Dr. Rodney T. Hard
McFadden and Clinkscales sitting in the foreground at a park in Virginia. They attended Korean Language school with me at Fort Myer, Virginia before being deployed to Korea.
Taechon Beach with beach houses of the missionaries.
Photo by Ed Kilbourne Sr.
By: Dr. Rodney T. Hard
In 1970, while in the Republic of Korea (ROK) at the 502ndMilitary Intelligence Battalion, Company C, I went to Taechon Beach on a four day pass.
Having grown up as the son of a Presbyterian missionary in Korea, I was returning to a private beach owned by missionary families where I had vacationed several times during my childhood.
Using the civilian ID that I used for a cover during intelligence operations, I hopped a free ride with some officers and flew down on a small two engine plane. In the air, I noticed that the wing had gasoline streaming out of it and I alerted the pilot. We had to land at a small base and get repairs. When we finally arrived in Taechon, I took a local bus to the beach.
On the way, our bus got stopped by ROK soldiers who searched the bus asking for everyone’s IDs.
I asked around when I got to the Korean side of the beach because there had been many patrols that day rousting everyone and asking for ID. Evidently, a team of North Korean operatives had landed on a remote part of the beach and got into a fire fight with a ROK patrol. Several escaped and had headed inland.
The first thing I did was call a special phone number at G2 headquarters in Yongsan to inform the officers on duty, Warrant Officers Clinkscales and McFadden, about what was going on. The Korean intelligence community would not have volunteered that kind of information to their US counterparts unless they were asked.
Because G2 now knew about the search, they contacted their counterparts in the Korean CIA and got access to the interrogation of the two infiltrators that ultimately got captured.
A lot of times we didn’t get access to the prisoners until the Koreans had already had at them for quite some time. Then they would “magnanimously” let us have them.
This time though, since we knew about the captured agents, we got immediate access to them in a joint interrogation with the ROKs at a safe house in the outskirts of Seoul. When I got back from my four day pass, I was one of the interrogators that was involved in the questioning of the North Korean spies.
ROK soldiers patrolling on the missionaries' private beach in Taechon. Photo by Betts Huntley.
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