Korean War Legacy Project

James “Jim” Cawyer


James “Jim” Cawyer graduated high school in 1948, then went to Abilene Christian College to major in band.  In 1950, after a few years in college, he enlisted into the Air Force, and was assigned to the 748th Air Force Band.  He subsequently traveled to various places in Korea and Japan for performances at air bases during the Korean War.  He recalls performing at the dedication of the United Nations Cemetery in Busan, and seeing a football game in Tokyo on Thanksgiving Day in 1951 as he played in the band while Army played Air Force.  Additionally, he shares stories about daily life and living arrangements at differing bases, and his pride for his service during the Korean War.  After being discharged from the Air Force, he went back to college and finished a degree in business, then worked in various places as an accountant.

Video Clips

A Dedication of Honor

James "Jim" Cawyer recalls performing with the Air Force Band at a United Nations Cemetery dedication at Busan on Memorial Day, 1951. He describes seeing the large burial trench for approximately three thousand bodies, and how emotional it was to see so many men in body bags. He recalls the terrible stench of the area, which was due to the long period of time it took for the soldiers to have a proper burial during the Korean War.

Tags: Busan,Front lines,Message to Students,Pride

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I'd Rather Be in Seoul

James "Jim" Cawyer reminisces about some of the activities he enjoyed while stationed in Seoul. He recalls seeing movies on occasion, playing pool, and playing dime poker. He describes why he felt there were better living quarters for soldiers stationed in Seoul, than for those stationed in Daegu.

Tags: Daegu,Seoul,KATUSA,Living conditions,Rest and Relaxation (R&R)

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Close Calls and Rough Rides

James "Jim" Cawyer discusses the large amount of Korean War casualties. He raises the point that many losses of life were not combat-related. He describes three examples of his own close calls he encountered during the war.

Tags: Seoul,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Monsoon

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