Guy “Buddy” Carr served as a flight engineer in Korea from 1950 to 1953. During his tour, Buddy took on dangerous missions, braved new experiences and even crashed a plane. Such events ultimately earned him several medals in which he was reunited 65 years after coming home.
“I entered the service on December 27, 1950. It was my brother John’s birthday. I went home and told my mom, brother and granddad that I enlisted in the Air Force,” recalls Buddy.
His family had no idea he was going to enlist.
Buddy packed his bags and headed to Union Train Station in Little Rock to catch his ride to the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
After getting situated, Buddy decided to take a nap, knowing the train ride would take all night.
“The next morning I woke up and I discovered our train was still at Union Station in Little Rock,” said Buddy, “We found out they didn’t have a train to pick us up.”
It took three days to make the trip to San Antonio, stopping to let other trains pass them along the way as troop trains had no priority back then.
Once they finally made it to the base, the new troops were put into formation and taken to the mess hall.
“There was a big sergeant there and he told us before we went through the food line, ‘If you get it you eat it,’” said Buddy, “I didn’t have any problem with that because we hadn’t eaten much over the three days it took us to get to San Antonio.”
When they finished eating, they left and were immediately put into another line which took them back through the mess hall.
“They told us again, “if you get it, you eat it”. We ate it all, even though we had just eaten,” said Buddy.
From the mess hall, the troops were supposed to be taken to training, but Buddy got mixed up with a group who had already been in the service and did not have to go through basic training, because he was with them, neither did Buddy.
He collected his clothes and made his way to the next destination; Lowry Air Force Base in Aurora Colorado.
There, Buddy went to school to be a turret mechanic.
“That’s what a machine gun sits on,” explained Buddy.
He also attended Gunner school before being sent to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia where he received more training including combat before flying practice missions.
“That was first time I had ever been in any airplane,” said Buddy who recalls the plane being fairly small compared to his 6-foot stature.
“I was on B-50 as a tail gunner one time for 20 hours when we were doing practice missions in the U.S.,” he said, “There was an electrical plant by Broadway bridge in North Little Rock and we would ‘practice’ dropping bombs on that site.”
After all his training was complete, Buddy was shipped out California, Hawaii, Wake Island and finally Korea. This was around December of 1951.
In Korea, Buddy learned that a majority of his training wasn’t going be of much help.
“Everything I went to school for as a tail gunner I didn’t need, because they didn’t have gunners,” he said.
Buddy ended up becoming a flight engineer during bombing missions on a B-26.
Their main targets became trains. They would direct their bombs to cut tracks off around the train cars.
“One time we flew a Chinese man into North Korea. We rigged a piece of plywood in the bomb chute. When we opened doors he bailed out. He parachuted in to spy for us in North Korea,” said Buddy.
Buddy and his crew flew 54 missions, all but one at night.
“We only crashed once,” said Buddy nonchalantly. “We were returning from a mission and our air strip was closed because of weather. They routed us to Seoul, Korea. On getting prepared for landing, our landing gear failed and we ended up crash landing.”
Upon completing his 54th mission, Buddy was sent home, having had more missions than anyone else in his barracks.
“I didn’t want to go home ahead of the crew that I flew with all the time,” he said. “They made me go home because I had 54 missions in.”
During his service in Korea, Buddy earned the distinguished Flying Cross, two air medals, the United Nations Korean Service medal and the Korean Service medal.
On August 3, 2018, a ceremony was held at Brookdale Senior
Living in Conway to reunite Buddy with his replacement medals.
Congressman French Hill presided over the ceremony saying, “We love celebrating [our veterans’s] service and one of the nicest, most touching ways to do that is to reunite a veteran with their medals.”
Members of the Flying Cross also presented Buddy with a distinguished Flying Cross license plate and hat, welcoming him into their group.
“Mr. Carr truly exemplifies the warrior spirit that has seen our nation through trying times,” Hill said as he presented Buddy with his long awaited and deserved medals.