Korean War

Sonny Lleweylln

U.S. Air Force - Missoula, Montana

soldier engraving

"I was raised in Missoula, joined the Air (Corps) in World War II...troop carrier outfit...(I went to) aeronautical engineering school in Tulsa; while I was there the Korean War broke out and I was called back to active duty...went to...Randolph Field, San Antonio...then Mountain Home Air Force Base for low-level training in B-29's; 581st Air Resupply and Communications Squadron...then TDY to Japan for a ten-mission stint to Korea (January 1953) which never lasted more than one mission.

We were a covert outfit, but on an overt mission, dropping leaflets, of all things; propaganda leaflets. We' had six targets; we were dropping leaflets from about 26,000 feet. All our leaflets were doing was informing the workers that the bombers were coming over in a few days, and to get the hell out of there. Anyway, the bombers were going in from Okinawa about the same time and apparently we were flying unaccompanied; we didn't have any escort...apparently they finished and got the hell out and radar detected us and figured we were probably' a lone straggler. And we got into what was called 'Searchlight Alley' and drew some flak; they made us come down on our contrails and we were sitting ducks.

We bailed out; we lost three people; I was wounded and another fellow was wounded...landed on the only pile of rocks in North Korea. At night. After about ten days they took a chunk of flak out of me, at a field hospital. They weren't in any big hurry. Their torture...was mainly psychological...They took us across...to Peking, by train; had a separate car all by myself. I couldn't walk, because of my wound; I was in leg shackles and chains. And about twice a day they gave you a chunk of meat, raw.

Your bunk consisted of boards on a sawhorse, about one inch or less...We were M.I.A. for two years. Then they notified them we were alive...through the efforts 9f (Senator) Mike Mansfield...that's how we got out....They just took us down to the train station and told us we were heading out. And dropped us off in Hong Kong and we walked across...The British received us, then the Americans. From then on it was V.I.P. treatment all the way."

Sonny Llewellyn lives today in Missoula County, Montana.

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