John Parker joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1950 and earned his wings as a pilot in 1951. He had the opportunity to fly many different aircraft as a fighter pilot and later trained pilots for the Vietnam War. He flew 170 missions over areas like Hamheung and Pyungyang. John Parker remembers one particular mission when he experienced heavy damage to his plane’s aircraft. He explains that he left Korea bitter because his friends had been killed, but his feelings changed after revisiting Korea and seeing the progress the country has made. John Parker is proud of his service, including the many medals he earned, and believes that the legacy of the Korean War must be taught to younger children.
Life of a Pilot
John Parker explains what it was like as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force. He remembers that they were briefed and told where to fly, including areas like Hamheung and Pyungyang, where they often covered for the Sabre planes. He remembers a time when the RAAF shot down three MiGs.
Lucky to be Alive
During his time in Korea, John Parker did 170 sorties as a fighter pilot. He shares one of his most memorable missions above Pyungyang, which involved a lot of aircraft damage. He is thankful to be alive after he had severe damage to his plane’s fuselage.
No Longer Bitter
John Parker explains that when he left Korea, he hated it because his friends had been killed. However, his feelings have changed since he has revisited Korea twice. He believes that his friends died for the betterment for the country.
[Beginning of recorded material]
J: My name is John Norris Parker
J: It’s J O H N. N O R R I S,
J: Parker, P A R K E R.
I: What is your birthday?
J: On the third of November, 1928.
J: November the third, in 1928.
I: Twenty-eight. So
J: I’m ninety years old.
I: Ninety years old
J: Ninety years old.
I: Wow. You have longevity. And you, you have a long way to go.
J: Yeah. I hope so. Yeah.
I: That’s, so you born one year before the Great Depression.
J: Yeah. That was just at the end of the Great Depression.
J: And I was born in Cairns on that day and, uh,
I: K E N?
J: C A R I N S.
J: A R
I: I N E S?
J: I N E S.
J: Carnes, C A N
I: Caines. And, and where was, in Victoria?
J: No, North Queensland.
J: Where the Flats are now.
I: Oh. Yeah, I heard about it.
J: But, but you see, we had floods like that in my day as a child. And where the water came everywhere.
J: And, uh, it, uh, suddenly it hasn’t, they hadn’t seen it for a while.
But it’s, uh, rather interesting.
I: Rather interesting, yes.
J: It is.
I: Um, tell me about your family when you were growing up, your, your parents and your siblings.
J: Yes. My, my parents, uh, are both gone and, uh,
I: At the time, at the time.
J: Oh, at the time. Right. Dad was a, he worked in the courthouse.
J: Uh, and, uh, he was a magistrate
and, uh, he handled that sort of problems. And, uh,
I: So magistrate.
I: Wow. That was a high government officer.
J: It was, uh, yes. It was how they, he was a personality. And he, uh, he did his job and, well. Uh, We, we were good mates, uh.
I: And how many siblings did you have at the time?
J: The, just two.
I: Just two?
J: And, uh, just myself and my sister.
I: I see.
J: She’s still alive and, uh, and doing very well. And, um, so anyway, it, uh,
I: What about the Great Depression? So because your father was magistrate, you didn’t seem to have a real difficult time at the time?
J: Uh, no. It, he handled that part of [INAUDIBLE] where children were concerned.
It was happened. It didn’t really affect us.
J: Uh. But I know that people in the cities, uh, experienced a lot of different, but Caines was okay.
I: Um. So tell me about the school you went through.
J: Uh, I started school when I was five years old. It was a State school and, uh, I
I: Could you speak up little bit more so that, yeah.
J: It was a State school and, uh, I uh, continued on with my education, and for the last two years I went to, uh, grammar school, the Church of England grammar school in Brisbane. And that’s where I passed my junior exam and was, was the one that was critical at that time.
J: And, uh, [STAMMERS] I did quite well.
And I started work in, with an accountant. Uh, as I was training to be an accountant and, uh, and enjoyed that ;INAUDIBLE] getting along very well except one day in Caines, we were sitting in the office and all of a sudden there was a whoosh and a formation of Sea Furries flew over the top of us
J: and I was out there on the veranda watching it and I thought
you lucky blokes, you know, flying like that and her am I pushing a pen. And, uh, and I thought gee, I’d like to do that. Then I, going home, in the room I moved out because my parents lived in Gordonvale, uh, I said, um, um, uh, I said, I brought home the newspaper, and the newspaper said
they wanted trainee pilots and navigators in the Air Force.
J: So I, I was now 21. So I put my self down, put an application in to join. And it was successful. And after due process and interviews, I was recommended to join the Air Force and went down to
I: When was it? When did you join the Air Force?
J: The fifth, the fifth of February I think it was.
I: Nineteen fifty
J: Nineteen fifty. And, uh, then, and I joined the Air Force and, uh, as a trainee pilot. And there were about 100 that started the course, uh, and, uh, when, when the third course finished after 18 months, uh, there was 15 of us graduated, uh, as pilots.
I: Out of how many?
J: Well they had, there was about 50
I: So 18 out of 50.
J: Yeah. Because it was very hard to [STAMMERS] and you had to be, uh, active, active on it as well. And
I: So you became pilot, right?
J: A fighter pilot.
I: What kind of training
did you get? Where was it actually? Was it Melbourne?
J: Yes, Melbourne, at Point Cook.
I: Point Cook.
J: Point Cook.
J: Yeah, at Melbourne, and, uh, we did six months initially learning all various subjects like engineering and, uh, air frames and all the things that mattered to make an airplane fly. And then after that, we started our flying, flying Tiger Moths.
I: What is it?
J: Tiger Moths.
J: Moth, M O T H.
I: M O T H.
J: Um hm.
I: That’s interesting name, isn’t it, Tiger Moth.
J: Yes. Lovely little airplanes. Two engine and, and
I: Propellers, right?
J: Yes. And, uh, anyway, we did six months on that. Then we left to go an do navigations and aerobatics, uh, everything that it could do.
And, uh, on the conclusion of that, we went made it to the next model of airplane which was the Wirraway.
I: Could you spell it?
J: W I R R
J: W I R R
I: R R
J: I W A Y
I: A W A Y.
J: Yeah, I think that’s
I: Ha. What kind of aircraft was it?
J: It was a very slow airplane.
It was about, had 100, sorry, 600, uh, horsepower engine. And it did, could do a lot more than what the Wirr, the Tiger Moths did. And then when we graduated
I: Was it fighter jet plane?
J: Fighter. Uh, and we, uh, graduated on that. And, uh, posted and we got our wings that you wear and, uh, so then we went from there onto
I: When did you get the wings? Was it 1952?
J: Nineteen fifth-one.
J: Yes. Mid, mid, about August.
I: Uh huh.
J: And, uh, then we went to, to, uh, posted up to Williamstown which is, uh, North of New Castle, and that’s where the fighter base is. And we went there and then went on to the Mustang. And, uh, which is, which your country has as well.
And, um, and then from there, uh, after, after a time, we, we used to have a jet, a Vampire as a, as a jet. And then having done that, uh, that was in the end of 1951 and, uh, then we got out posting to Korea. Went to Japan first to get
training on the Meteor.
I: Um hm. Where?
J: In the Meteor. This was an aircraft we got from the Amer, from the English.
J: And, uh, [STAMMERS] they, uh, sorry.
I: Yeah, no problem.
J: The, the, the English sold us the airplanes and made lots of claims about what
they’ll do. And, so when we eventually weaved across from [INAUDIBLE] where we were leaning to fly to, going to our operations base which was Kimpo
I: Um hm.
J: In Korea which I’m afraid to say is, is gone now.
I: No, it’s there.
J: It is? Kimpo’s gone.
I: Kimpo is still there.
J: Is it?
I: Yeah. Now it’s become a International Airport.
J: Yeah. So this was a, I look there, I’ve been there once or twice actually and, uh, I couldn’t find it.
I: You couldn’t find something that you know there.
J: Yes. Anyway, it, uh, it was, it was a nice [INAUDIBLE] we lived in tents, uh, on the base and, uh, we all, and we ate with the Americans, uh, and they looked after our, uh, food.
And, uh, it was, uh, quite good. At, at each
J: uh, each end of day, we, uh, arrived there in February and, at the Squadron and, uh,
I: So that’s 1952.
J: And uh
I: You arrived in Kimpo 1952 February?
J: February, 1952.
I: Um hm.
J: And it was cold.
J: I never, never stuck it like that before. So we learned something. And, uh, the, the next thing that uh, we got as [INAUDIBLE] they took us on operational fights. So the first one was, I flew a Sabre down places that we’d go to.
J: Yeah, yes, Sabre. And then the next day we were on operations. And from there on, uh, we flew, uh, as we were briefed
or requested by a, the, uh, the, uh [STAMMERS] I’m sorry, by the organization [STAMMERS]
I: It’s okay.
J: Um, uh, they briefed us each day where they, we had to go and, and this continued to places like Shinambo, uh, Pyongyang
Hamhung, uh, all those places to the North and even up the Yalu. And initially they had us flying in to this as top cover for the Sabers. But, uh, then we got, uh, belted by the Migs and Binday and, uh, t hey shot down three of them.
J: About, and they became POW’s for the whole war. And, uh, but, uh, the, uh,
the airplane wasn’t good enough to just, at that height.
I: You mean Mig, Mig was not good enough.
J: No, no, no, no. The Mig
J: Good. No. the, the Meteor that we, we were flying top cover to the, to the Saber, and the Saber was a better airplane than ours. But, uh, anyway they, uh, they, [STAMMERS] get away from that, uh
I: So you, the, the Australian Air Force shot down three Migs.
J: Yes. Yes, we did, three Migs.
I: Wow. That’s good.
J: Yeah. I, I, I’ve had a go at them. I missed him. But, uh, [INAUDIBLE]
I: but was, was there any strong resistance from enemy Air Force? I head that enemy Air Force wasn’t that strong.
J: Well, the, no. It was strong.
I: Was it?
J: Well, yes. They had Russians in them, uh, training them, and they, the, the people they, you had to, uh, to, where, when the Russians are flying. And when that would happen. They would say the Casey Jones left the station.
J: And that was the wording to say that the Russians was flying lead for the, for the, for the North, North Korean pilots.
I: Um hm. Were there many Migs around?
J: Oh yeah, there were Migs around, righto. Not, and not all the time but
I: How often did you encounter with them?
J: Well, I [INAUDIBLE] for, for, for say four or five times. [INAUDIBLE] And I know what it’s like to be going around in a circle
J: With a [INAUDIBLE] with a big cannon going boom at you. It’s, it’s not fun.
I: Wow. Dog fighting, right?
J: Yes, yes. Dog fighting. But anyway, we, um, um,
after that, they took us off air attacks like that and they put us on ground attack.
I: Um hm.
J: Yes. Put us on ground attack, uh, against, uh, targets.
J: Like, like [CRESIDY] and, uh, water or, and all sorts of things, camp vehicles and troops, too.
I: Um hm.
J: We, we had the, many saw that, and it was a very intense time and was very hard.
We, um, and we were flying at least two flights a week, uh, day.
I: Two flights a day.
J: Flights a day.
I: That’s a lot of sorties.
J: It was. It was particularly, you know, going out all the time and, uh, uh, we eventually got, um, uh, the, the four of us went up together and, uh, by the time, oh, six months, they were all dead. Shot down.
And there was, [INAUDIBLE] trying to do that.
J: Uh, but I, when I left Korea because of, I lost my friends and, and there, that as a hard, hard thing to come home.
I: Um. Any special sortie or the mission that you still remember?
I: Could you tell me about detail those?
I: Any specific mission that you carried and you still remember it?
I: Some, some how
J: Uh, we had, uh, missions
well, we, ridiculous to say only in Pyongyang. Uh, we
I: The Capital city of North Korea.
J: That’s right.,
I: Yeah. So you were, uh, with other, many different squadron bombing Pyongyang.
J: Pyongyang, yeah.
I: Yeah, tell me about it.
J: Uh, well, we would, we had to get up there. We all flew around it to go here waiting our turn, uh, to go in and, uh, we would climb, told to go in. So we went in and
we were flying, firing rockets. We carried, uh, eight rockets.
I: Um hm.
J: on the wing and of course the guns as well and, uh, uh, we used them as, when necessary. But, but that, that was a big one and there were airplanes everywhere. And, of course, the [pirates] response. They were throwing everything at us, and it’s uh, a rough side that I don’t want to see too often. Is the, is this the effective artillery
coming at you and it starts off as a little fireball down there, and it gets slowly cause it comes up and weaves around, and then flies upon us. And it’s a, this is very, you, you
J: Between that, what that ball, that light you’re seeing and, the next one, there are five of them projectiles. So this is a recess one with a fire one. But anyway,
It, uh, we got a lot of, a lot of aircraft damage
J: to the
I: You been hit?
I: Many times?
J: Yes, a few times. One stage, uh, they, I could just about crawl in through the fuselage, uh, right behind me
J: about 10’ was this hole in the bottom of the fuselage. But we, sorry.
Uh, they were the, uh, shell had come through and then exploded upwards, thank goodness because it missed the control [INAUDIBLE] were on the other side. And so I noticed that as we came back in and started to slow down to land, I could hear this thing whistling, and I wonder what the heck it was. Then everyone was pointing at it
J: and saying look at the [INAUDIBLE] and there was this hole in the, uh, fuselage.
And, um, so it was, that was quite something.
I: Quite dangerous.
J: It was, yes.
I: You could have
J: [STAMMERS] Somebody was looking after me, and you know that, too.
I: Um hm.
J: And, um, he, he just kept us about 10’ from where I sat to where it went through, right in the middle. So I wouldn’t have been here if it weren’t for that. So, but anyway, the, I did 170
I: Hundred seventy sorties?
J: One hundred and seventy
J: Uh, sorties all told and, uh, the last one was when a very good friend of mine was killed on, on my, [INAUDIBLE] I never forgot that.
I: When was it?
J: That day, [STAMMERS] It was September.
I: September, 1950
J: And, um, and anyway, they, they sent me home after, after that mission. Uh,
he, they said they’d now want to send, the four of us went up there. I was the only one left, and they didn’t want to have, for me to go up there and get shot down.
J: So they sent, uh, sent me home.
I: So you were in Korea for seven months basically.
J: Yeah, well one of them was longer than that.
I: Little longer than that, okay.
How was, how many, uh, Australian aircrafts were there?
J: About, it’s about 16 or 18.
I: Sixteen or 18?
J: I’d say 18.
I: Eighteen aircrafts.
J: Yes, aircraft. But um
I: What, was it all Saber?
J: No, Meteors.
J: All Meteors. It had two engine aircraft.
I: What is Meteor?
J: Uh, Meteor.
That’s the, that’s the airplane we flew.
I: Could you spell it?
J: M E T E
I: M E T
J: E O R
I: E O R
I: R E O R, Meteor.
I: Yeah, yeah.
I: Um hm
J: It’s a, they were an English airplane.
I: And how many pilots were there when you were there?
J: At that time, we were [INAUDIBLE] Sargent pilots because of the inexperience pilots, there were very few.
And, uh, we did, gone through our training and come up there and, uh, it happened, uh,
I: How many total?
J: Uh, I couldn’t answer that question. I
I: Just about approximately.
I: Twenty, 30?
J: It was, first started. That’s when we were, that people had finished training and automatically go up there. So it’d be, you’d be into the hundreds.
I: Hundreds. Okay.
J: I’d say.
J: We would go through
I: And what was your rank at the time?
J: I was a Sargent pilot.
I: Sargent pilot.
J: Sargent pilot, yeah. And very interesting because the, uh, Americans thought that had we graduated. Now they graduate and then get promoted to officer rank.
And our people, you could finish the course, you became a Sargent. So what they said when we come, come into out mess, if you were a Sargent, take your rank off. So we never wore rank.
J: And then we could go in
I: Officers’ Club.
I: Yes, yes..
J: They, they considered that, and I agree with them, too.
J: It was pretty terrible
J: Just being a Sargent because it, uh, it wasn’t, uh,
worrying the politicians you know.
I: Exactly, yeah. How was, uh, living in the, in Kimpo, living in tents and
J: In tents. There were, had wooden sides with a pot belly stove in the middle
I: Um hm.
J: uh, which was supplied from a big drum outside, uh. We had, uh, stretchers and a sleeping bag. That’s it. Except when, when the winter came and you’d grab anything
uh, anything to get warm. And, uh, the pot bellied stove would glow, you know. It was so hot.
I: So hot.
J: Yes. It was, that’s what we lived in and, um, and there’d be four to a tent and, uh, and we got fed by the Americans. So we went up to their mess. And then, uh, but, uh,
I: So you shared the food with the Americans and
I: How was food? Was a hot meal?
J: Yes. Mainly it was, uh, mushy stuff. They, they liked, they didn’t like, uh, chewy.
J: It was mushy.
J: And, uh, it’s, u, it was good, and their ice cream was wonderful.
I: Ice cream.
I: That’s something right?
I: What did you do, uh, other than flying?
J: That’s all we, we did, uh, except on, on our time off we’d get someone, we did it a couple of times, got hold
of a Jeep, and then we’d drive into Seoul.
I: Uh huh. Tell me about Seoul you saw at the time.
J: Oh, it was devastated.
I: Tell me details.
J: [STAMMERS] It was where the main station was. And, and it’s just, it’s just a, just a remnants are there. The, the rest of the place was all smashed to pieces. It was, you know, dreadful. That’s what has happened to it.
Uh, the people, of course we were, we didn’t have that much to do with the people because we didn’t [INAUDIBLE]
I: Um hm.
J: And, uh, but, um, they, um, uh, they were quite pleasant to us and, uh, we respected that. I, we’d, we’d, we’d go around and sometimes look at some of the, uh,
churches that, uh, and I was impressed with that. But, uh, anyway, it’s
I: How was the living condition of the Korean people. Just be honest .
J: Very, very, not very, very, uh, difficult. They, uh, uh, I’m just trying to think, the little village airstrip, Kimpo. There was a, one there, and you could see it. They were all packed together, all their houses, uh. But they all, they still did their job, you know, working.
And, uh, uh, we, they didn’t get much trouble at all because t hey were, uh, it was, we used to have an airplane fly across at night. one of theirs. And the fellow used to drop bombs out of it, uh. But he was madly dropping it where the airplanes were and that. But uh, it was very interesting.
But we didn’t, we didn’t have the opportunity to meet the things because we would have to do mission come back and get sort of, bit of a rest. And then this was dinnertime and you, if you went and you didn’t even get out. We had a, in the hole at the time, I was in Korea, we had a week off, uh, and we would take and head to Japan.
I: R and R.
J: R and R.
I: Um hm. So please tell me about the Korea you saw the first time you went back. How was it?
J: Well, put it this way. When I left Korea, I hated it because it had killed my, my friends.
J: And, and, uh. Then I had the opportunity of going back with this group. I, I accepted it, and I was astounded with the development that had gone on, uh. It absolutely impressed me.
And I went, and I’ve been back twice since then and, uh, well, I thought of them all every time I go there. It’s, it’s just so much bigger. And the, the road, the traffic, the way it’s controlled, you can have six lanes of traffic through the middle of the city, and, and everything works. The, the, it was impressive. I, and the other thing, the mountains have
trees on them, and that’s, I couldn’t believe it . All these trees. In my day, it was absolutely bare, you know, with the shells and what have you. And it’s, and I thought, I think it’s a wonderful place, and I’m sorry I, I’m over the hill now to go back. But, um, and, uh, the, the, the that church group ran a
big conference, and they took us, we even went to church, and I was, I was, uh, staggard. Thousands going to, to church. We, you sat down, or we were put in the middle of the place. Well, and they had an orchestra, full orchestra. And, and that was wonderful. I’ll never forget it. And I’ve got the book at home which was a gift.
And, uh, I frequently look at it cause it’s a, I’m reminded how it’s always been sad what, what [STAMMERS] the ability country. It’s, amazes me how you’ve done it. But anyway, it’s
I: So now you feel better?
J: Oh yes. Oh yes. I, I believe that I, that they died for the betterment of your country.
I: That’s the legacy.
J: Yes. That’s right. And I hear the word legacy, and our legacy, and in Australia we have legacy. But after all the, the, uh, servicemen.
I: Um hm.
J: [STAMMERS] that died and that widow and children. So we’d look after them [INAUDIBLE] So it’s, it’s, uh, only thing you can do in your spare time.
I: But, but something very good came out of their sacrifice.
J: Oh yes.
I: And it’s not just Australian. It’s a U.N. Forces
I: And two million Korean civilian people being killed or wounded
J: That’s right.
I: being separated among their families. So they still cannot get into one place
J: That’s right, yes.
I: So all these things, something good came out of it
I: and we don’t talk about it.
I: It becomes Forgotten War.
I: What do you think about that?
J: Yeah. Well, it’s a, it’s a shame because you achieved so much and, and, and building a, your country up, uh, and, uh, I don’t know the politics of it although I’ve met some that I haven’t sort of studied it at all. But, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s
wonderful what it did, example of what can be done if, if they get together. It, um, anyway, I, I’ve, I’ve brought my, my medals along to show you.
J: There’s the, uh, there
I: Show that up to your chin so that we can cover that. Up to your chin. Wow. You have many medals.
I: Tell, explain it to me please, one by one from her to there.
J: Well that’s, that’s the, uh, uh,
I: The red, red stripe.
J: That, that, that’s the, uh, Air Force Cross.
I: Oh. What, how did you get that?
J: That was from flying in, uh, in, in Australia. We, we
I: Could you speak up?
J: We, we were in, helping, I trained the pilots, uh, for the, um,
their operation was Cambras in, uh, Viet Nam.
I: In Viet Nam.
J: And so I went out there and had a little bit of time and
I: That’s one of the highest medal, right?
J: It’s, it ‘s up [INAUDIBLE]
J: And that’s the Order of Australia where I got that from Legacy.
I: Hm. Of Korean War?
J: [STAMNERS] That’s the, that’s the FM. That
J: That’s the, the
medal I got from Korea.
J: Uh, that medal, uh. These, that’s [STAMMERS] It’s a Malayan medal, that’s right.
I: Uh huh. [INAUDIBLE]
J: And that’s the Korean Star, and that’s the United Nations, and that’s, there, there, there
I: That’s Korea. That’s Korea.
J: That’s the United Nations. And, uh, that, that, that’s the American Air Medal which the
American Colonel [FING]
I: I see.
J: presented that, uh, to me, uh, with a, with a, uh, [INAUDIBLE] as well.
J: So I thought that might be of interest to you.
J: The people.
I: Yes. That’s
J: Anyway, I, I’m proud of it.
I: You should be proud of it.
I: Yeah. Anything else out of that purse?
J: No, no.
I: So tell me about this. How can we make this Forgotten War remembered among our young generations?
J: I, I don’t;, I haven’t given that sort of reasonable thought, um. Well, you gotta get down to the, the children.
I: Uh huh,
J: That’s where it’s gotta start, uh. And the children have to be [INAUDIBLE] made more familiar at their levels as they realize and accept that, uh , this War, that could have been
com, in, uh, Communist hands if it hadn’t been for the United Nations, uh. But I, I think that’s the way you, you get to it, through, through children.
I: Do you have, uh, grandchildren?
J: Yes, I’ve got great grand-daughters.
I: Great grand. Any of them or your, your, your children or grandchildren or great grandchildren, are there any teachers in the History class?
J: Uh, the
I: In the school? No.
J: No, not, not really.
I: Because my Foundation sponsored by the Ministry of Patriotism and Veterans Affairs is hosting conference annually and inviting History teachers who are interested in teaching about the Korean War and modern Korea.
I: So I wanna recruit, you know, teachers who will continue to talk about your legacy.
J: Well, that’s, that’s where you’ll, that’s the best part. Use the children and be, be taught
what you, you’ve gone through.
I: Um hm.
J: Uh, and it’s extraordinary. And, and, oh, that’s right. The other thing that, uh, uh, went unnoticed that you were, we, we in Australia here are forever having holidays. They don’t work because they have to, it’s, uh, uh, there’s a holiday for something.
I: Uh huh.
J: And, and I know that in Korea, you work. You don’t have, you have one or two days,
and that’s all you have and no
I: You mean at the time you were there in Korea?
J: Yes, it happened there [STAMMERS]
I: Now there is. We have, uh, many, many holidays, too many holidays.
J: Oh, that’s different. But, but the other thing I’ve noticed was, was the church
J: I, I can’t get over, uh, [INAUDIBLE] I’ve got this lovely magnet, this lovely photo album was presented to us all, uh,
and it shows you the, the, the thousands in there, and I, it’s extraordinary.
I: Extraordinary. Yes.
J: Yeah. I’m, I’m, I’m very impressed.
I: But these days, the church is getting too big so that there are a lot of problems, too.
I: I don’t like churches speaking, coming too big.
J: I can say that that would probably happen.
J: That. that’s natural.
I: Let me ask this question. What is your legacy? What do you, what are you proud of
out of service during the Korean War as a pilot, an Australian pilot?
J: Yes. Well, I’m, I’m, I’m proud to have flown up there.
I: Um hm.
J: And to
I: Um hm
J: to do what, uh, to do what we, we’ve achieved, uh. And, and, and also, uh, I will say this to the benefit of your Commander, that we, we appreciate being invited back
to the country
I: Um hm.
J: It’s not done by anyone else. And, um, [right better known] as well as, that, that the people realize it, they [STAMMERS] I think that that’s how you can sort of [INAUDIBLE] Another thing I noticed I remember vividly the, the tank when the, [INAUDIBLE] of being underground and the tunnels. And, um,
realized that there’s a lot of things happening there. But outside, they had these cement structures with a great big [INAUDIBLE] on top. They just blow them up and bang, down it goes [INAUDIBLE]
I: Yeah. Tank.
J: Yeah, tank.
I: Yes, yes.
J: So that’s, uh, an interesting part of it, what’s going on there and still goes on.
I: So what do you think about the current, uh, negotiation between U.S. and North Korea
about the nuclear programs? Do you, are your following up with that?
J: The nuclear, yeah. Well, yes.
I: Trump is talking to Kim Jung Un.
J: It , uh, well, can’t say, uh, much at the moment. Not coming in my mind. But, uh, if, we were concerned about it and particularly now that, uh, what’s going on there right now. Uh, Australia is, is talking
I: By whom?
J: Uh, Russia.
J: Yeah. They can, they’ve got stuff they can come down or, or Chinese
J: and, uh, they, t hey might get
I: There are so many Chinese tourists here, and they buy a lot of, uh, housing here.
I: What do you think about them?
J: Uh, I, it doesn’t worry me.
J: because it’s, uh,
J: [STAMMERS] This is
what we went up there to fight for, so that they can come down here and enjoy it, and then they don’t. It’s like Kim, Kim, uh, doesn’t, he works for us. But he doesn’t, uh, explain or say anything at all.
I: Any other episode that you want to share about your sorties, I mean, the mission, bombing or dog fighting, any other things
that you wanna share with me?
J: Uh, can’t think of anything. Really, uh, I, I, I’ve had a wonderful Air Force career.
I: Um hm.
J: And, uh, it’s, uh, I’m quite happy to go.
I: Um. What about, what would you say to the Korean people for the 70th commemoration of the War? It’s ridiculous. But it’s been 70 years
J: That’s right.
I: And now you went back to Korea, and you saw Korea has been developing. What would you say to the Korean people?
J: Well, uh, I, I want to acknowledge, first of all, when, when you have your function in Australia by the Korean people, uh, for whatever their circumstances are, uh, we always, uh, invited to accept a gift . And nobody else does that.
It, it’s, it’s, it’s an unknown quantity. It’s, uh, what you’ve got and, uh, I know that [INAUDIBLE] war was appreciative of, uh, what you’ve done for, for someone, for us as well because it, it was, uh, like in my case, I have, I’ll never get rid of the thoughts of those friends, uh.
But, uh, it’s still, it was worth it to please them if we got what we did
I: Um hm.
I: I don’t wanna stop there, uh. As a personal appreciation from each other, you came to fought, fight for us so that we appreciate you, and you are appreciated because we invite you back.
I: But we shouldn’t stop there. We have to go further and talk about this friendship as something very good came out of your service
for the young generations to come.
J: Yes, yes. Well see. That, you see it’s established here that, uh, our, [STAMMERS] Monument.
I: Monument, yes.
J: That. that’s the only one I know, there’s another one being built, and, down, down South. But it’s the original plaque of Korean, uh, example of how commemorating the men [INAUDIBLE] who, who participated.
I: Um hm.
J: And, and the Koreans, pardon me, come along to that service as well.
I: John, this is great honor to meet you and hear from you your, uh, very honest and very, uh, passionate witness of your service.
I: And I wanna thank you for your fighting and good to remain
I: as friends.
J: Yes. Oh, yes. It’ll never change.
I: Never change.
J: Yeah. Everything the Koreans could come and do whatever they’d like, yeah.
I: Thank you, sir.
J: Thank you very much. Thank.
I: Thank you.
J: Thank you.
[End of Recorded Material]