Whitesburg KY

Air evacuation

I’m sure all our Letcher County veterans of the Korean War can remember the aircraft in which they flew to Korean from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., during 1950-1953. All flights left Travis with stops in Hawaii, Wake Island and Japan before arriving in Korea. The aircraft in which they flew were the C-54’s, the heavier C-97 Stratofreighter and C-124 Globemaster. The C-131 areomedical transporters were used for returning wounded to Travis.

The biggest effect of the Korean War on military operations at Travis concerned the air evacuation. The war brought a surge of wounded patients from overseas, many of whom were transferred to domestic aeromedical flights. The hospital at Travis received 22,755 patients from overseas in 1951. Between 1950 and 1953, the number of patients arriving from overseas each month averaged more than 2,000. During a few peak months, nearly 5,000 wounded men were airlifted from the war zone to Travis.

The magnitude of this airlift strained the base facilities and the capabilities of the air evacuation squadron. The new 150-bed hospital, which had opened in May 1949, had to be expanded. New construction during the next two years added 200 permanent beds. Also, the medical airmen’s dormitory was converted to wards (almost 150 beds).

I hope these facts show the people of Letcher County that the Air Force did all it could to help our wounded. A lot of our young men were saved by the quick flights from the war zone to the hospital at Travis.

I would like to see some stories in The Mountain Eagle of your Korean war veterans of what they went through to get back to their loved ones.

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