George A. Edwards
George A. Edwards was born on March 8, 1929 in Nashville, Tennessee. After attending college, he joined the US Air Force in March of 1951 and was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Program where he earned his pilot’s wings and officer commission. As a reconnaissance pilot sent to Korea, he often went out and took pictures to gather information. He was stationed at Kimpo Air Force base, a place that he recalls was rather “primitive.” He remembers the destitute conditions in which the Korean people lived and how he and his crew would give candy to the children. George Edwards later visited Korea and comments on the tremendous progress that the country has made, thankful that he was able to play a small part in giving them the freedom to do so. He has proud of his service and has developed life-long friendships as a result.
Typical Day as A Reconnaissance Pilot
George Edwards describes the reconnaissance missions on which he would fly. While every day was different, they often had to go out and take pictures of the area. His trips included photographing the Yalu River and much further north in Korea.
The Process of Taking Reconnaissance Pictures
George Edwards explains that he would fly solo missions to take photos. He states that the quality of the photos were rather good. He remembers that they would process the film upon returning back to base and would them disseminate it to whoever needed it.
Life at Kimpo (K14)
George Edwards recounts the living conditions while stationed at Kimpo Air Force base. He remembers that there were now permanent buildings, but there was a chapel and a chow hall. He states that the chow hall was “primitive” and the food was often cold when you sat at the table, but everyone was happy to be doing their job.
The Most Gratifying Mission
George Edwards remembers his most gratifying moments which included giving candy and other items to the Korean children. When his crew would take a plane to Japan for repair, they would spend all of their money on things that they could give out when they returned. George Edwards states that the Korean people were living in such destitute conditions, with only the clothes on their back and no standing buildings.
Like a Thousand Years of Progress
George Edwards says that when he returned to Korea it was like they made over a “thousand years of progress.” He feels that this progress is gratifying. He said whenever he would walk around, the Korean people would thank him for his service.
When asked what Korea means to him, George Edwards says that he is proud that in some small way, he is proud that Americans contributed to the progress and freedom in Korea. He believes that those acts helped to provide the freedom necessary to progress like the country has.
Enduring Korean Friendships
George Edwards explains how he has developed strong friendships and affinity for the Korean people. He says that the internet has made these connections possible. He hopes that the new generations in Korea can be aware of what their father and grandfathers did to establish such a vibrant, progressive country.