Intermission Stories (2)

Air evacuation, Korea

Air evacuation, Korea

Captain Lillian Kinkela Keil

By the time 1950 and the Korean War came around, about one million women had worn the uniform from the United States military.  They had been prisoners of war, been wounded, flew planes, planned strategies, nursed casualties and died for this country.  Hundreds of women flew air evacuation, caring for the wounded soldiers during every bumpy air mile one of these women was Capt. Lillian Kinkela, a member of the Air Force Nurse Corps and one of the most decorated women in the U.S. military.

The captain flew over 200 air evacuation missions during WWII as well as 25 trans-Atlantic crossings.  When the Korean War erupted, she donned her uniform once more and flew several hundred more missions as a flight nurse in Korea.  Capt. Kinkela Keil was the inspiration for the 1953 movie “Flight Nurse” and served as the technical adviser during the making of the film.

Capt. Lillian Kinkela Keil

Capt. Lillian Kinkela Keil

Her decorations include: the European Theater of Operations w/ 4 Battle Stars; The Air Medal w/ 3 Oak Leaf Clusters; The Presidential Unit Citation w/ One Oak Leaf Cluster; The Korean Service Medal w/ 7 Battle Stars; The American Campaign Medal; The UN Defense Medal; Presidential Citation, Republic of Korea.

"Flight Nurse" movie poster

“Flight Nurse” movie poster

Capt. Keil’s older brother was killed during WWII while serving in the US Navy.  Lillian married Walter Keil, a Naval intelligence officer who served on Guadalcanal during WWII.  She passed away June       2005 at the age of 88.

This information was supplied by: The National Museum. af.mil/

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The BIG TEN – the first inland demolition raid in Korea by Team 3

We can all agree that there is nothing like a personal account of an event to bring things into perspective and reality.  This story is too long for me to repeat here word-for-word without cropping out too much vital information, so I am just leaving the link for you to decide as to its interest and importance.

Lt. Dan Chandler briefs his "frogmen" before they set out to disarm mines

Lt. Dan Chandler briefs his “frogmen” before they set out to disarm mines

http://www.navyfrogmen.com/PhilCarricoFirstInlandRaid.html

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Sir James Plimsoll and UNCURK

A civilian in war

Sir James Plimsoll had a significant influence during the Korean War as Australia’s delegate to UNCURK (United Nations Committee for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea).  The group was formed in October 1950 with the anticipation of a speedy end to the war.  By the time the committee had their first meeting in November, the Chinese had entered the scene.

Syngman Rhee & James Plimsoll w/ the 3 RAR, Korea 1950

Syngman Rhee & James Plimsoll w/ the 3 RAR, Korea 1950

Most UNCURK personnel recommended leaving Korea, but Plimsoll argued to the contrary by bringing the point that their civilian presence should clearly remain.  They did stay, but moved to Pusan along with the South Korean government.  Although their original purposes were altered by events, the commission played a valuable role over the following years.  They remained in constant contact with the ROK government officials, observed elections and reported news to the UN.

L to R; unknown person, Plimsoll, Rhee, R.G. Casey, Pote Sarasin (Thai delegate)  & Alan Watt (US Dept. of External Affairs)

L to R; unknown person, Plimsoll, Rhee, R.G. Casey, Pote Sarasin (Thai delegate) & Alan Watt (US Dept. of External Affairs)

Sir James was a foreign adviser with considerable influence on Pres. Syngman Rhee.  He would explain the views of the UN and pointed out to Rhee his tendency to disregard norms of democracy and human rights.   Sir James returned to Canberra to take up a different position, but in February 1952, the US State Dept. delegate requested him back to Korea; his influence had greatly been missed.

Following the war, Sir James Plimsoll held several high official positions representing Australia around the world and then as Governor of Tasmania; dying in office 1987.

This information is courtesy of  www.awm.gov.au/  “Out in the Cold”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Purple Heart

Purple Heart

Robert Amundsen, Sr. – Dallas, TX, US Navy, WWII

Wilhelmina Buck (nee McGill) – Manurewa, NZ; RNZAF #3376, WAF, WWII, Whenuapai Air Base

Bryan V. Cady, Jr. – Ogden, UT, US Army, Korea

Eugene Cirzan – Sun City, AZ; US Army, Korea

Donald W. Cropp – W.Palm Beach, FL; US Army, Korean War

Joseph Kapala – Tinley Park, IL; US Army, WWII, Battle of the BUlge, Purple Heart

George Manzell – Tauranga, NZ; Merchant Navy, WWII # R233179; British Army, Sgt.RA, Korea # 14460567

James Semradek – Park Ridge, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on March 14, 2014, in Korean War, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. A fascinating reading all the way through.
    Lillian Keils story has me now locating the movie flight nurse.
    Sir Jmes Plimsoll also leads me to further research.
    Great post.
    Ian

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    • Thanks for the praise, Ian – but, you might not want to try too hard to locate the film. Some of our fellow bloggers are going thru H*ll trying to get it.

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  2. So happy you did this one~

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  3. Great research and very interesting too. Thank you GP.

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  4. Fitting to celebrate this amazing woman, Captain Keil, as March is Woman’s History Month. Never heard of her before your blog–like much of the information you pass on to us, GP. Thank you!

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    • I do my best to try and keep this site fresh and interesting. I know sometimes it gets routine and some posts drag on, but I think the eye-witness stories help to give a break from that. Thanks for reading, Dadicus.

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  5. Wow, are we ever behind with our reading. We did have a great discussion today regarding the movie poster for ‘Flight Nurse.’ My guess is that if the movie were released today, we wouldn’t find the heroine in the arms of a man! We do have the movie on order for several group showings. Actually, after we have it for a few viewings, the volunteer staff at the VA will coordinate future viewings until everyone gets to see it. Thanks for bringing all of this information up and the women’s floor is the happiest I’ve seen in a long, long time.

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    • You always send a comment that knocks me out, Sheri. Linda was just telling me that it was never released on DVD or VHS, she was looking for it too. Perhaps you can send her a note of comment on how to order it? Tell the girls at the VA that I apologize for being so neglectful when it comes to writing about the women and give all the vets my best!! No thanks to me are required – we ALL owe you one for everything you do for the vets! You are one strong woman yourself!!

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  6. Thanks for posting this information. It’s great for kids to have real men and women for heroes.

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  7. Great stories! What an amazing woman. I checked Netflix, Amazon and TCM for “Flight Nurse”. TCM said it’s aka “Angels Take Over”. As near as I can tell it has never been released on VHS or DVD.

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    • What a shame! No wonder all the readers are telling me that they never heard of her! Thanks for doing the research, Linda!

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    • Linda – I also couldn’t get the movie through our regular distributors. I should have waited until I had bird in hand before I posted. I have a connection with a studio that restores old film into digital for ultimate cataloging. The film had not reached their archive the date I called a friend. However, the film has sense been retrieved and is in the process of being restored. Evidently the original studio didn’t take good care of the reels and it’s going to take a bit of time.

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      • Your take-charge personality will eventually win out, Sheri – I have every confidence in you. The things you have accomplished for the veterans is outstanding – just beyond words!! [I know this was left for Linda – but I just had to remark too.]

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  8. I love the information about Captain Keil. She seems pretty spectacular. I’d never heard of her, thanks for sharing.

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  9. Brava! trailblazing women who served in Korea and who have been deployed everywhere since! Nice story here.

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    • Thank you, Eric. Those heroic women have been participating in various parts of our war, but we so rarely mention them. I too am at fault and Cyndi called me on that one, brought it to my attention that I was also being neglectful.

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  10. What a determined and courageous woman she was… Rather, Captain. To have flown all those missions in the technology of that day was a miracle in itself. Unbelievable decorations and to be recognized for saving lives to boot. Thank you for sharing this. Too bad the leading man was Forrest Tucker. 😉

    There was a photo website I helped do research for. I think it was “americanwac” it something like that… I’ll have to go through my history to track it down. The descendant’s last name was Jameson…

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  11. I’ve never heard of Captain Lillian Kinkela Keil either. Clearly she is worth knowing more about. Thank you for putting her on my radar.

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  12. Just read Phil’s story! Loved it…thanks for including it…and thanks Phil for sharing it.

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  13. Sir James Plimsoll – a legendary diplomat, public figure and great Australian/ much loved.

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  14. Thanks for another interesting post. Like Mark said, I’ve never heard of the woman you wrote about, or that movie. I too need to do some research.

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  15. Another farewell salute: Maurice Joseph Xavier (Maurie) Walker No. 425958 F/SGT Navigator RNZAF WW2, March 12th, 2014, Christchurch, NZ.
    Lovely to have some more stories of exemplary people. Going to look up Flight Nurse now.

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  16. I remember the name “Plimsoll” from a history course, but very little else. Thanks for the refresher.

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  17. I’ve never heard of her. I’m going to have to look up that movie now. Very interesting post.

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