July 5-23, 1988
One Man's Seoul Is Another Man's Toes
If you won't examine your own life, then surely someone else will examine it for you >>>
On July 5, 1988, I was sent to Osan Airbase, Korea to play in Exercise Ulchi Focus Lens, the largest command post exercise in the world. Miimii and I had been dating barely a month, and when she found out about the trip, she cried like I'd never come back. It was
quite shocking how she seemed 'hooked' on me when I was merely fond of her. I didn't know if it was childishness or genuine affection, but it made me uncomfortable. Of course, I could always leave the country!
<<<free as a bird
One man's ordinary is another man's curiousity>>> These photos are of Songtan, the little town just outside of the gates of Osan. First you see bars, and sidewalk merchants calling out your name, asking you, begging you to buy something! It's great for shopping, and most of the alleys are about 1/4 the size of this street, sometimes packed to the gills with shoppers and merchants. The whole place, however, seemed to wreak of garlic. I was so overcome by it, I couldn't go inside the Base Exchange at Osan because the smell would make me sick to my stomach.
No folks, that little boy isn't wearing pants>>> Once you got past the bars and merchants and shoppers, here is what you'd see. One day I walked about a mile outside the base and it looked like something out of the movie Platoon. It looked like a poverty-stricken country, but when I returned ten years later, this area was built up with high-rise apartments.
The bottomless boy has exited right-stage>>>
I kept busy with the exercise, which kept me at work for 13 hours a day, although I don't remember what I did. I worked in the KCOIC, a huge concrete bunker on the top of a hill, which could take a direct hit from a 2000-pound bomb.
I ran 6.2 to 12.4 miles a day after work. In my Air Force career, I was rarely put in a tent, so I guess I can't complain, but my room at Osan left me waking every morning with insect bites. There were spiders, or mosquitoes in bed with me every night--staying for free!

I worked with a female Staff Sergeant, who had the kind of face that would break mirrors. She also had a mustache. On the other hand, she made up for it by being a blast to work with, and we laughed for a good portion of our shift. I remember once making her laugh so hard, she fell off her chair, and I vaguely remember her being sick once from laughing too hard. I loved having that kind of power.

Seoul, South Korea, a refreshing city where most everyone wears pants>>>
I have a funny story from my visit. We were expecting a visit from the Secretary of Defense and Colonel Freeman, or Green (can't remember which) was checking out the 4000-pound overhead blast doors when one fell on him, striking him in the head, knocking him back and severing his toes. I guess he didn't read the sign,"WARNING: TRESSPASSERS WILL BE TOED." Hehehe...anyway, the whole area was blocked off but Sergeant what's-her-face and I managed to sneak near the partitioned area and shoot a glance of the boot with his toes still sitting there. They just left them there for a week after the accident! Colonel Freeman(Green?) had his toes replaced with plastic and continued serving the Air Force for years. Must have been hard to move on after he lost all his little piggies.

After the exercise was over, on my last day in Korea, Staff Sergeant what's-her-face and I went to Seoul. I didn't even go to Tokyo by myself, so I wasn't about to visit Scary Seoul alone. It frightened me. Below is the Seoul Tower. Seems all these cities have a tower...Kuala Lumpur has the KL Tower, Tokyo has the Tokyo Tower. Maybe Evansville, Indiana needs the E-Ville Tower? It could light up in black and red and have a blood-curdling scream blasting from loudspeakers at the top.

Looking up to the Seoul Tower as the Seoul Tower looks down at us>>> Sergeant what's-her-face and I had a great time in Seoul. She took me to some of the shopping areas near Yongsan Army post (Etaiwan). I tried to crack her up by imitating Chekov from Star Trek IV and asking the locals where I could find their "nuclear wessels". She was embarrassed but she liked laughing so much, it didn't matter. I timidly mentioned this trip to Miimii on my return to Japan, and when I later sent her a postcard, Miimii screamed,"You have another girlfriend!!!" She hated me knowing any other women.

The two bottom photos are of DLI-63, a 63-story skyscraper which was the tallest in Korea at the time. We weren't allowed to take photos from the top because it was remotely possible to see the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ-the border with Communist North Korea) from there. The 1988 Summer Olympics were about to be held in Seoul, and we could see the stadium from the top. I understand South Korea flew a large Olympic flag on the other side of the DMZ just to rub it in, that the North Koreans couldn't play!

You can't shoot photos from the top but...>>>
you can shoot photos of the top!>>>