Korean War Legacy Project

Joseph P. Ferris

Bio

Joseph P. Ferris was born in Brooklyn, New York in July of 1933.  After Graduating from high school he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1951 and underwent a year of training in communications.  Upon graduating in April of 1952 he was sent to Korea.  In Korea he was stationed at Kimpo Airbase where he performed maintenance and repairs of the communication systems for a Squadron of B26 aircraft.  After returning to the United States in March of 1953 Joseph P. Ferris attended college studying electrical engineering.  He worked for the New York Telephone for 20 years until they went on strike.  After, he worked for the New York Fire Department retiring after 21 years of service.

Video Clips

Traveling to Korea and Assigned Duties

In this clip, Joseph P. Ferris describes his journey to Korea. He also talks about his duties while assigned to Kimpo Air Base during the Korean War.

Tags: Seoul,Living conditions,Prior knowledge of Korea

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frn9yTjST5s&start=115&end=225

Spam, Spam, and more Spam

In this clip, Joseph P. Ferris describes a situation at Kimpo Air Base during a time when water and food were in short supply.

Tags: Seoul,Food,North Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frn9yTjST5s&start=226&end=280

Kimpo under Air Attack

In this clip, a Joseph P. Ferris describes what it was like being under enemy air attack. He also recalls one of his experiences taking care of a fellow airman who became a causality.

Tags: Fear,Front lines,North Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frn9yTjST5s&start=455&end=615

Orphanage at Yeongdeungpo

In this clip, Joseph P. Ferris shares his thoughts about the performance of the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and shares a treasured memory he has of the children from an orphanage.

Tags: Yeongdeungpo,Food,Orphanage,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frn9yTjST5s&start=616&end=709

South Korea Rebuilt

In this clip, Joseph P. Ferris compares the rebuilding of South Korea to that of Europe after World War II.

Tags: Seoul,Yeongdeungpo,Impressions of Korea,Physical destruction,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frn9yTjST5s&start=811&end=885

Video Transcript

0:00
my name is Joseph Ferris i was born in
0:03
Brooklyn New York in 1933 July and I
0:08
went to school a lady of petrol help
0:11
school and then I went to manual
0:13
training high school then I joined the
0:15
ninth eighth Air Force when was that in
0:19
1951 51 you join the airforce watch 1951
0:23
i joined the Air Force I did my basic of
0:27
a sense in new york and i went to Scott
0:30
Air Force Base illinois’s and that he is
0:32
schooling in radio repairs
0:36
communications after I was sent over the
0:39
career to camp away base when was the
0:42
one digital ride for the first time ever
0:44
I got in career about April beginning of
0:47
April oh and 1952 and I left in about
0:52
march of 1953 now he came back to the
0:57
United States got stationed on pine
0:59
castle air force base which was a
1:02
strategic air command and I flew out of
1:05
there the end of my tour to England for
1:09
90 days we would be 47 then I came back
1:12
and I got discharged after i get
1:16
discharged i came home got a job at the
1:20
New York telephone company what worked
1:22
there went to school college at night
1:25
Electrical Engineering after 20 years
1:29
what happened was we went on strike for
1:32
11 months so I took a test City test and
1:35
I went on New York City Fire Department
1:38
the 21 years I left the telephone
1:41
company and I retired about 18 years ago
1:43
on the firepower and now i’m doing child
1:49
will work around here it’s that now with
1:52
the notre dame alumni association and
1:54
other
1:54
oh I enlisted in the Air Force knowing
1:57
that the war was on and wherein said
1:59
there I would didn’t know what to expect
2:02
but when I got there and we spent a year
2:07
I got to know some of the people in the
2:09
village in kemple village was they were
2:11
wonderful and of course the enemy was
2:14
attacking us almost every night
2:16
sometimes for 12 hours continuously that
2:20
I wasn’t too happy with but you live
2:22
under those conditions did you know
2:24
about career before no never heard of it
2:27
we went unship but I went up in the
2:30
hacia and get back on the man troopships
2:34
into going across we stopped in Hawaii
2:37
and the surprising thing was they say
2:40
they’re going to pick up I shouldn’t say
2:42
this but she’s still going to pick up
2:43
pineapples and I says oh good one any
2:45
fruit but in those days before it was a
2:48
state we call pineapples Hawaiian troops
2:51
who are picking up troops to come over
2:53
with us and so we got in to see Hawaii
2:56
for a day and then we pulled into Japan
3:00
yo calm and from there we went by train
3:03
to southern Japan I don’t remember the
3:07
name of base and from there I flew over
3:09
to Seoul or you floor with the soul from
3:12
Seoul they went up by cartoon truck to
3:15
kempo airbase and that’s why I stayed
3:18
through the next over 10 months my main
3:21
mission was to take care of year b-26s
3:25
radio and communication system on the
3:29
plane itself that was I managed but also
3:32
while we were there we had to pull guard
3:35
duty of course so when we weren’t
3:40
working on radios we put like God to you
3:43
on the base too protective once there
3:46
were there any
3:49
the Chinese are tacked to the air base
3:51
there well we did have a situation where
3:55
the North Koreans come down and poisoned
3:59
all the water so we had no water at all
4:02
to drink so what happens they started
4:05
bringing small quantities of water and
4:07
our cooks could only serve one type of
4:12
food and that was spam but they were
4:15
very very smart one day you’d have spam
4:17
the next day you’d have baked spam the
4:20
next thing you have spam I love spam
4:21
every did any different name for it
4:23
until the water came back and instead
4:25
been able to cook again but this was it
4:28
was funny because the guys are looking
4:29
at every day what’s when it going to
4:31
call it today so you’re a sick and tired
4:34
of spam i still even do this is by this
4:39
yeah so enemy was all over around the
4:44
kymco area well we couldn’t tell the
4:47
enemy from the french so we had to be a
4:51
little careful as to when we went out on
4:53
patrol or anything like that and we were
4:56
told to be polite to people that we’d
5:00
work that people in the temple village
5:03
and they were always very very very very
5:05
very nice to us so I couldn’t tell you
5:09
if I met anything here not in that
5:11
situation oh we had two main wings we
5:15
had the f-86 where most of the main jet
5:19
fighter heroes came from the most
5:22
decorated in my alpha Brewer photo and
5:25
weather reconnaissance outfit we were
5:27
flying b-26s we’d fly alone unarmed and
5:31
unafraid that was our model of
5:33
blackbirds and we flew all the way up to
5:36
the yellow ribbon all the way around
5:38
getting weather reports and stuff and
5:41
come back and then we base it on to our
5:43
military and then we had day flights
5:46
that work also going out for different
5:49
things and at night we also had photo
5:52
reconnaissance where we go out and take
5:54
pictures at night and when you go out
5:56
new ones
5:57
like their bombs go big flashes could
6:01
see it from miles and miles and miles
6:02
away and they come back with some some
6:05
great pictures see where the enemy was
6:07
and what they had so on so forth how
6:10
many f-86 were there oh I don’t know
6:14
that that’s all that was the wing is
6:16
there any other side of the base so I
6:17
don’t know exactly how many he had but
6:20
we had about it was 25 i think was 25 23
6:27
26 is that i maintained him took care of
6:30
and they every day they flew back to
6:34
North Korean region and thereby we flew
6:36
at night and night night one who flew at
6:39
night they had F 80s and he was and we
6:43
are waiting with the last one to you the
6:46
f 51 reciprocating engines we’re the
6:50
last ones used that in combat nobody
6:53
after that woman into strictly jets in
6:55
the Air Force I heard the North Koreans
6:58
were really afraid of fall un Air Force
7:02
well put it this way our fighting men
7:07
were well-trained and we were very good
7:10
with their with what they had so we have
7:13
a lot of bases it means that they
7:15
knocked down 15 flames and so on so
7:17
forth so is a great honor to say that
7:21
our Air Force was very good was there
7:25
any dangerous mo moaning during your
7:27
service in the Air Force Base and cause
7:30
you share some of those anecdotes or
7:32
events that occurred well I remember one
7:35
night this one fella had just come in
7:39
first time he’s ever been in Korea and
7:42
we have we were being attacked at night
7:46
and your men into the trenches that we
7:49
had to jump to attack North Korean all
7:51
trainees I like couldn’t tell you but we
7:53
assume North Koreans quickly Chinese
7:55
iono but any of these are planes were
7:59
being attacked by air Oh attacked by air
8:02
attack by air yeah we were about 10
8:04
miles from the front lines
8:06
probate so what Apple is a tiger since
8:09
we were jumping in trenches and we were
8:13
kind of used to it after a wild because
8:15
absol offering and this one little guy
8:18
was down upon when somebody says I think
8:19
I stepped on somebody he says no the
8:23
other fellow says yeah of sympathy then
8:26
we got a couple of about half hour later
8:28
they’re not clear not a yo so we come
8:32
out and this guy get up because I was so
8:35
scared too but that went on for almost
8:39
10 hours that night after that time he
8:42
was calm down well buy used to it by
8:44
then but that was some of the times that
8:47
we had some of our attacks at night with
8:51
just one plane coming over and either
8:53
dropping a hand in a row mortar shell or
8:55
something like that trying to hit
8:56
something then we call that bitch at
8:58
charlie they take geology have tonight
9:01
again but other nights we’ve got heavy
9:06
ramen o’clock i’d say about 10 hours 10
9:12
hours a lot of never got through it his
9:14
keep going with through headed
9:16
tremendous I got stations all around the
9:19
base to protect us there are many
9:23
casualties not that I know it would oh
9:28
not on the ground known we had calculus
9:32
of pilots and radio man who went flying
9:34
at night stuff I remember one case was
9:38
Wayne he came in and I met him at the
9:41
night picked them up he’s in my tent I
9:43
John back to 10 and then when he took
9:47
off a show started playing like mad he
9:50
had shrapnel that went through the plane
9:52
a throw a shield and he didn’t even know
9:54
he got hit oh so I grabbed a fast I’m
9:58
going down field hospital and they took
10:01
Perelman’s foot time black and
10:03
acceptance of Japan about two and a half
10:06
months later he was back again flying he
10:09
was all right but the surprise even know
10:12
he didn’t feel a thing surprise meet so
10:15
many hands how do you assess the role
10:19
and the contribution made by the Air
10:21
Force during the Korean War all I think
10:24
that the Air Force didn’t marvelous job
10:26
of protecting the troops on the ground
10:29
and also hitting major installations in
10:33
the north to stop the North Koreans from
10:35
coming down I know they came down at
10:38
first time and second but as we built up
10:42
our men RF was and so forth it became
10:46
very good and my biggest thing to not
10:52
only with the Air Force but we had a
10:55
little place in young John Paul an
10:57
orphanage and the priest was our
11:01
chaplain used to round up fewer the men
11:04
who know he could get and we would go
11:06
over there and we would bring food and
11:10
so forth on to the young gun Paul ok off
11:14
energy and now those children was so
11:17
grateful they were wonderful all we had
11:20
a great time playing with them in Iran
11:22
and every time I go to leave they’ll all
11:25
line up outside and seeing Irene
11:28
goodnight what I mean re thats the swamp
11:32
I agree good oh good night so every time
11:39
I hit it even today it always reminds me
11:42
of the children of there so that’s a
11:44
that’s one of the things I brought back
11:46
with me that I cherish very close the
11:49
Korean people outside of kimpel airbase
11:51
they were growing rice you were
11:53
surviving like growing rice and the men
11:57
and women were working in the fields and
12:00
Hong Kong pole was south of kempo and we
12:04
used to go down to young John Paul and
12:06
then go not to Seoul but that’s a there
12:11
was too much in young from Paul was more
12:14
like the main route from the South came
12:17
through tan and then fall to the front
12:19
so soul was not much they’re all the
12:23
buildings were gone I think there was
12:25
one building standing and a few other
12:27
little things and the markets the people
12:30
were still trying to sell their products
12:32
on the market there in the streets which
12:35
we went down looked at I enjoyed
12:38
watching because situation that they
12:42
were going through how hard they were
12:44
working to stay in almost just
12:45
unbelievable were there any catoosa or
12:50
korean boys as a lake house boy busboy
12:54
in your base oh yes we had he had house
12:58
police that would come in and take care
13:03
of the tents that we were living in and
13:05
then we had Korean civilians who were
13:08
going around and doing odd jobs or
13:10
cleaning up all the people cleaning up
13:13
the base and or anything like that but
13:18
they were very very good they were we
13:22
leave stuff down they never touch
13:23
anything nothing was ever missing so
13:26
that’s one of the nicest parts about the
13:27
decree people in the way they treated us
13:30
to have you been back to Korea whistling
13:34
yes I was back when I was quite a few
13:39
years ago and I couldn’t believe soul
13:42
was all built up the whole place was
13:45
built out the places that were selling
13:50
goods there to revolve all modern was
13:54
nothing and I looked around and even
13:57
thought what a surprise until was kempe
13:59
web-based that we use it as an
14:01
international airport there’s no longer
14:03
a military base so when I got there and
14:05
he said it’s giving it looking around I
14:08
couldn’t see a thing I knew I simple and
14:10
then they said Young Gun Pope became
14:12
part of soul so I looked at this and so
14:15
I think I want to change in a few years
14:17
everything was built up the whole area
14:19
has been changed all for the best
14:21
altered best really I’m all the site to
14:24
see the people from devastation what
14:27
they came through
14:28
because I went in later on I went
14:31
through Europe and some places from the
14:33
Second World War they hadn’t built up
14:35
yet but the Koreans were there no did it
14:38
is for nothing they went to town and
14:39
they really did some job building the
14:42
country oh great very happy for ya very
14:45
very happy why do you think he saw
14:47
unpopular and some say it’s forgotten
14:50
well one of the things was we entered
14:52
the Second World War to stop and when
14:56
the North Koreans evaded South Korea the
14:59
UN was the one that central were
15:03
condemned North Koreans for their
15:05
invasion so what happened was the UN
15:09
condemned and the Americans sent troops
15:11
in the other nations around the world
15:13
turkey and everybody said troops around
15:17
they call it a police action because
15:20
there was a police action from the
15:21
United Nations now they call a forgotten
15:26
law because after this was over vietnam
15:32
war started and that was in another big
15:37
war so we were in the middle of towards
15:42
they just sort of like put siding but to
15:47
us the Korean War vets and let me put
15:49
aside you’ll always be remembered and
15:52
one of the best things that I can
15:54
remember from the Korean War is that
15:58
Jenna Second World War the American
16:01
troops went to different countries and
16:03
freedom during the Korean War we went in
16:08
and we freed Sun apart Korea which we
16:13
were happy to do what the Korean people
16:15
who have come to the United States are
16:18
the only nation that I know of that
16:21
appreciates us treat us like kings no
16:24
matter where I go I can go get my
16:27
laundry done in the korean church a
16:29
korean clean it and what they’ll do is
16:32
look any discount unbelievable i’ll go
16:35
over to another creepy they see i’m a
16:37
korean but it can’t be nice enough
16:40
to go out of your way to please and the
16:42
cream churches here and started I’ll
16:45
especially treat us like kings just long
16:49
as I look around they say there’s no
16:51
other country in the world that the
16:53
United States went to that I know Jesus
16:56
as good as the korean in korean people
16:58
do it’s very gracious comment and this
17:01
is the new york Riaan van Jellicle
17:04
church and since when do you have you
17:07
gathered here in this place in this
17:10
church your chapter will we be here for
17:13
quite a few years now not sure when we
17:17
first started coming because when we
17:19
first started we were having meetings in
17:22
another product for Staten Island just a
17:24
small group of us but as we got bigger
17:28
and increased with quite a few hundred
17:32
men now the threats opened their doors
17:35
to us and it allows and they can’t be
17:39
nice enough there’s a function going on
17:41
here in this church that the Greens show
17:44
of any type the invite us all please
17:47
company it’s just wonderful in fact the
17:51
Korean people invited us to comedy Hall
17:54
that some korean singers coming over so
17:58
we all want quite a few of us one and i
18:02
was expecting to hear everybody singing
18:04
korean songs that i didn’t understand
18:06
but we went to my surprise was that all
18:12
the korean singers were singing Italian
18:14
songs all upwards in Italian and they
18:17
had the most marvelous voices you have
18:19
ever heard now I know because I sang to
18:22
ten years with the village light up a
18:23
loop in New York well I can tell a good
18:25
voice from appeared voice and when I
18:28
heard these people I was marveling and
18:30
was fantastic was beautiful I thought
18:33
that was the greatest thing I was
18:35
we have the Korean Memorial in
18:38
Washington DC which is beautiful
18:42
beautiful great tribute to Korean War
18:45
vets that’s something that will be there
18:48
forever so people who go in the united
18:51
states of Washington could go and sit
18:53
down remind people that we had agree
18:55
more and that we fought in the troops as
18:59
far as memories go back I really don’t
19:06
know and everybody from anywhere at any
19:10
time and have access to it yeah this is
19:15
what Korean War veteran digital memory
19:17
is doing right no not not in 20th
19:21
century well consider it well depends
19:25
what you consider the Irish a store not
19:27
there to counsel yeah but it’s not like
19:31
a Korean War right now it’s not what
19:33
it’s a fight for freedom right so if
19:37
there is a petition to replace the
19:41
Armistice six-year-old armistice with
19:45
the peace treaty would you be willing to
19:47
sign it I would sign anything that would
19:51
bring the Korean people together but the
19:53
North Koreans would have to stop their
19:56
silliness with the new man we have up
19:59
there now I don’t know he may not be as
20:02
tight as his father was I hope he isn’t
20:04
but we just keep our fingers crossed and
20:07
sale of credit someday that the whole
20:09
nation had been united and strong and I
20:11
know that we better off for especially
20:13
the people in the North would really
20:16
like to read and find out starving to
20:19
death that’s a shame to keep an army up
20:22
and let the people you work is done