than, than, than, and the physicians who were, who worked in Korea and they are not, very very few alive today.

0:56:00

I:          Um hm.

B:        Very few.

I:          What is the importance of the Korean War in our history?  What do you think?

B:        That’s another few times where the United Nations have done really [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Um hm.  At the time, the Secretary General was Norwegian, right?

B:        Yeah.

0:56:30

I:          Lia.

B:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.

B:        Yes it was.  He’s, he’s from, anyway, he started  it.

I:          So I think this two country, Norway and Korea who didn’t know each other

B:        Yes.

I:          in the past.  But

B:        Today

I:          today it’s a very, kind of we should really work together more.

B:        Yes.
I:          Don’t you think?

B:        Yes, I, I agree.

I:          Yeah.

B:        I agree.

I:          So I wanna make, uh, something like

0:57:00

like the Korean War Legacy book like that for Norwegian teachers here.

B:        Thank you, and I think that is, uh, uh, hardly needed.

I:          Um hm, yes.

B:        Yes.

I:          Is there any impact of, impact of your service as a NORMASH member into your life after that?

B:        Yes.
I:          Is there any impact?

B:        Of course.

I:          What is it?

B:        I, I, I, I learned a very, it was very practice for me.  I, I, saw very many wounded patients

0:57:30

and, and that was a, a, a, was fortunate for my further work.

I:          Um hm.

B:        So I think I have earned

I:          Um

B:        much from that, uh, stay from, from my time in, in NORMASH.

I:          Um hm.  Any other story you remember to, to share with us?  Please.

0:58:00

B:        No.  It is 70 years as you know.  So, uh, I do not remember any special thing.

I:          Um.
B:        And if I had the memory, I have difficulty express it.

I:          I see.

B:        in, in English of course.

I:          I, I got it.

B:        Yes. [ If you had to examine, you know, we Norwegian actions have been, uh, ]

I:          Do you have, uh, pictures during the NORMASH?
B:        Yes.

0:58:30

I:          You have a lot?

B:        A lot.

I:          A lot.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Ah.

B:        But I, when I, in my time in Korea, I didn’t, uh, I didn’t shoot, uh, War casualties.  I tried to, to take picture of a little Korean, uh, [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Yeah.

B:        all the time.  Yeah.

0:59:00

I:          [INAUDIBLE]

B:        Yeah.

I:          Oh.

B:        No, not the [DISCUITS]  They are prepared on paper

I:          Papers.

B:        Yeah.  Um, my, my um

I:          Color.

B:        Colored picture I in the, uh, in the metallic box, in a box.

I:          As a slide?

B:        As slides.

I:          I see.

B:        Yeah.  Okay.  Um, I’ll try to find the way to scan those things,

0:59:30

okay.  So I will find the person and visit you and somehow scan it.  Somehow let’s do that.

B:        I live, I live outside Oslo, [INAUDIBLE] which is close to Oslo.

I:          Um hm.

B:        um, in my own house there.  And, uh, it, they may, they might well visit me there and, uh, have a look.

I:          Okay.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Right.  So

1:00:00

anything else you want to say?
B:        No.

I:          No?  It’s been very nice, Bjorn.
B:        That’s right.  As I said, at, at the beginning, I’m 99 years old.  I do not think you will have much, uh, much help of my, off this interview.

I:          No, you gave me a lot of good stories and information about the NORMASH.  And Bjorn?

B:        Uh.

I:          Mr. Lind, I wanna thank you on behalf of Korean nation for your service, and you saved a lot of people during the War.  So you did very good job.

1:00:30

And I wish you healthy longevity, okay?
B:        T hank you.

I:          So if I come next, I will, I wanna have food with you together.
B:        I don’t see, I hope that you are not too much disappointed.
I:          No, no, no, no.  I, I am honored to meet you, sit.

B:        Yeah.  Yeah.

I:          Thank you.

B:        You are only, how much you are benefitting, who benefit from it I do not know.

I:          It’s not for the benefit, but thank you.

B:        Yeah.

 

[End of Recorded Material]