In the middle of the madness was RC1...

My home (on the right), my latrine (on the left)

Recreation Compound #1 (RC1) was on the main road to "The Bridge at Toko-ri," which although never rebuilt still partially remained next to a newer bridge that you had to pass over to get to the DMZ and the Peace Center at Pan-mun-jom. The dirt road next to our hootch had a lot of traffic up until midnight curfew. Tanks, jeeps, Korean taxis and buses all zoomed by creating clouds of dust that settled on our tin roofs like volcanic ash. Everyone from dignitaries for the peace talks to prostitutes and black marketeers made their ways to and from the DMZ. Many times those same prostitutes and black marketeers would be selling their wares through the wire fence (background, above photo).

RC1 was mostly "temporary" buildings built for the numerous U.S. Army personnel brought over to help "rebuild" South Korea after the war. Of course the temporary buildings became somewhat permanent, housing all the Army and Special Services people who ran and maintained the compound. In the summer the buildings were sweat boxes, with only a couple of portable fans to circulate air. In the winter, they were deep freezers. Heat was supplied by diesel fuel space heaters (50-gallon drums converted to burners), that warmed up only the space immediately around them. And when the monsoons came, there would be several inches of water in all the barracks. We actually saw rats swimming by our bunks trying to get up in bed with us.

The newest, warmest/coolest, driest buildings were the movie theater, service club, PX and arcade, the bowling alley, and where most of us in the entertainment corps spent our time, the rehearsal hall.


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