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Greetings,

Sixty years ago on April 17th, I enlisted in the United States Air Force. At the time I had a great job as an assistant meat buyer for the A & P grocery chain. One morning, management had a conference about my future with the corporation. They had planned to send me to the Chicago headquarters to provide me with additional training in the wholesale purchase of beef, veal, pork and lamb. I was told that, after considerable discussion, it was decided that my being of draft age, it would be in the best interest of the corporation to postpone any further training on my behalf. It was then that I decided to complete my military service time to eliminate further delay of my future endeavors.The beginning of service life is basic training, which is two months of intense physical training of the body and abundant discipline of the mind. Upon completion you become considerably more fit and alert than you ever were or ever will be. You are SCHOOLED AND TRAINED IN areas of need and of interest to you, in that order.

I was sent to Lowry AFB in Denver, Colorado, for turret system mechanics and flexible gunnery training for eleven months. Then it was on to Randolph AFB in San Antonio, Texas for combat crew training. You really can't train for combat, you experience it - live through the good times and the not so good times. The process continued with bomber crew formation and survival training in the desert.area of Nevada and eventual deployment to the Far East Air Force Command, based in Japan.

Our crew flew twenty eight combat missions over North Korea. Some were good, some were not so good. I was assigned to the position of tail gunner on the B-29 superfortress.The remaining ten members of our combat crew, followed our progress to the target by known landmarks below. I would look out to see where we had been. On nineteen of these twenty-eight missions, upon return to our quarters, I would sit and write on a 3 by 5 card, what I felt and what we experienced on the completed mission. I have these cards, with copies of the Stars and Stripes news clippings, referencing the mission, along with pre- and post- strike photos. I have them in one of two journals and a few additional sets your are welcome to view.

With our tour complete, we returned toState side. I was then transferred to Palm Beach AFB Florida to retrain on KC-97 aircraft, which had additional fuel tanks installed for the transportation of aviation fuel. I now became the inflight refueler for B-47 aircraft, again, looking out the tail end of the plane. Our new home became Lincoln, Nebraska.Through all these processes you form an acquaintance with many other personalities. Some click more than others and over time you become bonded in lasting friendships. Many bondings continues for years and in some cases for a lifetime.Especially when you serve together in combat.

You form a band of brothers

Looking back on the last 60 years, having done my part in helping to secure the freedom of the South Koreans, and what has transpired since; yes i would do it again, no change whatsoever. To see the progress the South Koreans have accomplished, the transformation of their lives, land and their infrastructure is beyond belief. War is never good, but what is worse, not only those who gave their lives, but the lives and minds that have been altered, impaired, deteriorated, wasted, crumbled and especially those who have been abandoned and forgotten.When you say, "Thanks for your service!", instead ask "What can I do to help those in need?"

May God Bless America and those veterans that protect her.


 

Reminiscense With My Past
and my part in the Korean War with photos

Yakota Air Base - Japan
13 September, 1952 to 27 March, 1953

John J. Bindas, Staff Sargeant
B-29 Tail Gunner

Click on the 6 photos below to load the larger image. Please click your back button or arrow after loading the bigger photos. Thanks- (Sallyann)

 



Combat Crew 3-F, 98th BW
343 Bomb Squad

me worry
Plane - Me Worry

check gun

Check gun

korea map

Korean Map

crew members

Combat Crew Members

japan

Japan Map

 

The following are my comment , on 19 of the 28 combat missions. I wrote these when we returned to our quarters after completion of our flight. These were on each specific mission of what happened and how I felt.

Night-Flying B-29's Blast Red Troops - Tokyo Oct. 18 (Pac. S&S) Sixteen B-29 Superforts continued their campaign of simultaneous night strikes on Red troop and supply concentrations last night after a day of weather restricted air activity. The medium bombers spread their 100 and 500 pound high explosive bombs evenly over four targets, bombing through clouds by electronic-aiming techniques. Other targets included rail facilities and frontline positions . .

.....My thoughts: 4th Mission Target Hoechang, Oct. 15. We made two runs over target on Shoran. The Shoran set was being jammed. We had flak that scared the hell out of me. The results were very good. Photo showed a 204 foot CE.


F-84s Blast Red Naval Station - ( Sabres Down 2 MIGs, B-26s Hack Ground Units)
Tokyo, Oct 19 (Pac. S&S) Fifth Air Force fighter bombers swarmed over North Korea yesterday, wrecking five enemy troop concentrations, an east coast naval station and an army headquarters, while screening Sabre jet pilots shot down two MIG-15s. Sixteen B-29 Superforts followed early this morning battering a supply center at Namsidong, another at Sopori, a miltary headquarters at Sunchon, and enemy battleline positions.

.....My thoughts: 5th Mission target Sunchon, Oct. 18. We got to turning point #1 and we had to feather # 2 engine. Then we started to lose altitude and air speed. Aborted primary target and went back to the front line to let go of my load. I counted 22 secondary explosions and several fires.

Planes Pound Lines, Blast Supply Areas - Tokyo Nov. 6 (Pac. S&S) Fifth Air Force fighter bombers slammed Communist front line fortifications in a day-long support of United Nations ground forces yesterday, flying 180 close-support strikes while other Allied war planes blasted scattered military targets thoughout North Korea. B-29 Superforts followed the dayl;ight attackers last night, hammering supply areas at Soechang and Kunkuri with 110 tons of high explosive bombs, then teaming with B-26 light bombers and shore based Marine planes for night strikes against the Red battleline positions.

.....My thoughts - 8th mission Nov 5. Target was Kunkuri. This was a damn good mission. We had no flak or fighters. There were 5 search lights after bombs away, but they went out right away. Only made one run on Shoran, results were good.


B-29s Batter Enemy Bridge, Mine Area; Red Front Plastered Tokyo, Nov 13 (Pac S&S) Thirteen B-29 Superfots high lighted yesterday's United Nations air activity over North Korea, dividing into elements to blast Red military targets last night following weather restricted daylight operations . The 98th Bomb Wing Superforts dropped 500 pound high explosive bombs by electronic aiming methods on a rail bridge at Pyongyang, a storage area within Sangam coal mine area north of Kunuri and Communist frontline fortifications .

.....My thoughts - 9th Mission Nov 12. Target Pyongyang Bridge was aiming point. Wing gave wrong calculation, we fouled up on air speed and ended up being the only ones to hit the bridge. We had quite a bit of flak C28 Non radar and 76 radar guns got non-firing attacks from fighters. Results were very good. We got three bottles of Grand Dad from the Wing C.O. They referred to this as "Kelly's Bridge".



B-29s Slam Red Bridges As Rains Blanket Korea - (Medium Bombers Rip Supply Storage Area) - Tokyo, Nov 28 (Pac S&S) Bomber Command B-29s blasted two major rail bridges and one supply storage area last night to keep the Allied air war going after heavy clouds and freezing rains gave most Fifth Air Force Pilots a Thanksgiving holiday yesterday. The Superforts from the Japan-based 98th Bomb Wing dropped 500 pound bombs on the two key rail bridges on the rail line between Sinanji and Huichon. Both bridges were about 500 feet long and were parallel on the important Communist supply route. . .

.....My thoughts - 11th Mission Targe Sinanju and Huichon Nov 27. These were two main rail bridges, one of the main supply routes. There was no sweat on this one. No flak or search lights. Fighters were in the area but no one saw any of them. Results were good. Clouds were over target area. We were on the ARC all the way to the target.

pyongyang river bridge

Pyongyang River Bridges


U.S. Bombers Hammer Hahwasanni, Songchon - Tokyo, Dec. 1 (pad S&S) Flying through solid overcast over North Korea last night and early this morning, B-29 Superforts hammered Communist supply centers, transportation facilities and battleline positions, following weather restricted daylight operations by the Fifth Air Force yesterday. F-86 Sabres and Allied fighter bombers spent the day on the ground , while weather reconnaissance aircraft scouted the thick cloud cover for breaks . . .

.....My thoughts - 12 mission. Target Hahwasanni, Nov 30th. This target was in Wanson Harbor. We had observed a great deal of supplies and troop movement. There was no sweat whatsoever. The results were good.


Sabre Pilots Down Two MIGs. Four F-86s, Four Red Jets Clash

Tokyo, Dec 4 (Pac S&S) American Sabre jet pilots destroyed two MIG-15s in a brief dogfight over northwest Korea yesterday while United Nations fighter-bombers attacked Communist frontline positions throughout Red held territory. The air battle took place 20,000 feet over the Chongchong river between four F-86s and four of the Red jets. . .

.....My thoughts - 13th mission. Target Taeyudong Dec 3. It was as cold as witch's tit on this one. There was no flak or search lights, but there were quite a few fighters on our course. My windows were still frozen up. This is where I lost a few pounds. Results were good. Everyone hit the target for a change.


MIGs Duck Fights As Fighter-Bombers Range Over Korea Tokyo, Dec 7 (Pac S&S) United Nations fighter-bombers blasted Communist troop and supply concentrations in North Korea yesterday and continued saturation of Red battleline positions . Patroling Sabre jet pilots reported no engagements with enemy aircraft. . .

.....My thoughts - 14th Mission. Dec 6. Target Tochomyon. This was another northwest of Wanson Harbor. It was still cold as hell. There was no sweat. Results were very good.


Planes Sock Supply Lines - MIG-15 Bagged; Vehicles, Front Arms Depot Hit - Tokyo, Dec 10 (Pac S&S) Allied fighter-bombers struggled through a dense ground haze yesterday to strike at Communist supply routes and front line positions as another MIG-15 fell to the earth near the mouth of the Yalu river. F-80 Shooting Stars of the 8th Fighter Bomber Wing caught an enemy supply convoy on an open road near Singye and wrecked six trucks, setting off two larger secondaty explosions. The trucks were loaded with ammunition . . .

.....My thoughts - 15th Mission, Dec 9. Target Yongpond-Dong There was flak, search lights (32) and fighters. Search lights locked on ship behind us while enemy fighters were making passes on us. When the ship was in the search lights, they made a pursuit curve and a firing pass. It wasn't effective. Scared the hell out of us, but everyone came back OK. Target was Ammo Depot. Results were very good.

Two MIGS damaged By Sabres (Red Jets End Five-Day Sitdown) Tokyo, Dec 16 (Pac S&S) Allied war planes slammed and slashed their way across North Korea yesterday, while American Sabre pilots damaged two MIG-15s in a flurry of dogfights. It was the first time in five days that the Red Interceptors ventured from their Manchurian sanctuary, and the F-86 airmen hit them head on in 10 swirling air battles. . .

.....My thoughts - 16th mission Dec 15. Target Miryoktong. We had flak and search lights. There were four fighters in area, but no attacks that we could see. Wasn't too much sweat. We hit target because it was big enough. Really screwed up as it wasn't Shoran. Target were troops and Ammo Depot and supplies. New crew Bomber 30 seconds before us made a "00" CE. They got the four bottles. They scared Rusty bad.


Ace Downs Ninth MIG; Supplies Hit - Tokyo Dec 10 (Pac S&S) American Sabre jet pilots fought with M15s for the fourth straight day yesterday, destroying one of the enemy jets and damaging another while Fifth Air Force fighter bombers wrecked North Korean troop and supply concentrations and pounded enemy frontline positions. In a battle near Suiho reservoir between 10 Sabre jets from the 4th Fighter Inteceptor Wing and 22 MIGs, 1st Lt. James F. Low, Sausolito, CA, shot down one MIG, boosting his score to nine Red jets destroyed and two damaged. . .

.....My thoughts - 17th Mission, Dec 18. There was no sweat on this mission. We had a very good run but no pictures because of the overcast. On the target. Results were unknown.


AF Braves Heavy Flak To Hit Plant Tokyo Dec 31 (pac S&S) Twenty-one B-29 Superforts thundered through formidable fighter and flak opposition deep in North Korea last night to smear a Communist ore processing plant and supply center with 200 tons of bombs. The powerful medium-bomber attacks came after dense clouds had all but halted fighter-bomber activity during the day. Sabre jets, however, continued their sweeps, but sighted no Red aircraft. . .

.....My thoughts - 18th Mission, Dec 30. Target: This was a bad one. The 19th went in before us and got attacked by 12 flights of fighters. Before the IP several of their ships got hit. We got 10 ships over the target in 4 minutes 15 seconds and a posted ground speed of 398 MPH. We had flak, coordinated searchlights and fighters. We got locked on three times. Ground crew found flak in one engine. Did no damage. Results were good, CE 320; The best in the Wing. Smitty had an accident post flight. He got powder burns when cleaning gun with cover open. He charged the round out, trigger bar slipped down and depressed sear which fired a round. We got the Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal.

See below.


By direction of the President, Airman First Class JOHN JAMES BINDAS, JR., AF 15457908, United States Air Force, has been awarded the First Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal.

CITATION

Airman First Class JOHN J. BINDAS, Jr., distinguished himself by meritorious achievement in aerial flight against an enemy Tail Gunner, 343rd Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Wing (H), on 30 December 1952. During a combat mission on a target at Wellyon, Ni, North Korea, Airman BINDAS exhibited extraordinary ability in the operation of the aircraft gunnery system, and in calmly advising other gunners and the aircraft commander of the possibility of enemy fighters, searchlights and flak; thereby contributing to the success of the mission. By his devotion to duty and thorough knowledge of his equipment, Airman BINDAS reflected great credit upon himself, the Far East Air Forces, and the United States Air Force.



Bombs Rake Troop Supply Spots (Devastate 3 Huge Concentrations, Plus Damaging 2 MIGs Tokyo, Jan 7 (Pac S&S) The forces of Allied medium bombers last night spread 500 quarter ton bombs over two large Communist troop and supply targets in pre-midnight raids that came after the United Nations fighter-bombers had used daylight hours to devastate another troop-supply concentration with 100 pkae attack. F-86 Sabre jets damaged two MIG-15s yesterday morning, but the Red jets did not attempt to interfere with the afternoon's mass fighter-bomber attack . . .

.....
My thoughts - 19th mission, Jan 6. Target Maenjuri. It was only 10 miles North of the last mission. But there was more flak, fighters and searchlights to go over. We were in luck and had an overcast over the target. We had to drop 20 bombs before we hit the IP to be able to climb. Tail compartment would not pressurize. I really froze. It was 56 degrees below zero. I got frost bite on frozen hands and feet before I could get out of the tail compartment. Radar raised hell with Kelly about this.


Forts Blast Rails, Plant; 8 MIGS Fall - Tokyo, Jan 15 (Pac S&S) Japan-based Superforts hurtled 120 tons of bombs onto a Communist marshaling yard and ore-processing center last night, ending a day of fierce Allied activity that featured the destruction of eight MIGs and another crippling attack on the key Red bridge complex North of Sinanju. The Superforts switched their attacks to the East coast after hitting rail facilities in northwest Korea for five successive nights.

.....My thoughts - 20th mission. Jan 14. Target - Chongnyong-No. This was supposed to have been a a maximum effort, but everyone knew about it. so they cancelled it. I don't think much damage was done. It was just 35 miles northwest of Wanson Harbor. This was an easy one for a change.


Pyongyang Target Blasted in Hour-Long B-29 Raid - MIG Downed; Red Supply Lines Hit by B-26s) - Tokyo, Jan 18 (pac S&S) A Communist military installation within the city limits of Pyongyang was blasted by 90 tons of high-flying B-29s last night as B-26 light bombers roared through low-level attacks on Red supply lines. The night missions followed daylight fighter-bomber interdictive and close support attacks, and destruction of one MIG-15 by Sabre jets.

.....My thoughts - 21st mission. Target Pyongyang . Jan. 17 This target was an underground radar station and yheater which seats 1,000 people. It was 42 feet underground. We used 2,000 pound bombs. They were set so that they would go off when they reached 24 feet. #2 prop froze at 1800 RPM halfway across the sea of Japan. Results were fair. Several frequencies went off the air suddenly.


B-29s Lash Reds South of Hamhung - Tokyo, Jan 21 (Pac S&S) Two forces of American Superforts used 130 tons of bombs early this morning to blast a sprawling , 128 acre Communist troop and supply area just south of Hamhung. The night attacks pepped up the Allied air effort after heavy cloud-covering limited fighter-bomber action during daylight yesterday.

.....M y thoughts - 22nd Mission. Jan 20. Target south of Hamhung. There was no opposition at all. It was a good mission, though. As soon as the bombs hit, all hell broke loose. Fire broke out all over the target area, leaving big billows of black smoke. Fire could be seen 70 miles after coast out. Results were very good.


B-29s Hit 2 Big Supply Areas; Yanks Blast Reds for the 11th Day - (Superforts Raid Sagok 1st Time; B-26s Rip Rails) Tokyo, Jan 27 (Pac S&S) Two more Communist troop and supply areas fell victim to the pinpoint bombing tactics of B-29s of the Japan-based 98th Bomb Wing last night. The two tagets were hit simultaneously by the Superforts before midnight.

.....My thoughts - 23rd Mission. Jan 26. Target Moke-Tong Ni. There was no sweat whatsoever. Turned out to be one of the best runs we've ever had. We got a "00" CE. We got our four bottles of Grand Dad from Westover.



Superforts Pound Red Frontline Positions (Sabres Destroy 2 MIGs; B-26s Catch 90 Vehicles as Korean Skies Clear - Tokyo, Feb 8 (Pac S&S) Twenty-one American Superforts put new life into the United Nations air effort last night by flying from Japan and Okinawa to pound two Red supply and barrack centers and battleline positions. The big bombers loosed 210 tons of high explosives on the Communist positions in raids staged after clearing weather had allowed fighter-bomber and fighter-interceptor action to flare up again yesterday.

.....My thoughts - 24th Mission. Feb 7. Target Chungwang-Don. There was no flak or searchlights. The Marine F-3-Ds (our escorts) shot down a MIG while covering us on the bomb run. Results were good. Our CE was 450'.

exploding bombs

Forts Leave Red Target 'Sea of Fire' Tokyo, Feb 20 (Pac S&S) American Superforts last night left a Red communications complex in a sea of flames as the Air Force maintained its savage round-the-clock attacks against Communist targets throughout North Korea. Highlighting this day time action was the 196 plane raid against the tank-infantry training school at Kangso. It was the second major assault in two days on the school, now a smoldering wreckage.

.....My thoughts - 27th Mission Target Unhyang-Po, Feb 19. There were search lights, flak and fighting. The F-3-Us caught a couple of MIGs around the Chongchong River. ECM jammed. A lot of GLI and radar searchlights contacts. It was a good, but, long mission. CE was 520'

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After returning to the good old USA in March, I was assigned for training on the KC-97 Air Refueling Tanker as a Boom Operator. This is the inflight fuel transfer to B-47s jet fighters. The training took place at Pal Beach AFB in Palm Beach, FL. The training consisted of complete orientation of the refueling system as well as Load Master Training (the positioning of weighted items, maintaining the center of gravity within a twenty foot length of the interior of the aircraft). The following photo is my view of the B-97 being refueled, (still looking out the back end).

refuel