Korean War Legacy Project

Dirk J. Louw


Dirk J. Louw from South Africa has served as the President of the Korean War Veterans Association of South Africa since 2013. The son of Johannes J. E. Louw, a Korean War veteran, he describes his father’s life growing up in the Northern Cape and serving in the South African Air Force. Johannes J. E. Louw served during the Korean War from September 4, 1952 until November 12, 1953 at base K55. In 2013, Dirk J. Louw visited South Korea and compares the devastation from South African Veteran pictures to the new Korea he experienced. He is proud of the South African veterans’ service in Korea and wants to ensure their legacy lives on.

Video Clips

If You Can't Look Out For Yourself...

Dirk J. Louw shows a picture of his father, Johannes J. E. Louw who was born November 6, 1926. The youngest of 7 children Johannes J. E. Louw grew up on a farm and in 1942 enrolled in the South African Air Force. He served as a logician and was responsible for the welfare of other soldiers.

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Stories of My Father

Dirk J. Louw describes his father's stories of devastation and destruction in Korea. He remembers a particular story and photographs his father shared with him beside a jeep truck that belonged to the United States. Dirk J. Louw's father, Johannes J. E. Louw, returned the jeep back to the Americans multiple times.

Tags: Physical destruction

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Day He Was Supposed To Leave

In September of 1953, Johannes J. E. Louw was scheduled to leave Korea. After reporting to the airport, he was told he could not leave and had to return to his base. He had already given away all his personal belongings including his two dogs. The two dogs were skinned by the time he returned, a difficult situation for him as he considered them his friends during this isolated time.

Tags: Personal Loss

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South African Servicemen

Dirk J. Louw describes how the South African government sent a squadron to Korea based on a deal with the Americans where the United States equipment was used against payment to the South African government. 826 South African volunteers served in Korea during the war.

Tags: Front lines,Home front

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Recipe for Success

Dirk J. Louw visited South Korea in September of 2013. As president of the South African Korean War Association, he has seen many photographs from veterans regarding the devastated South Korean Country. He was amazed at the big cars, smooth roads, and large buildings when he visited. He comments that the commitment of the Korean people has led to what they have been able to achieve.

Tags: Modern Korea,Physical destruction

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

D:        My name is Dirk Jacubus Louw.  D I R K   J A C O B U S.  L O U W is the surname.

I:          So, surname is Louw.

D:        Louw, that’s correct.

I:          L O U W.

D:        That’s correct.

I:          And, is there any ethnic origin of this name?
D:        Yes.  It is from Dutch origin.  My family came here in 78 to South Africa.


I:          1778.

D:        Yes.

I:          Wow.  So, it’s a long history.

D:        Yeah.  And then they started working at a fishing post in Cape Town in those days.

I:          And tell me about your organization, Korean War Veterans Association.  You are the President, and when you began to serve as President, and what is the short history of this Korean War Veterans Association in South Africa?

D:        The Korean War Veterans Association was established


here in 1977.  And it was a series of Presidents that actually managed it.  But they were all Korean War veterans.  And then in 2013, I was approached by the current President, Mr. Piet Visser, who requested me to, after my consultation with both General Earp and General Muller, that I


become the President of the Korean War Veterans Association.

I:          Are you a Korean War veteran?

D:        No.

I:          You look too young to be a Korean War veteran.

D:        Well, I look so old, I’m not.

I:          You?  So, are you yourself a veteran?
D:        I am a military veteran, yes.  I served 42 years in the South African Air Force.

I:          South African Air Force.

D:        Yeah.

I:          What did you do?

D:        I was a logistical officer and like I said, I served in both the


conflict that we had in Namibia or Southwest Africa Air Force as it was known at that stage.  And then in the new dispensation, and more peaceful cooperation than violence.

I:          So, then your father was a Korean War veteran, right?

D:        That’s correct.

I:          Yes.  So, but before we get into that, how many veterans are actually surviving at this moment in South Africa?

D:        At this moment, according to my records and the rest of the members, that, records, they take only those people


that belong to the Association.  There are 19 veterans left at this moment.  And, the widows are now exceeding the veterans, and there are about 35.

I:          Thirty-five.

D:        Yes.

I:          But many of them are in a situation that they either cannot speak or it’s hard to hear so that we have been interviewing around eight veterans, right?

D:        That’s correct.  We have interviewed those that were able to do


interviews at this age.

D:        There were a few that were not prepared to do interviews at this age.

I:          And I know that you’ve been issuing a newsletter for the veterans community.
D:        That’s correct.
I:          Could you tell me briefly about it?

D:        Yes.  My previous assistant started the newsletter.  But because they were Korean veterans, they only had normal news.  When I started, you know, we serve with the legacy of Two Squadron personnel.


and I served in the Air Force also in Two Squadron.  And I had the opportunity to work with many of these veterans.  And even after I’ve retired, I had the opportunity to have interviews with many of them.  So, I had seen a lot. And I’ve heard a lot of stories that I could tell.  And then I started with this newsletter in telling the stories of the veterans.  And this is actually first time that somebody’s telling their stories except for the few books that I’ve written.


So, I had extremely valuable interviews over the past few years with some of the veterans and good stories that really showed you the bravery of those Two Squadron personnel that serves in Korea.  And those stories are confirmed in the 18th Bomber Wings war diary and all the other books that were published by other countries about the South Africans.  So, I’m proud to actually convey


their stories to other people that do want to listen to it.  And then the Korean War veterans, those that don’t have internet at this stage, they are quite serious about me sending my newsletter on time every month, and they are eagerly awaiting it.

I:          So, it must be a lot of work for you to do writing the newsletters.  Is that bi-annually or

D:        It’s monthly.

I:          You mean monthly?

D:        Yes.


I:          So, there are 12 issues per year?
D:        That’s correct.

I:          That’s a lot of job.

D:        That is.  But the issue related to the time that I’ve spent on it is, makes it, mostly because of the research that you have to do.  And many of the Korean Veterans are still alive to have the ability to speak to them and get more information that aren’t in books.

I:          So, I heard that you have several terabytes worth of pictures and documentations about the


activities of the South African Korean War veteran.  Is that true?

D:        That’s true. I have to spread it into two groups.  The first one is the information that I have received over these past five years from veterans themselves, so original photographs and things like that.  And information that I’ve attained from books.  And then there were two Korean professors that came to South Africa who did research, and they went all over South Africa to our National Archives


and everything.  And they have retrieved three terabytes worth of information regarding all the written documentation about the war.

I:          So, what is your plan to do with that data?
D:        I have to use this information at the end of the day to make sure that the history of the Korean War veterans for us from South Africa is captured somewhere in the total spectrum.  This moment, books are only covering a small portion of the stories


but not the whole history of what actually happened in Korea.  They tell a story, but it is isolated in a specific environment.  I’d like to tell the story as it starts, from the day they left here on a fishing [INAUDIBLE] in 1950 till the day they returned.  So, I’d like to tell that story, but I need to make sure that it is totally accurate every piece of information


for the purpose of future research.

I:          So, you have to dig all those data.  And as you know, my Foundation is publishing two big books over 200 pages respectively with the National Council for Social Studies. And we are trying to do the same thing for Denmark and Germany, Denmark’s Utilantia Hospital Ship Operation and also Germany’s Red Cross Hospital that they operated in Pusan from 1954 to 59.


We just got a email from a great veteran who has developed a book project based on the diaries that a Korean War veteran kept for about a year period.  So, these are the things that the Foundation will do, actually using those data and making it into greater resources.  Would you be interested in doing that with the Foundation about the data that you have


and develop it as a book?

D:        Very much.  The thing is, you know, there’s a difference between having information and sharing information.

I:          Exactly.

D:        So, for me, it goes about sharing.  If we don’t share this information now while we still have some ability to verify and correct some of the data we did, the time period is becoming smaller and smaller.  So, I, at this stage, feel that if I don’t do something


drastic to ensure that this is captured and also written in books, that we might lose that forever.  So, this definitely will support in the effort to do so.

I:          That’s the point that I’ve been talking to many people whenever  I, you know, engage  in a conversation or conducting interviews with other veterans.  So, wonderful point. And there will be a great asset for us to be able to use


for the future generations.  I really appreciate it that you have such leadership and the vision so that we can work together.  So, let’s talk about your father.  Do you have your father’s picture with you?

D:        Yes, I do.

I:          Wow.  What’s his name?

D:        My father is JOHNANNES I will spell it for you.  J O H  A N N E S


J A C O B U S.

I:          Could you repeat that again? The first name.

D:        The first name Johannes, J O H A NN E S.

I:          And then middle name.

D:        J A C O B U S.

I:          J A C B O U S.

D:        C O B U S.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Jacobus.  And the last name is Ebenha, E B E N H A


I:          Just clearly.  E

D:        E B E N

I:          Um hm.

D:        H A Z E R, Ebenhazer, and it’s also L O U W.  Louw.

I:          Wow, long name.

D:        That’s right. My one, there’s a few of the grandsons that have inherited the name.  So, we are privileged to see that a name goes into the future.

I:          I can tell you look after him.

D:        I do.

I:          Yeah.  Thank you


for sharing that.  And could you tell me about your father?  What’s his birthday?  When was he born, and where he is born and kind of background about his family and education.

D:        My father was born on a farm, Fiston Park in the Northern Cape in a place called Yugi.  And he was born on the sixth


of November 1926.  He was, his father was a farmer. And he had a few sons, and my father was the youngest of about seven children.

I:          Seven children.

D:        That ‘s right.  So, he was always called the baby.  But he was also the one that first wanted to start to go out and study further.

I:          Out of the farm.


D:        Out of the farm, and then he didn’t want to farm like the rest of the boys.  So, he left the farm, and he then started to work at a transport company after school.  And after that in 1942, he, enrolled in the South African Air Force, and that’s that.

I:          Air Force.

D:        That’s correct.

I:          1942.

D:        That’s correct.

I:          And what his specialty?

D:        He was a logistician.


D:        So he, and the same as me.  I actually, after many years, I actually shared the same office as he in 1985, at the same office, the same place, the same post after many years.  So, I did that, too.  So, I actually take after him in this regard.  But anyway, as a logistician, you have to look after the welfare of all the soldiers and pilots.


So that is quite a, a task.  But you have to have the enthusiasm to do it perfectly.

I:          Absolutely.

D:        Like I always said, if you can’t look after yourself, you can’t look out for others.  So, he did that.

I:          That’s it.  So, since 1942, he served in the Air Force.

D:        That’s correct.

I:          In your opinion, you were not even born when he was in Korea, right?

D:        That’s correct.

I:          He was from Korea when to when?

D:        He was in Korea from the


fourth of September through the 12th, 1952 till the 12th of November 1953.

I:          And you weren’t even born at the time, right?

D:        No, not yet.

I:          So, you did not know much about what he’s been doing.  Is that correct?  Or do you have some record? You can tell me about what your father did during the Korean War.

D:        I only know the stories that he told us.


I:          Oh, he told you?

D:        He talked, you know, like all the Korean War veterans.  They never talk about the war itself, you know, about the brutal things that happened.  They talked about the things like the orphans which they were looking after and the Korean people, and the devastation that there was and how people suffered.  They talked about those things.  But they didn’t talk about the physical war, the shooting and the killing and mayhem.


They never talked about that.  But he shared a lot of stories.  And one of the stories that I can remember, and I think if the American audience listened to this, they will, or the American military.  At one stage, there’s a photograph of him standing next to a Jeep.  At one stage, they were giving back all the equipment.  Remember the Air Force paid their way in Korea.  And after the war, they had to give everything back to the United States to ensure


that they don’t pay for it.  So, they had a Jeep at one stage because they have to give back everything.  So, what he did see, he lay in the Jeep and then he gave it back up to the place where all the deficits were covered.  But he gave the same Jeep back about four times.  So that, that’s a story he always told us.

I:          So, he was in Korea September 4th of 1952.

D:        That’s correct.

I:          And do you know where


he actually served?

D:        I know he ended up in K55.  The majority of the time that he was, he was in K55.

I:          Which it, it was [INAUDIBLE]?

D:        Say again?

I:          Was it up North?

D:        Yes., [INAUDIBLE] K55.

I:          54, right?

D:        K55.  K55.

I:          Yeah.  K55.

D:        K55.

I:          Yeah.  And

D:        But he also, remember there were some bases from where they operated from the front, you know?  So, whenever the


aircraft and the technicians go to the front, front lines, he was going along with.  I’ve got a few photographs where they’re actually standing in the trenches in that forward airfields where they were operating from.

I:          Yeah.  Could you show those pictures to us?
D:        I don’t have it physically with me.  I have to

I:          Oh, so you don’t have copies but digitally, right?
D:        It’s all digitally, that’s correct.

I:          Oh.  So, could you provide those digital images?

D:        Any time, yes.

I:          Yes.  So that we can reconstruct


and recounting your father’s honorable service during the Korean War.  Any other story that you remember about his service there in Korea?

D:        I know one story that he always told us was the story about the day he was supposed to leave here in September 1953.  And when he arrived at the airport, remember they all served for one year, and then they get instructions to return.  And when he came at the airport o return, they shipped him out.


You have to go back.  The war is over, so you have to go back, and you have to wait because they will not get the relief team to assist him.

I:          Hm.

D:        So, when he obviously returned to his things which he gave away and all the belongings he gave away as well as his dogs he gave it away.

I:          Oh.

D:        They were both skinned at his return which actually was a very sad story for him.  And after that, he didn’t want to love dogs at all.


I:          Um.

D:        But they were, I think, in an isolated environment, dogs become good friends.

I:          Absolutely.  They are the most faithful

D:        Yeah.

I:          species to the human being, right?

D:        That’s correct.

I:          Even we can trust them but not other human beings.  Any other story that you remember?

D:        Not really.

I:          Not really.

D:        No, not really.  No.  Like I said,

I:          Did he write letters?

D:        Okay, yeah.  I can tell you that story.


I’ve got a few photographs.  And like I said, my mother still have a very god memory about the people that have served there.  My mother was 18 when he left from Air Force base Langebaanweg in the

I:          He was not married at the time, right?

D:        No, he was not married. So he was stationed at Air Force Base Langebaanweg since 1944.  So, then he met the brothers


of my mother and but like, she was still young.  And then at the age of18, when he reached 18 he left for Korea.  And I’ve got physical photographs when he actually wrote his first letter to her and the one where he actually received the first letter from her.

I:          What is it about?

D:        Yeah.  They, well, that wasn’t, first of all to ask will you please, will you mind if I write to you, and then she said no problem.

I:          Um.

D:        And then they returned, and then,


they actually fell in love.  And he returned. And after about six months he said to her listen.  I don’t think I want to have a long relationship.  Let’s get married.  And so, they were married within the year after his return to South Africa.

I:          Oh.  And that’s why, that’s how you are here.

D:        That’s correct.

I:          Right.  So, I believe that you will have a sort of a task to reconstruct


not just your father but many of other Korean War veterans from South Africa with the pictures and documentations and newspapers, all different kinds.  And I hope that you can do work on it and so that people will know about the bravery, honorable service that South African forces did in the Korean War as long as I know.  How many people were in the Korean War from South Africa actually?


D:        As owner of these Air Force people, let me start from the beginning.  The South

I:          Yes.

D:        The South African government made a commitment to send a squadron to Korea with the understanding that the United States will provide Air Force equipment

I:          Aircraft?
D:        and aircraft against payment to the South African Air Force.

I:          Um hm.

D:        So, the fighter squadron, Two Squadron which was


very famous during the Second World War. The Flying Cheetahs were chosen to go.  And all of the

I:          Two Squadron.

D:        Two Squadrons
I:          Yes.

D:        In Korea, yeah.  So, there was a law in South Africa that only volunteers can go to Korea.  So, all the members that went to Korea were volunteers.

I:          Yeah.

D:        So, the end of the day, 826 members were there on a rotation basis,


not all at one time but like, everyone served a year or in the pilot’s case, they had to fly 75 sorties.   Many of them flew 100, and there’s one that actually flew 175 sorties.  But the stories related to the Korean War veterans of South Africa can actually, it’s actually very interesting. And I’ve got substantial photographs substantiating the stories that was told.


So, it is possible to recreate or reconstruct every one of those stories.  And most of those stories are easy. It reads like a novel.  So, I will, and for me it goes about, like I said, Two Squadron’s very close to my heart. And I really want to make sure that I honor the South African Korean War veterans for what they’ve done. I’m very, very proud of them for what they’ve done.  And those that are still alive.


after all these years, they are still so committed for what they, and they are actually very humble for what they have done.  So, I personally want to do my contribution to ensure that their legacy will stay forever.

I:          How many aircrafts have been lost, and how many pilots and soldiers have been killed there?

D:        South Africa has lost 34 pilots and two ground crew.


Now if you are on that point, if you will talk about 34 pilots, you must understand we are talking about a small Air Force of military environment.  Losing today 34 pilots will have a devastating effect on the South African Air Force even today.  In those years, it had a, remember all those were qualified fighter pilots.

I:          Um hm.

D:        So, we lost 34 qualified fighter pilots.  And we lost 72 aircraft in eight crashes,



missing aircraft as well as that was shot down.

I:          So, was it South African aircraft or did U.S. provide that or what happened?

D:        The U.S provided a B51 Mustang right in the beginning, up till the end of 1952. And after, it was a F86 Saber.  In all those cases, the Air Force actually leased the aircraft from the United States


with the understanding when the aircraft is lost that they will pay the cost of that aircraft.  Now, in 1952 the documents that are in my possession at this moment, already paid in the beginning of 1952 for all the aircraft, the 18 aircraft that was lost at that stage.

I:          Um hm.

D:        They have already paid $3 million pounds to the United States.

I:          At the time.
D:        At that time, yes.

I:          Wow.  So, it wasn’t given free.

D:        No, it wasn’t for free.

I:          So, the South African government


had to pay for that.

D:        They had to pay for the soldiers, their allowances, for their salaries.  Everything was paid.  Even the clothing that was thrown from the [INAUDIBLE] the coat room was the storage of the United States.

I:          Um hm.

D:        They have to pay for that.

I:          And I’ve been interviewing many veterans here already.  What I’m hearing from them is that they have a very good relations with the U.S. unit


There, right?

D:        That’s correct. I can say that if I read through the book of the 18th Fighting Bomber Wing, the war diary,

I:          The U.S. unit.

D:        The U.S. unit.

I:          18th

D:        Fighter Bomber Wing.

I:          Fighter and Bomber Wings.

D:        That’s correct.

I:          And Two Squadron from South Africa joined them, right?

D:        That’s right.  They formed a autonomous squadron in the 18th Fighter Bomber Wing.  And the relationship between South Africa and the United States


were brilliant, I think.  Like I said, when I read through the books, I can see how they actually respected each other for their courage and for their bravery on both sides.  So, for me, I personally think that they were fighting as one.

I:          And you told me that when the 18th Fighter and Bomber Wing have functions, they actually perform the National


Anthem of South Africa first.

D:        The day the Two Squadron left South Korea, the General of the 18th Bomber Wing made the commitment that they will play the first bars of the South African anthem before they play their own anthem in the future.  So, I don’t know if it’s still being done.  But that was a commitment that was made, and it is in writing.


I:          Why do you think that they made such a commitment?  Very exceptional.

D:        I think it’s out of respect.  So, I personally feel that that is big on both sides. And the fact that they both have saved a lot of lives both the Two Squadron of other pilots and other pilots Two Squadron people, they had a mutual respect for each other.  And I think that’s the reason why.  That’s why commitment was made.

I:          And you told me that


South African Flying Cheetahs, Two Squadron has been awarded many different occasions from the United States and other U.N. forces.  Could you share that story, too?

D:        That’s correct, yes.  The statistics

I:          So, what is the contents of those awards?

D:        I just want to share this with you.  From the South African Korean War medals, [INAUDIBLE] This was the general medal that was awarded to all Korean War veterans.


And then from the United States of America, the Legion of Merit-three of those, Silver Cross- two, Distinguished Flying Cross-55, the [INAUDIBLE] Distinguished Flying Cross-1, the Soldiers Medal-1, the Bronze Star-46, the Air Medal  – 180, and the Cluster to the Air medal was 104.  Then the Commonwealth Medal, the MBE, there was 2, and then


Mission Dispatchers was 2.  Then from the Republic of Korea, there was the [INAUDIBLE] Silver Star – 1, the [INAUDIBLE] – 6, [INAUDIBLE] with Gold Star – 5, [INAUDIBLE] with Silver Star – 6, [INAUDIBLE] with Gold Star – 2, [INAUDIBLE] with Silver Star – 2, the Korean War Silver Service at the Korean War, Service Medal was 818 and is the same as the ones


of the South African Korean War Veterans.  And then the [INAUDIBLE] with Gold Star was 1.

I:          They must have been really good.
D:        They were.

I:          How do they, how was they known to the people, I mean other Air Forces that actually participated in the Korean War?

D:        Well, they were known as the Cheetahs, the Flying Cheetahs.  So I’ve spoken to other Korean veterans that were


actually in the battle field.  There was a, and I think I need to share this with you.

I:          Um hm.

D:        It was a Major Schopp who was, some of the, he was on the North Korean environment where he actually directed the attacks from the United Nations. And he had so much high regards for the Flying Cheetahs.  Every time I have spoken to him that was his favorite Air Force


which he, in terms of accuracy that he can remember that they assisted him during the War.

I:          I read the books about South African Flying Cheetah, and according to my calculation, it was on average 13 sorties per day.
D:        That’s great.
I:          Thirteen sorties.  That’s an amazing number.

D:        That’s great.  And I’m telling you, if you take into consideration


that these people that are [INAUDIBLE] and this was over the period 2000 and 50, 1952, 51 and 52, the majority of these sorties were flown at that rate.  They were flown even with losses.  They would, you know, if you lost your Squadron members and, to go back takes some real bravery, you know, to do so.


Also, there was a story about Mickey Roarke who actually on takeoff collided with aircraft next to the runway, and his three other fellow pilots had to continue.  They just returned and then made a shoot up and a missing man formation, and then they continued.  So, I’m very proud of them for what they have done.


I:          And you’ve been with me for last week when we interviewed the veterans from here, Durban and Cape Town, everywhere.  And when you were sitting in that moment that you are hearing from other pilots about their services and their experiences, what did you feel?

D:        I, like I said to you, any time I hear them speak, I feel so proud


to be part of this Association.  This is actually, I think it was just a had to be that I end up with, here where I am today.  I personally feel that the commitment that these people made, remember, when I grew up, my father was constantly speaking about the Korean War and about their commitment and what they have done.  So, for me, coming to this point where I’m sitting here today and the fact that I indirectly


contribute to all the Korean War veterans, is for me a big honor to do so.

I:          Some of them even cried.

D:        That’s, yes.

I:          And their wives also sharing the same sentiment.

D:        That’s correct.

I:          What do you think is the legacy of those South African soldiers for the Korean War?

D:        I think as many has told you that the devastation and hardship


that they had to experience there. The commitment that they’ve made to serve there was a real honor to them to do so.  And that’s the reason why they have these emotional feelings towards Korea.  It was not just, remember many of them told you that it was an adventure for a young man to go.  But the moment they arrived here, they realized what is real war.  Remember that most of the majority of them were 20 years old.


And I think only after they have arrived there, after they have experienced the savageness of war, they can truly speak about how to be proud of what they have achieved during the Korean War.

I:          And they didn’t even imagine that Korea would become like this today, right?

D:        That’s correct.

I:          Yeah.  And then when they returned, invited by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs of Republic of Korea,


they were really amazed.  What do you think about that?  You’ve been hearing those with me

D:        Yeah, I

I:          for the last week.

D:        Yeah.  I can tell you myself I’ve seen the devastation of the Korean War in pictures.

I:          Hold on.  Please go ahead.

D:        All of them are amazed with what they have seen in Korea.


I’ve not heard, haven’t heard of one that didn’t tell me that it was a miracle what happened into Korea.  Now I have experienced it myself.  I’ve seen all the pictures of the Korean War prior to going to Korea five years ago.  And to see that there are no traces of the War in the countryside anymore, it is so amazing.  You know, I said to my wife when we walked there, through the city itself


I:          So, you were in Korea?

D:        Yes.

I:          When did you go?

D:        We went there in September in 19, 2013.

I:          2013.

D:        That’s correct.

I:          And you were invited by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

D:        That’s correct.

I:          What did you see?  So, you are telling me that you have all these pictures of 1950’s and 53 of Korea

D:        That’s correct, yes.

I:          And?

D:        And these pictures portray a very devastated country. And you


can see the poor people, you can see people standing in que for food.  You can see the majority of the business of, in the rural areas, they are reliant on animals to carry [INAUDIBLE].  And if you go there today, I said to my wife, I was amazed to see all the big cars. The Koreans don’t drive small cars.  But I see all the big cars driving.  And everything is new, and everything is smooth.


The roads are wonderful.  The buildings are clean.  That is one thing that I can say that the commitment of the Korean people which I’ve experienced myself.  The commitment of the Korean people in terms of what they wanted to achieve.  That is the recipe for success.  I think if they didn’t have the commitment and even the story that they had to sell all their gold at one point, I think it was 1972.

I:          1997 when there was


[INAUDIBLE] crisis.  Yes.

D:        They had to

I:          You mean the Korean people.

D:        The Korean people.  We all had to provide their gold to be melted to pay back the [INAUDIBLE] loan.

I:          Um.

D:        I tell you that is the most honorable thing, that the citizens of a country can do to save their country.  So, I can tell you I think a lot of people in the world can learn from that.  It doesn’t only go about, about yourself.  It goes about your country.


I:          Excellent point.  And what about here in South Africa?  I find that many of those countries which actually participated in the Korean War and so that they know all about it.  But their history textbook, Work History textbook, doesn’t tell much about the Korean War, and there is not much included in their curriculum.  What about here in South Africa?

D:        I have to tell you that even when I was young, I studied Korea History till the


till uh, metric [INAUDIBLE] And there was not even a word mentioned in the those History books.  I think, even not today, there will be nothing else.  So even then, nobody spoke about a Korean War.  It was mostly about South African history and nothing about international.  So possibly in international history on University level, they might have done something about it.  But not at school.


I:          Why is it?  You just mentioned that you saw the, you know the Korea 1950’s because you have so many data, the pictures taken by the Korean War veterans, and you yourself were in Korea in 2013 so you know the transformation.  It’s a successful story, and you saw.  I think it’s the legacy of your father and all other brave South African soldiers.  Why don’t we teach about this things?

D:        I think the time has come that we do. And up till now, like I said,


even today when I speak about the Korean War, there are many young people or, or elderly people that haven’t even heard about the Korean War.  They ask us why would we have made an effort to go?  And I think if we really look at the broad spectrum of South Africa, I think even in those days, only those people who read the newspaper knew about it. Remember the, the people that went, the Two Squadron of Korea,


was a Air Force squadron, and it was 826, Two Squadron personnel that went.  So, the possibility of the Army and the Navy also knowing as much as the Two Squadron personnel is leaving them out.  So, I think the time has come that we tell the story.

I:          What do you think we can do to overcome or challenge that reality that nobody really talks about it.  There’s no curriculum about the Korean War in the History textbook,


not just South Africa but many countries.  What do you think we have to do?

D:        I think worldwide, and remember you cannot force a country to incorporate that into their curriculum.  But worldwide, I think that the time that the history of the Forgotten War that was kept under wraps must be told.

I:          So, you yourself now are almost done with your PhD in small and medium size entrepreneurship, right?


D:        I have to make a correction.  I have not submitted my proposal yet.

I:          Anything but dissertation, right?

D:        That’s right.  But like I said, the long and short is that you know you can only claim a doctorate once you have done that.

I:          That’s for sure.  But as a future educator, I mean the highest level, would you commit yourself to challenge such reality, the gap between what’s


been done by the Korean people and 22 countries brave soldiers and what Korea is now.

D:        Yeah.  I think that the story must be told.  And I think we should not only tell it to the children.  We should tell it to everybody.  So, the time has come that we share this, and like I said with regards to your enormous economic growth that you have shown, as you say to  me that you are now


11th strongest in the world with.  So, I say that story of your successes must be shared so that other people can gain from that.  If we don’t do that, I think that must be the age that you bring into the story.  And they must, and to be able to tell that, you have to tell the history.  The history is, because of the history they have built where they are today. And we have to avoid that


D:        history that was done never reoccurred so we can avoid that by telling the story of how it should be done and not go through this whole traumatic experience that I’ve gone through.

I:          If your father was still alive and sitting right there in the chair that you are sitting, what do you think that he would say to this interview about his legacy?

D:        I think, and like I said I have spoken to him many times about it.  He was very proud


to have served in Korea. And the fact that he did also contributed to make a difference towards the war and towards the safety and integrity of the South Korean people.  So, I personally feel that he will all, or he did always cherish that memories.

I:          Um hm.

D:        So, he died 22 years ago.  But that is one thing he always talked about.  Although we didn’t want to read it or listen



about that in those years

I:          Alright.  Yes.  Any other message you expect that your father will say to the Korean people who are commemorating 70th anniversary of the breakout of the Korean War by 2020?

D:        On behalf of my father, I want to say to the Korean people, keep


doing what you have been doing up till now.  You have, your honor, hard work that you have, kept up over, over all these years, make you the nation that you are today.  So, and like I said, it is time that you also reap the benefits yourself of what you have done.

I:          Um hm.

D:        That’s all I want to say.  Thank you.

I:          Dirk, you’re my friend, and my senior, and honorable veterans


in the track of pursuing your father’s excellency in demonstrating the Korean War.  And I have to say thank you for all the things that you have done so far so that we could have the voices of pilots and soldiers from South Africa.  We should not leave it forgotten.  We have to do something about it, and I’m encouraging you and suggesting you


to get that data you have and make it as a story.  And then we will make it as a curricular resource for our future generations so that we’re not promoting the War.  But we want them to learn about what’s been done by your brave soldiers.

D:        You have my commitment.

I:          It’s been a great honor and pleasure to be associated with you. And again, I want to thank you for your hospitality and also wonderful arrangement.


I couldn’t do this.  This project would be impossible without your commitment.

D:        It was my pleasure.  And thank you for your assistance and all your help that you are doing.
I:          Thank you, sir.

D:        Thank you, sir.