Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Francis J. Tatu
Q: But you did receive some training.
TATU: Oh, yes. I don't really knock it. I learned a lot in my three years in the navy. That was a very formative period of my life. So I started to college, at a junior college in Ventura, California. On January 24, 1950, I was in Naval Air Reserves. Some crews were coming in from a night flight and somebody said, “Hey, guess whaNorth Korea invaded South Korea. last night” You've got to believe somebody asked, “Where's Korea?”
Q: Sure, of course.
TATU: So within very short order my squadron was called-up. We crawled up in our bomber patrol planes, and off we went. The experience was to give me an abiding interest in the Far East, because one of my functions as a photographer was to work with the public information and education officer, and I was supposed to be telling the troops why we were there. Nobody had any idea why we were there.
Q: In Korea?
TATU: We were stationed in Japan at a place called Atsugi, which still exists, just out of Yokohama, U.S. Naval air station. We knew we were there since our aircraft were too big for anything in Korea at that time. We were flying what the Navy called the “Privateer,” what the army had called “Liberator.” Ours was the same aircraft with some modifications a four-engined patrol bomber with enormous fire power.
Q: But you were in Japan during this time?
TATU: Yes, we flew out of Japan. We had two basic flights. One was up the Yellow Sea and down to Shanghai and back, and we'd go up to Dalien and down. The other one was the Sea of Japan and we'd go up to Vladivostok and back.
Q: So you were doing aerial photography in connection with the KoreaWar?