Suiho - The Moonscape
My Suiho Correspondent, Ted Baker, has written numerous articles for the 17th Bomb Group "SORTIE" related to Suiho and Namsan - Ni. In his career with TRW in civil engineering, he has had the almost singular opportunity in the early 1990s of visiting China and North Korea, without his North Korean Hosts knowing he had been a B-26 Pilot in the Korean War and flown missions over their territory. In his article of May - June 1994 he stated that his "most enduring image of Manchuria was of the area adjacent to Suiho, a geologically dramatic land, bleak but beautiful with very few signs of habitation, difficult to even walk without stumbling because the ground is gouged and uneven , the remnants of trenches and Anti-Aircraft-Artillery positions, the scene repeated all the way from Antung to Suiho and on to Manpojin" ... 130 miles to the other end of "The Gauntlet" ... heavy gun pits, communication and command bunkers, living quarters, ammunition bunkers etc., a Yalu defense system that consumed 21 Million Cubic Yards of concrete!
The Hydroelectric Plant was rebuilt and repairs completed in 1958 and it is celebrated as one of the late Premier Kim Il Sung's finest achievements ... ..perhaps at the expense of feeding his people and redeveloping the rest of his country! The "Hermit Nation " continues in virtual isolation and destitution of its people, armed to the teeth ... and "all dressed up with no place to go!" His son, Kim Jong Il has continued this legacy ... at the continued expense and distress of his people!
On June 13th, 2000, I received an email from a B-29 internet correspondent, referring to a June 12th Wall Street Journal article regarding the Russian Government opening archives to aid in the search of MIA's from the Korean War. Reference to a B-29 piloted by a Capt. Ted G. Royer and shot down on Sept. 12th 1952, with no U.S. Air Force Unit designated in the article, of course leapt out at me in relation to my friend Fred Parker, the Suiho survivor, and I asked for and promptly received the context of the article.
Documents received beginning two years ago, in 1998 by Capt. Royer's Son, Ronald, confirm that Capt. Royer's B-29 was shot down by a Soviet Air Force Captain flying a MIG-15, and present very detailed information and evidence of the role played by the Soviet Union in the Korean War, a role much larger than that of simply an advocate and political supporter ... a role of a combatant ally to the North Koreans and their Chinese ally...just as we were to the South Koreans! The records show that Soviet pilots ran the air war over Korea, flying 75% of the Mig-15s and inflicting 70 % of the casualties in the Air War over North Korea ... many returning a reward bonus to the Soviet pilots for each "Kill"! A bonus of 1500 Rubles or $ 53!
For $ 53 this one mercenary took the lives of at least 11 men, made one man a POW for a year , with no information given his survivors until he was repatriated , affected countless others among their families ... and didn't even have the nobility as an honorable warrior since he and the others in their group of 50 Soviet volunteer fighter pilots left the Soviet Union in secrecy , in civilian clothes, changed into Chinese uniforms upon their arrival along the Yalu River, and their mission was maintained in strict secrecy even within the Soviet Union! Retired Soviet Major General Sergei Kramerenko says he shot down 13 U.S. fighters and was awarded his country's highest medal but wasn't allowed to tell even his family that the medal was for "bravery in combat" ... over Korea! Brave as hell runnin' for the Yalu you yellow sonsabitches! I must live long enough to learn how many of you lost YOUR lives for your "pieces of eight" ... at least ONE too few! And I still suspect he claimed a "kill" when in fact that ship was downed by antiaircraft fire ... according to Fred Parker aboard the aircraft ... and our crew just behind them!
Brownie, we shoulda' taken a crack at that Russian Bastard that July 4th, 1952 night over San Wang Bong ... orders or no orders!