Korean War Legacy Project

David Lehtonen


David Lehtonen was born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, on November 19, 1933. He joined the United States Army National Guard for one year and later enlisted in the United States Air Force in January of 1952. On the day of his arrival in Seoul, Korea, on December 13, 1952, his unit was threatened with an air raid. He describes taking part in fifty missions as a radio operator on the B26, collecting weather reports for future mission plans. Due to the essential role he played in one of these missions, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He shares his experience returning back to Korea during the 1970’s while working for Motorola and his thoughts on the tremendous developments in Korea.



Video Clips

The Critical Role of the B-26 Missions

David Lehtonen recalls flying in B-26s as a radio operator. He shares a map of some mission routes and explains how the information gathered was critical for the planning of F-86 jet fighter strikes. He describes the mission that earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Pyungyang,Seoul,Front lines,North Koreans,Weapons

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Images of Experiences

David Lehtonen shares images of his experiences during the war. He recounts when he switched duties and the individual who took his place was overtaken by guerillas. While continuing to look at images, he offers insight into how it felt being thrown around the back of the B28 airplane during missions. Using maps to identify different types of missions, he reflects on one dangerous mission close to Shanghai.

Tags: Chinese,Front lines,Rest and Relaxation (R&R),Weapons

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Two Close Calls

David Lehtonen recounts two missions that put him a little too close to enemy jets. While on a day mission, he remembers radar alerting the crew that three bogies were converging on their position. He describes the dramatic maneuvers the pilot made to avoid the bogies and then the surprise of enemy ground fire. He recalls another instance where the crew encountered an enemy jet and were lucky to avoid the enemy.

Tags: Front lines,Weapons

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Transcribed Material]


I:          It’s November 8, 2021, beautiful city of the Villages in Florida.  My name is Jung Woo Han.  I am the President of Korean War Legacy Foundation which has more than 1,500 interviews, not only from the United States but also other 21 countries that participated in the War.  We are doing this to preserve your memory and honor your service as a Korean War veteran.  But at the same time, we want to educate our young generations about the War that you fought.



And the legacy of your own as a Korean War veteran.  It is a great honor and pleasure to meet you, sir.  And thank you for coming.  We started a little late, but let’s get into it, okay?  So, what is your name, sir?

D:        My name is David Lehtonen.

I:          Could you spell the last name?

D:        LEHTONEN.

I:          Um.  And what is that ethnic origin of your last name?

D:        It is Finish.



I:          Finish.  Wow.  So, your father was Fin?
D:        Well, my mother was born in Finland.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        My father was born in Colorado.  But his parents were, didn’t speak much English.  They came over at the turn of the century.

I:          From where?
D:        From Finland.
I:          So, both are Fins.

D:        Oh yeah, oh yeah.

I:          Oh.

D:        Yeah.

I:          Yap.

D:        It’s called I’m a purebred.

I:          (LAUGH) Yes.  You are the pure.  I went to



Sweden, Norway, Denmark but not Finland because Finland was not part of the Korean War.  But I hope that I can make the beautiful country.  So, what is your birthday, sir?

D:        Eleven, November 19, 1933.  And in two weeks, I’ll be 88 years old.

I:          So, now you are 87.

D:        That’s right.

I:          You are the youngest one that I ever met here.

D:        What a deal.

I:          Oh, yeah.  Where were you born?

D:        I was born in



Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

I:          Fitchburg.

D:        Fitch.  FIT

I:          I know, I know.  Massachusetts.

D:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.  And tell me about your family background when you were growing up.  What did your father and mother do and your siblings?

D:        I have a brother and a sister.  My brother lives in Austin, Texas, and he’s younger than I.  My sister lives in



Beaufort, South Carolina, and she’s 18 months younger than I.  I’m the oldest of the three.  My father had a business in Fitchburg.  He was a baker and did Finish bakery goods.  And he had trucks that went around and delivered to various farms on the outlying areas of Fitchburg.



I:          Ah.

D:        My mother was a homemaker until my father died in 1945.  Then she had to go and find herself a job to support the three of us.

I:          Oh.  What high school did you graduate, and when?
D:        I graduated from Lunenburg High School.



I:          Lunenburg?
D:        Lunenburg.  LUNENBURG, Lunenburg High School in the class of 1951.  At the time the Korean War had just started up.

I:          And did you learn anything about Korea from the school at the time?
D:        Nothing about Korea at the time.

I:          Um.  So, and after graduation, what did you do?

D:        After graduation,



I worked as a machine operator in a little company called S & H Manufacturing, and I learned how to do various machine things.  And I got connected with the Massachusetts Economic Council and took an apprenticeship



as a machinist.

I:          Um hm.
D:        And I did that for a couple of years.  And one of the requirements for taking this machinist course was that you had to go to school at night.  Well, taking subjects like mathematics and algebra and so forth, I had all that in high school.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        And as a


result, I didn’t feel that it was really a good thing to do.  So, I worked a deal with them such that I could go and take college courses.

I:          Um hm.
D:        And I did. I took, I enrolled in an engineering school at Worcester Junior College in Electronic Engineering.

I:          Um.

D:        And it took me four years to graduate with my Associate’s



degree.  And beyond that, when I graduated from that, I went to

I:          When did you graduate?

D:        Nineteen sixty on the Associate’s Degree.

I:          Nineteen sixty?

D:        Nineteen sixty?

I:          Oh.

D:        Course, the Korean War and the military was in the middle of that cause I went

I:          Nineteen fifty you mean.



D:        I graduated from high school in 1951.  I waw in the Army National Guard, and I was in there for one year.  And then because the Korean War was starting up, I wanted to join with the Air Force.  So

I:          When did you join the Air Force?
D:        In January of 1952.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And I stayed there until January



of 1966.

I: Right.  So, after you enlisted in the Air Force, when did you leave for Korea?

D:        Uh, well I went to radio school because during the training that I had in National Guard, I was a radio operator.  They call that a MOS, radio operator.  And so, as a result, my basic training organization,



the Air Force had a need for military police and cooks and whatever.  So, because I had an MOS for radio operator, they sent me to radio school.  I was the only one that went.  Interesting on the way back from Korea, I saw one of those people that was in my training class, basic training class.



And he spent a year in Korea.

I:          Yeah.  But when did you leave for Korea?

D:        I left, I graduated from radio school in October of 1952, went to a 30-day leave at home, and left there and went in November of 1952 by a



C47 to, we picked up a lot of troops on the way and to San Francisco.

I:          Um.

D:        And went to Fort Stoneman, Camp Stoneman then it was.  And we stayed there about a week.  And shortly after that, it was the middle of, probably the first part of December, that we were put on a boat and sent to



Japan and Korea.

I:          And when did you arrive in Korea?

D:        I arrived in Korea on the 13th of December 1952.  And that was an interesting time because what happened was, we got off at Yokohama, off the ship in Yokohama, and those of us who were going to Korea were sent to Tachikawa.  And at Tachikawa, we were to board



a C119 airplane, take us to Seoul.  But we had an engine out on takeoff.  So, we had to go around and land.  And they put us on a different airplane.  But we had to wait for quite a while.  And then once they were able to get another airplane, they loaded us on, and we went to A16 which is in Seoul.



I:          Kimpo.

D:        I finally got to Kimpo, K14, at 11:00 at night.  And no sooner got there, got the bedding, and they had fed us a hot meal.  And no sooner had we gotten settled, and we had an air raid.  And so, the Sergeant came by and said ok, everybody out.  Get into the silt trench.



There was ice on the bottom of the slit trench.  It was, you know, thin ice.  It was frozen water .  And we stayed in there until the all clear.

I:          But you arrived in Seoul December 13th?
D:        Correct.

I:          Okay.  And what was your unit at the time?
D:        The unit that I came to support was the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing.

I:          Recon




D:        Yeah.

I:          And what was your MO at the time, machinist?

D:        No.  I was a radio operator.

I:          Radio operator.  And that was the 5th Air Force, right?
D:        Fifth Air Force, yeah, that’s correct.

I:          And what was your rank at the time?
D:        Airman Second Class.

I:          Airman Second Class.  So, tell me about that Recon Wing.  How many aircraft, and how many pilots,



and how many soldiers like you?

D:        We had

I:          That was in Seoul, right?
D:        No.  It was at Kimpo.

I:          Kimpo.

D:        Actually, what happened was as a result of being a ground radio operator, and you can see the picture.  I had a chance to go into Seoul.



And I had made arrangements for another radio operator to take over my shift.  And

I:          And?

D:        And during the night, there were guerillas come in and attack the compound.  And he was killed.


And so to this day, I don’t know what his name was.  But it’s a shame that I forgot that.

I:          Yeah.
D:        Anyway, I went into Seoul, and shortly after that, there came a request from an adjacent squadron for radio operators. And that’s how I got into the B26 flying.



And I flew 50 missions over North Korea.

I:          You did fly?
D:        Oh yes.

I:          As what?
D:        As a radio operator.

I:          Uh huh.
D:        And you can, I’ll show you.

I:          How many sorries?
D:        Fifty missions.

I:          Fifty missions.  That’s a lot.

D:        It is when you’re getting shot at all the time.

I:          Yeah.  So.


We will see that later.

D:        Okay.
I:          So, you’ll have a chance to show it to the camera.

D:        Okay, that’s good.
I:          So, let’s talk first.  But tell me about those missions, 50 missions.  What did you do actually? You said B26, right?
D:        Yeah.

I:          How many pilots?  How many people, and what did you do?

D:        There were six B26 airplanes.

I:          Yeah.

D:        There were crews for every one of them.

I:          How many pilots?

D:        Well let’s see.  They probably had, and I’m not really sure.


But we probably had 15 or 20 pilots.

I:          No, in the plane.

D:        Oh, just one.

I:          It was just one.  And who else?
D:        We had a pilot.  We had a navigator.  We had a weather observer.  And we had a radio operator.  And what would happen is that we would fly up to various points, and you can see that on the map.

I:          Um hm.
D:        Where we would get the bases of the clouds.



I:          And could you show that to the camera please?
D:        Sure.

I:          Yeah.  So, that’s where you have been with the B26 mission.

D:        This is the, this is Kimpo right here.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        And this shows the Charley Mission which is right over the DMZ.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        We have an Alpha Mission that goes up this way. And what we would do,


We would fly all the way to the Yalu River alone, no support other than just flying the aircraft at night.

I:          Yeah.
D:        And we would get to these points.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Including Pyongyang, including the Yalu River up close by, and we would get the bases of the clouds, the temperature, the tops of the clouds and



whatever weather was transpiring at that point.  And we would communicate via radio back to Kimpo.

I:          Um hm.
D:        And the information was taken, and weather forecasts were developed for F86 strikes.

I:          Huh.  So, was it mainly for weather forecasts?



D:        It was total for weather forecast.
I:          Oh, I see.  So that you can give that information about the weather in North Korea for jet fighters so that they can

D:        That’s correct.

I:          I see.

D:        And we would take that information and would transmit it back to the group operations section, and they would send that to Seoul at the operation center there, and they would formulate their attack plans.



And Kimpo at that time, had the 4th Fighter Wing.  So, they had the F86’s that were flying up to the Yalu with the weather information that we put together so they could figure out what was happening.

I:          These days, weather has the least impact on F22, F35.

D:        That’s right.
I:          But at the time, F86, which my father flown also.

D:        Is that right?
I:          Yeah, my father was a pilot.



But how crucial the weather forecast was for the operation of a jet fighter at the time.  Tell us about it.

D:        Well, in order for the jet fighters to take off and be effective in their mission up against the Yalu River, they needed to have weather that was clear so they could get



into the area.  And they weren’t allowed to fly into Manchuria, although I’m sure that happened sometimes.  And so, the weather was very critical in terms of completing their operations.

I:          And were there any dangerous moments, any you know, from the first air cannons and so on?
D:        Yes.



I:          Tell me about it, details.  When and how it happened.

D:        Well, we were flying on a Charly Mission.

I:          Um hm.  The DMZ area.

D:        Yes, in the DMZ area, just above the DMZ.

I:          Uh huh.
D:        And we were flying over Sinmac.  Sinmac had automatic weapons on the ground, and they were shooting at us as we were flying over at 10,000 feet.


They were trying to shoot us down obviously.  And I was able to be an observer in the back and tell the aircraft commander, the pilot.

I:          Um hm.

D:        To, which way the attack was coming.  Radar controlled automatic weapons fire was very accurate.  And so, we did that.  And there was another time,



it’s that mission that I earned my Distinguished Flying Cross.

I:          Oh.  Why?

D:        Well, let’s see.  I have an excerpt that probably would be appropriate.
I:          Can you read it?

D:        I can.  Despite undergoing intense and accurate enemy radar controlled anti-aircraft weapons fire over the heavily



fortified enemy city of Sinmac, Airman Lehtonen aided in the directing of successful evasive action for the enemy fire and transmitted all weather data obtained along the brief route to the Joint Operations Control Center.  The weather observations provided 5th Air Force by this mission proved that utmost value to the 5th Air Force for



planning and execution of effective air strikes against enemy targets.

I:          Excellent.  Could you repeat the name of the recognition?  What is it?

D:        Sinmac?
I:          Distinguished what?
D:        Distinguished Flying Cross.

I:          How high is that?
D:        That’s just below the Silver Star.

I:          Oh.
D:        And just above the Bronze Star.

I:          So Distinguished



D:        Flying Cross.

I:          Flying Cross.

D:        Yeah.

I:          Cross.  Very good.

D:        Let me give you a card. I was the, for 10 years, I was the President of the local organization chapter

I:          Um hm.

D:        And just recently gave that up.

I:          You mean the 169 chapter?


D:        No.  This is a, that’s

I:          Oh, I see.  The Distinguished Flying Cross Society, and you are the President.

D:        I was the President of the local chapter.  And the national chapter is located in San Diego, California.

I:          I see.

D:        And we have



chapters all over the country.

I:          Any other special episode in your flying that you want to share with this interview?
D:        Well, there were two instances.  One where we were flying again, and I’m not sure exactly where it was.  I suppose I could look it up.  And we were alerted by our ground radar that there were three bogeys



that were converging on our position.

I:          You mean enemy, MIG?
D:        Migs, yeah.

I:          Tell me.

D:        And so, they were coming by radar contact.  They informed us of the airplanes coming.  And actually, there was three of them.  One was, two were flying steady,



and one was going like this (Waves arm) And they were headed right for us.  And about a mile away, I informed the aircraft commander that I had them in sight, and he immediately put the airplane in a nosedive to take us down into the area.  And there were



mountains, mountains were 5,000 feet tall.  They took us down there into that area.  And the jet planes couldn’t track us down there because they would fly into the mountains.  So, we were able to avoid them that time.  And we’re flying along the mountains, and the soldiers on the mountain were shooting at us with small arm fire as we went




I:          From both directions.
D:        Well, I don’t think the MIGS did not shoot us because we were able to get out of the way first.

I:          Um.
D:        And then when the, we pulled out, we went down at 425 miles an hour.

I:          Wow.
D:        And the airplane was not built to go much faster.  And we pulled out.  And we’re flying along this valley and into an area where there were rice



paddies.  And right in the middle of this series of rice paddies, a little house. And the weather observer who’s in the front looked out and saw somebody stick their head out, and four or five people ran out and jumped into the water, the rice water which is fertilized how you know.

I:          You mean the honey pot.

D:        That’s it.  Honey pot fertilized.



And as we went by, they were there shaking their hands because they thought we were going to (INAUDIBLE) them.  And the other incident was at night also.  That was a day mission.  But at night, we were up flying toward the Yalu, and silhouetted against the moon was this MIG 15.

I:          Again?


D:        Yeah, that’s the second time.  And he flew by us, and he didn’t clear us by much.  Now you have to understand that the airplane that we were flying in is painted black.  So, it was difficult, very difficult to see at night.  And he flew right by and didn’t even

I:          Bother.

D:        Didn’t even notice we were there.

I:          Geeze.

D:        So, that was



the other airborne kind of incident that we had.

I:          But you know, many young children will listen to this interview in school.  So tell them about who was the dominating air power during the Korean War.

D:        Well, during the Korean War, the US Air Force had, it was, the F86 Tiger was the main



fighter aircraft.  And those two sweeps along the Yalu River were designed to lure MIG 15’s out to attack.  Now, these airplanes were initially flown by Chinese and Russian pilots.

I:          Yep.

D:        And it wasn’t until toward the very end of the War that the North Korean



pilots were

I:          Trained.
D:        Trained to take over that role.

I:          But US was dominating.

D:        Oh yes.

I:          Right?
D:        And the Air Force took care of the fighter aircraft up against the Yalu.  And the Navy flying off of carriers, it was pamper jets and propeller-driven Corsairs.



They were responsible for the attack on the ground.  And so, we had air dominance during the whole Korean War.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Until you know, we started coming back from Pusan.

I:          So, 50 missions.  That’s a lot.

D:        Well, during the Second World War,



The tour of battle was 25 missions.

I:          Um.

D:        Twenty-five missions, and you go to go home.  But during the Korean War, we need 50.  During the Viet Nam War, it’s 150.

I:          Oh.
D:        So, it was quite a big difference.

I:          So, more Air Force and more air power needed necessary in the War, right?
D:        That’s right.

I:          Yeah.



How were American pilots?  Were they good?
D:        Very good.  The kill ratio for US vs. North Korean and Chinese was 10 – 1.  We would lose one F86 to 10 of the MIG 15’s.

I:          But there were not many MIG 15’s either, right?

D:        Well not, when the end of the



War came, the Armistice came, there weren’t many left.

I:          But was it MIG 15 or MIG 16?

D:        No, MIG 15’s.

I:          Fifteen.  No 16 at all?
D:        I don’t recall any 16’s.

I:          Um.

D:        There were MIG 17’s.  But that was toward the very end.  And the MIG 21’s were prevalent in Viet Nam.

I:          Far much later.

D:        Yeah.

I:          Right.



Any other episode that you want to leave?
D:        As far as the War goes?  Let’s see.  I would say that the soldiers and the airmen that were fighting in Korea were fighting because they felt that it was their patriotic duty to do so.

I:          Um hm.


D:        And so, there was this patriotism involved in the battles and so forth that don’t seem to exist today.

I:          Right.

D:        So,

I:          Have you been back to Korea?
D:        Twice.

I:          Oh.  Tell me about it.  When was it?

D:        Well, I can’t

I:          Two thousand when?

D:        Oh no. It was in 19

I:          Nineteen ninety?

D:        Wait a minute.



It was 20, let’s see. It was 20 years after I left.  So

I:          When did you leave?
D:        I left in 1953.  So, it was 1973 that I was

I:          What month was it?
D:        I don’t know. I can’t

I:          Winter, summer?
D:        It was summer.

I:          So, you arrived in Korea December 13.

D:        Yeah.
I:          But you left summer of 1953.



Was it after the Armistice?

D:        No, not quite.  It was just before the Armistice.

I:          Huh.

D:        In fact, we were told that as a combat crew member, we would get to fly back to the US in a C54.

I:          So, you were there about seven months.

D:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.  And when did you visit Korea?
D:        In 1973, in the summertime of 1973.



I worked, at that time worked for Motorola.

I:          Yeah.

D:        And we had factories in Korea.  And we had, Signetics was one of the suppliers that we had.  And we had to, part of my job was to visit these people to check on the quality of the goods that they were manufacturing for us.

I:          So, and after that, when did you



visit again?
D:        It was maybe two or three years later than that.

I:          Okay.

D:        And what I can say is that the

I:          So, tell me about the Korea you saw in 1952 and ’53 and 1973.

D:        It was tremendous change.

I:          Tell me details please.


D:        Tremendous change.

I:          How did you feel about it?
D:        I was, when I got off the airplane at Kimpo, and that’s another story.  I had, as a result of my business with Signetics and with Motorola, I had a Korean driver.  And he picked me up, and we went to,



And I told him I’d like to go on the other side of the base and see the area where I had my tent was and where the hanger was for the airplane.

I:          Kimpo.

D:        On Kimpo, yeah.  And so, what we did is we drove down Perimeter Road, and there were American GI’s at a checkpoint, checked us through, and passed us right by, not a problem,


And we came to the western part of the Perimeter Road, and there was a single barrier across the road.  But there was ample road space to get around that barrier.  So I said well, just go ahead and we’ll drive up the road and see what happens.

I:          What happened?

D:        What happened was on this side is an F86



with a power unit plugged in, with a pilot in there ready to go.  On the other side was Quad 50’s manned, ready to go.  And we got up to a point in the road where it turned, and out come running a couple of Korean MP’s, stuck a 45 into the driver’s face and talked in Korean.  If they were talking in Finish,



I might have understood them.  But they weren’t talking in Finish.  So, my driver says we have to turn around and go back.  And meanwhile, I’m sitting on the camera that I had been taking pictures from.  So, we turned around and we went back.  And we get down to the gate that had one arm, more Korean MP’s came out with their 45’s.


And I says oh boy, what’s gonna happen now?  We’re gonna spend 100 years in a Korean jail.

I:          David, so tell us about the difference between Seoul, you were there, and the Seoul you saw in 1970.  How drastically different was it?

D:        It’s very, very much so.

I:          Tell me the details.  What did you think about it?
D:        This picture right here is the Presbyterian,



is it Presbyterian?

I:          No, no, no.

D:        No.  It’s a church mission that’s near Yeongdeungpo.  And it was all bombed out.  And you can see the

I:          Ah, the building behind it, yeah.

D:        Yeah.  All shot up.  And this was in 1953.  Today, that building is re-built, and it’s, you’d never know there was any



I:          So, what do you think about such a big change?
D:        It’s incredible.

I:          Did you think that when you left Korea, Korea would become like that?
D:        No.

I:          Why not?
D:        Because we didn’t think that the situation was such that it could improve very much in such a short time.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And in 20 years, it was



just like downtown LA—four lane highways, all kinds of business going on, car manufacturing places, semi-conductor industry big time.

I:          Big time.

D:        Yeah.

I:          You know that.

D:        I do, yeah.

I:          So, Motorola used to produce the mobile phone.  Now Samsung is one of the largest.

D:        Samsung is, in fact, my phone

I:          Is Samsung?




D:        Samsung, yeah.

I:          Alright.  So, sir.  We don’t have much time left.  But I want to ask a very important question.
D:        Okay.
I:          So, now, are you a proud Korean War veteran, right?
D:        I am, yes.

I:          Did you regret anything about your service as a Korean War veteran?
D:        No, not at all.

I:          No, not at all, right?
D:        No.

I:          You are proud.

D:        I am.

I:          So, a beautiful outcome came out of your service and US involvement and aid and fighting for



Korean people against Communism.

D:        That’s right.

I:          But the place of Korean War in our history believes very small.

D:        I know.
I:          Why is that?
D:        It’s hardly mentioned, hardly mentioned at all.  In the History books that we have coming out today, they seem to worry about critical race theory.  Critical race theory is not history.



And the 1619 Project is not criminal, is not US history.  It’s

I:          Let’s focus on the Korean War.

D:        The Korean War  has caused the Korean people, and I notice this frequently.  When I see and I’m introduced to Korean



people, they say, you fought in the Korean War?  Yes.  And they, they’re really proud of the fact that I’m proud of fighting in the War.

I:          Right.
D:        And in fact, when we got awarded the

I:          Are you upside down?  I mean, turn it around.  Yes, that’s the, what is it?  Can’t see it.

D:        It says

I:          No, it’s okay.  Let me just



zoom in.  You have to put it down, yes.

D:        That better?
I:          Yep, that’s better, yes.  I can see it now.  And so, what do you think we have to do to change that small portion of Korean War in our World History education?  What do you think we have to do?

D:        I don’t know that there is anything that can be done externally.  It has to come from within.



I:          Um hm.

D:        And the US government right now is, if you think about what happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, they’re ignoring all of that stuff now.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And they’re moving on to something else and not worried about the legacy that was printed, was established by our troops going over to fight these Communist




I:          Um hm.  So, that’s why we are doing this.  And you brought that beautiful, what is it, the frame.  What is it?
D:        This is a, and I’ll read the inscription.  The DFC Society

I:          Can you show it to the camera please.

D:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.
D:        Did you see it?
I:          Yep.

D:        The DFC Society



gratefully thanks David E. Lehtonen for his historic service in Korea.  DFCS Convention, this was in Tampa on September the 24th, 2014.

I:          Excellent.  And could you show some other pictures inside of that template you gave me?

D:        Oh yes.

I:          No no, this one.  Any other?  The cover page, you are retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
D:        Yeah.

I:          Oh that’s an honor.



D:        That’s because I belong to the Civil Air Patrol.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And the Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary of the US Air Force.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And as a result, we have a requirement to follow all of the rules and regulations of the Air Force.  But we’re a voluntary organization.  Okay.  Let’s



see.  Some other photos.  This is a picture of the

I:          Your fingers are, yes.

D:        It’s a picture of the squad tent that we lived in.



It was heated by a pot-belly kerosene stove in the wintertime which you know of course is very cold.

I:          Um.

D:        And we had a Korean houseboy who took care of cleaning up the tent.

I:          How did you like him?
D:        They’re all named Kim. (LAUGHS)  He was great.  We paid him in military script.

I:          Um.
D:        And it was good.

I:          Um hm.



D:        And this picture

I:          Yeah.

D:        Is a friend of mine from North Carolina that was my tent mate over there.  And we remained in contact for all these years.  I still talk to him very frequently.

I:          Excellent.

D:        This picture up here

I:          Yeah.

D:        Is the photo of where I had gone



into town and swapped off the duty on that ship where the person who took over for me was killed by guerillas.

I:          Oh, I’m sorry.

D:        Yeah, me too.

I:          And that airplane is Corsair?
D:        No.  The airplane is the B26.

I:          Oh, that’s the B26.

D:        Yeah.
I:          That’s good.  So, that’s where you were.

D:        Yep.



I:          That doesn’t look really big.

D:        It’s not.

I:          Ah.

D:        It’s big enough.  But it carries the weather observer in the front here.

I:          Yeah.
D:        The pilot and navigator are up here, and the radio operator is behind that hump in the back.

I:          Right.

D:        And first of all, when the MIGS were chasing us and we’re going down at 425 miles an hour,

I:          Um hm.



D:        I’m sitting on the back of the, looking out the back.  And when the aircraft commander put the nose down and started going 425 miles an hour, I was still up at 10,000 feet going that way.

I:          Oh boy.

D:        So, I got thrown around the back quite a bit.

I:          Show me the picture now.

D:        Okay.

I:          We saw that. That’s Charley Alpha.

D:        Charley Alpha and a Baker mission.

I:          Yeah.



D:        And there’s the Baker mission right there.

I:          Yeah.  What is that?  Explain please.
D:        And, that is going to the, that’s a six-hour mission that took us down to a point just off of the, Shanghai.



And that particular time, we were in the clouds most of the way.  And our navigation was by dead reckoning and a drift meter.

I:          Um.
D:        And so when we got to that point, we broke out of the clouds, and we were very close to Shanghai, actually off of the islands off of Shanghai, and we suddenly were being shot at with ack ack.



I:          Whoa.

D:        So, that was the real Chinese going to town.

I:          Yeah.

D:        And that’s that particular mission.  Let’s see, what other pictures?  And this is a picture

I:          Yeah, go ahead.
D:        This is a picture of the



Medal.  This medal that the Chinese government awarded us.

I:          Chinese government?

D:        Excuse me.  North Korean government awarded to those people who were combat people.  And this is a picture of me after the 50  missions had been completed.



I:          Wow.  That’s good.
D:        And then there’s my crew ship.

I:          Okay.

D:        The USS Breckenridge.

I:          I see.  So, can you leave that book with me?
D:        I can.

I:          Yes, please.  And David, this is amazing.  You had a Recon mission, 50 of them, double of what’s been done during World War II.  And you provided


weather forecasting so that the pilots can actually do the operation.

D:        That’s right.

I:          In the North Korean area.

D:        Yep.

I:          And you are the former President of Distinguished Flying Cross.

D:        Chapter.
I:          Yeah.

D:        In the Villages.

I:          That’s an honor.  And I want to thank you for your honorable service during the Korean War as Air Force.  And your contribution has never been forgotten in the minds of Korean people.

D:        And I know that because I have visited a number of people.



And I can just quickly, oops, not there.  Here.  When I was awarded this in Tampa.

I:          Um hm.

D:        There was a Portia Choy.

I:          Sungsook, yeah.

D:        She gave me her book of poems.

I:          Um hm.



D:        Enscripted it.

I:          Excellent.  That’s how they want to remember and honor you.
D:        That’s exactly right.

I:          Yeah.
D:        And every time I came across a Korean person who recognized what I had done during the War, they were very appreciative.

I:          Of course.  They were given an opportunity to rebuild their nation because of your honorable service there.  So,


I wish I could have more time.  But I want to thank you for sharing all your stories with us.  And we’re going to make it into curricular resources so that teachers can use in their classrooms when they’re talking about the Korean War.  Thank you again.

D:        You’re very welcome.