Korean War Legacy Project

Lloyd Thompson


Born in Gregory, South Dakota during the Great Depression, Lloyd Thompson’s family  moved in with his maternal grandparents after losing their grocery store due to the affects of the Dust Bowl.  He went on to graduate  high school in North Bend, Nebraska in 1947.  After a string of jobs, he joined the National Guard, then onto the Air Force by 1951. After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base(AFB) and Sheppard AFB, Lloyd Thompson was sent to Lowery AFB to attend Denver Armor Technical School.  By August 1951, Lloyd Thompson was assigned as an attachment to the 45th Tactical Recon Squadron (part of 67th Recon Wing) that flew 76 night missions to interdict the supply routes for fighter jets and B-26 Bombers.  They did this by dropping flares and bombs by hand into North Korea.  He shared stories of the indigenous people, their plight, and sneak attacks by the North Koreans as their C-47 was flying back to Kimpo AFB.


Video Clips

Dropping Bombs and Flares by Hand

Not having bombing racks at the back of his C-47, Lloyd Thompson had to throw bombs and 15 pound flares (high illumination) by hand out of the plane at over 10,000 feet in the air. He did this to help fighters and bombers see their target. He also flew 76 missions and accumulated over 390+ hours.

Tags: Seoul,Front lines,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Pride,Weapons

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Creeping Up Behind Us

Suspecting it may have been a Yakovlev (Yak-9), the enemy flew behind Lloyd Thompson's plane close enough that the radar indicated only one plane. When they landed, the Yak started dropping bombs on the runway at Gimpo Air Force Base. The Air Force responded with anti-aircraft weapons and blew the enemy plane apart.

Tags: Seoul,Fear,Front lines,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Weapons

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Civilians Digging In The Trash to Survive

As a naive young man who had never witnessed much beyond a small Midwestern town, Lloyd Thompson saw Korean civilians digging in the US soldiers' trash for scraps. The realization was knowing what the UN were fighting for. Lloyd Thompson recognized the hope to give Korean civilians a normal life again.

Tags: Seoul,Civilians,Depression,Food,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty,Women

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Finding Body Bags

As Lloyd Thompson was shoveling sand on a 2 1/2 ton 6X6 truck near a flood plain at Kimpo Air Force Base, he unearthed a wooden box and unveiled an abandoned burial ground filled with body bags. He reported the incident, but nothing ever came of it. The bodies were left right there in the flood plain.

Tags: Seoul,Civilians,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty

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