Chuncheon: An Army town during the Korean War

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Chuncheon: An Army town during the Korean War

By Robert Neff

Army towns during the Korean War (and even now) tended to be rough places. They were often scenes of petty thefts, black marketing, drunken brawls, prostitution and even murder. Of course, MPs (military police) were conspicuously present but they couldn't stop everything.

A busy street in Chuncheon in 1952/53. An MP can be seen talking with one of the residents.

Sometimes soldiers sought nothing more than a shoeshine.

A couple of soldiers in Chuncheon have their boots shined by a shoeshine boy

C-rations were very popular among the Korean population. They were obtained from soldiers through purchases, bartering or less than legal means. They were also popular stakes in games ? the raspberry jam being the most valuable part of the packet.

Playing for raspberry jam

The black market thrived in army towns. Soldiers could make a very large profit on items they purchased in the PX (Post Exchange) and then sold illegally in the local economy. And, despite ration limits at the PX, some items quickly sold out and soldiers were forced to buy from young entrepreneurs (undoubtedly supervised by their parents).

PX items for sale

A young entrepreneur

Greeting potential customers

There were baser pursuits. Some "tea rooms" offered more than just a beverage and were off limits to the military.

An off-limits to military personnel "Tea Room"

These entertainment areas were also centers for petty crimes.

Signs warning soldiers to observe curfew and be aware of pickpockets

Wild nights often had consequences.

A medical center for the general population – military members received medical attention on base



By Robert Neff

Army towns during the Korean War (and even now) tended to be rough places. They were often scenes of petty thefts, black marketing, drunken brawls, prostitution and even murder. Of course, MPs (military police) were conspicuously present but they couldn't stop everything.

A busy street in Chuncheon in 1952/53. An MP can be seen talking with one of the residents.

Sometimes soldiers sought nothing more than a shoeshine.

A couple of soldiers in Chuncheon have their boots shined by a shoeshine boy

C-rations were very popular among the Korean population. They were obtained from soldiers through purchases, bartering or less than legal means. They were also popular stakes in games ? the raspberry jam being the most valuable part of the packet.

Playing for raspberry jam

The black market thrived in army towns. Soldiers could make a very large profit on items they purchased in the PX (Post Exchange) and then sold illegally in the local economy. And, despite ration limits at the PX, some items quickly sold out and soldiers were forced to buy from young entrepreneurs (undoubtedly supervised by their parents).

PX items for sale

A young entrepreneur

Greeting potential customers

There were baser pursuits. Some "tea rooms" offered more than just a beverage and were off limits to the military.

An off-limits to military personnel "Tea Room"

These entertainment areas were also centers for petty crimes.

Signs warning soldiers to observe curfew and be aware of pickpockets

Wild nights often had consequences.

A medical center for the general population – military members received medical attention on base



LETTER

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