Division Level Football
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To date, I have not been able to get any response from the 8th Army Historian or any other person I
have emailed concerning the history of Division Level Football in Korea.
But I do know that the 24th Inf Division, 1st Cav Division, 2nd Inf Division, and the 7th Inf Division all
fielded teams. I mention these teams only because 3 of them stood duty in the same area over the
years beginning in 1955
When, they began playing, or when, the league was dissolved has yet to be discovered by me
This page will give you, in no particular order, memories and photos from those who knew of or
attended the games
I took pictures at 3 or 4 football games at RC 1 during the 1958 Season, 1st Cav won
the championship that year. Seems like there was the Cav, 7th ID, I Corps, Osan AB and
maybe one more team, possibly 8th Army ..... those were some very good teams, a
majority of the Cav Div players had College Experience
15th QM Co
1st Cav Div 1957 - 1958
This is our (1st Cav Donut Dollies) taking on the Cheerleading Chores for
the 1st Cav Div Football Team at RC-1 in Sept 1958. This was halftime and
they were going on the field with the 1st Cav Band and Horse and Rider.
This was the game between 1st Cav Div and 7th Inf Div..... The 1st Cav won
Shortly after I arrived at the 8th Cav in June 1963, I went to a football game
at RC#1. It was in September 1963 and was between the 1st Cav Div and the other
division, 7th I think. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures. One of our officers, a 1Lt
Otis Smith, was one of the players. He had played college ball somewhere. That about
all I can remember.
HHC, 1/9th Cav
1st Cav Div 1963 - 1964
In 67-68 the quarterback for the 2nd Division team was from the 2nd Div Arty
Headquarters Battalion. My memory, at the moment, won't dig out his name. We
attended all the 2nd Divison home games. If my memory serves me right, a guy from
one of the other division teams died during a game, and the 2nd Division soldiers would
chant Die, Die during the games after that.
Sp4 Terry Turner
HQ 2nd DIVARTY
1967 - 1968
I know I attended some football games during my tour, but I think this one was over in
7th Div area and not RC#1 but anyway... this may bring back memories.
SP5 Roger Gruendemann
2nd Inf Div
I was at Camp Beard 2/72 Armor for an extended 19 month tour 68-69. We were
across from RC #1. I remember that they used to use us as security for those games. I
remember being put on top of a hill overlooking an area that was full of choppers that
were ferrying in big shots from all over.
It was kind of a surreal environment as we just had come from a couple of weeks up at
GP Johnson on the MDL relieving some infantry unit and now we found ourselves at
this football game with a cheering crowd like we were at some college game, but the
surrounding area was all rice paddies. Very weird, like out of some strange movie
Sp5 Mark Van Valkenburgh
C Co 2nd BN 72nd Armor
1968 - 1969
I was assigned to the 4th Missile Command at Camp Page, Chunchon, from July,
1967 to July, 1968. I was on TDY to Camp Red Cloud, Uijongbu, in the fall of 1967 and
played for the I Corps football team.
There were four teams in the league at that time, the 2nd and 7th Infantry Divisions
and Eighth Army Support Command (EASCOM). We played each team twice. 2nd
Division did, in fact, win the title that season and I believe they were undefeated. I Corps
was 2-4 beating EASCOM twice and losing to the infantry divisions twice. There were
many former college players on the teams and the level of competition was excellent.
We had a coach Lt. Ben Williams, who played in the North-South game in college (either
N.C. State or UNC), who eventually donned a uniform and played with us. He claimed the
talent level was as good as he experienced in his college games. One of the names I
remember were Pete Dickens, who coached and quarterbacked the 7th Div. team, and I
believe he ended up playing in the NFL.
We did play at RC #1 and I still recall the brass being flown in on choppers for the
games. The crowds were quite impressive and some teams even had "round eyed"
cheerleaders who were either spouses or daughters of GI's.
Sp5 Ross Hamilton
Pay Disbursing Specialist
HHC, 4th Missile Command
#81 - Wide Receiver
I Corps Football, Camp Red Cloud, 1967
The only game I remember attending was during the fall of 68. I believe it was
between the 2nd Div and the 7th Div teams. I missed the 1st half but did manage an
attempt to sort of 'Drop In' at half time.
4 members of the Kiowa Skydivers (Huffman, Stevens, Franz and myself) were to make
our entrance at halftime. As we approach the field a radio message informed our pilot
that they were not ready. He made a course correction taking us off our flight path in an
attempt to delay our arrival at our jump point. Within a couple minutes and before we
could get back to our original heading, they gave us the ok.
Turning toward the field once again we did our best to make it out the door on time. But
our delaying tactic put us too far off course and we went out the door at the wrong spot.
We were in what was called a 2 man star. 2 pairs of us falling, arms locked together
facing each other. Our plan was to fall from 7,500 ft to 5,000 feet then separate. At 3,000
feet we would deploy our chutes and glide into the stadium landing as close to the 50 yd
line as possible.
Now the real problems began. I lost concentration and caused us to go into a tumbling
spin. By the time we recovered, it was too late. We had fallen below our 5,000 ft release
point and quickly had to separate and find the stadium. I realized immediately that we
were further away than planned and went into a French Frog position to cut the distance
between me and the field. Holding a good tuck would allow me to fall at a rate of approx
1 ft horizontally for every foot vertically.
Well, I didn't! My reserve was not strapped tight enough and caused me to rock
violently as I fell. So I kept moving out of the tuck and back into it trying to gain stability.
It didn't happen. As if things weren't bad enough, as I came out of the tuck, the ground
make a sudden leap at me. Although I had never experienced this before (It should
never happen!) I knew I had fallen to below 1,500 ft, missing my safe opening altitude of
2,500 ft. I pulled my rip cord and felt the jarring deceleration as my chute opened. My
altimeter read 1,200 ft.
Pointing toward the field, knowing I was not going to make it, I looked for a safe landing
spot. I was coming in over Tadjapol, just below Camp Rice and was going to cross over
the river near Camp Beaumont. There were a bunch of hooches with walls and rice
paddies everywhere. This was going to be my landing zone and a challenge to get into.
As I hit the ground and rolled, my chute was dropping onto a wall topped with broken
glass. A bit of luck and some quick thinking saved my chute from being ripped by the
chards of glass. I had missed the field but was safe and within a short walk to a gate. I
didn't bother to remove the chute pack from my back, I just rolled the chute in a ball and
carried it in my arms.
As I got to the field, an MP opened the gate for me, then escorted me into the bleachers
and up to where the Division Commander was sitting. After a few brief words, I headed
over to where the rest of the Kiowa Skydivers were sitting. It had been a hell of a day.
And I have no clue who won the game.
1Lt Ken Leighty
2nd Infantry Div
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|Got a memory or photos?
Pete Dickens played DB at the University of Georgia 62-65
1967 - 1968