Page 18 - Amarillo Senior Link Magazine Fall 2021 - Online Magazine
P. 18

Dan McKinney                         Surviving the Cold

                                                               in Captivity

                                                               by Jelaine Workman

                                                                                 Communism.  He was very vocal
                                                                                 with his opinion.  He was kept
                                                                                 in jail (a small box) for 72 days;
                                                                                 on December 18, he was released
                                                                                 from confinement.  At that point,
                                                                                 the Koreans and Americans
                                                                                 exchanged prisoner lists, so they
                                                                                 knew who had been captured.

                                                                                 It was rumored that a group of
                                                                                 Marine prisoners were being
                                                                                 released.  Dan called out one day
                                                                                 to see if one of the Marines was
                                                                                 from Texas.  A few seconds later,
                                                                                 he got a positive response.  Dan
                       A well-wisher greets Dan upon his   Dan judges an athletic   asked what part of Texas he was
                       arrival home following his release  competition at the POW camp  from.  Amarillo was the answer.
                                                                                 Dan asked him if he would call
                   an McKinney was drafted     Dan pretended he was dead by      his girlfriend, Joyce Anne Riley
                   into the United States      lying very still.  He lay like that   from Tulia, and tell her that he
            DArmy in 1944 and served           all night, but, the next day, he   was alive and ok.  The Marine
            during World War II.  When he      was captured and became a POW     answered, “I know her.  And yes,
            returned home, he joined the       for 28 months.  He remembers      when I get home, I will contact
            Army Reserve for a three-year      the date because it was the day   her for you.”  When Morris Estes
            tour, ending in June 1950.  He     he was supposed to get married.    returned to Texas, he did call her,
            then re-upped for another three                                      and she called Dan’s family to
            years.  The Korean War started     Dan stayed strong during his      share the news.  Dan was finally
            at the end of June 1950, and in    captivity.  He saw what the       released on August 20, 1953.
            October 1950, Dan got the call to   Chinese lived on, and he knew he   When Dan returned home, he
            report to Fort Hood.               could survive on it as well.  The   found Mr. Estes to thank him for
                                               prisoners got one bowl of rice a   giving his family some peace of
            His company, K Company             day, sometimes two.  They got     mind.
            24th Division, was the first to    pork about every two to three
            go to Korea.  They had few fire    months, but Dan could not eat     Dan was born in Belen, NM. Six
            fights until April.   The unit was   the meat, knowing how they      months later, his dad, who was
            pushed down to the farthest tip    killed the hogs.  He said that only   a railroader, was transferred
            of South Korea.  In September,     the strongest survived.  There    to Clovis, NM, where Dan was
            they were moved back up to the     were times when the temperature   raised and eventually graduated
            38th parallel at the Yalu River.  In   dropped to 32 below.  They were   from high school.  He met his
            October 1950, the temperatures     cold but determined that they     future wife in Tulia in 1948,
            fell to 70 below zero!             were coming home.                 and she waited for him to come
                                                                                 home; they married on October
            On the morning of April 22, 1951,   The Chinese and North Koreans    18, 1953. His wife graduated
            the Chinese offensive overran      were pretty lenient with the      from nursing school in 1950 and
            their unit.  Dan was the squad     captives unless they caused       worked at several hospitals and
            leader and had several new guys    trouble.  While they were trying   doctors’ offices during her career.
            join his unit that day; they and   to brainwash their prisoners, Dan
            several others lost their lives    argued strongly with them that    After moving several times for a
            during that attack.  To survive,   Capitalism was much better than   variety of jobs, Joyce Anne and

      18   Amarillo Senior Link
   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23