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“My boys are getting ready to move you…. Write your ticket” 1948 BUPERS letter from Capt (VADM) John Cheshire Daniel (Korean War chief POW truce negotiator)

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Here’s a 72-year-old letter signed by then Captain John Cheshire Daniel (USNA ’24), who as commander of DESRON (Destroyer Squadron) 45 was awarded the Navy Cross for action at Okinawa in May and June 1945.  Daniel was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1950 and during the Korean War, he was attached to the United Nations Command and named by General Mark Wayne Clark as head of the Allied Liaison Group, which negotiated with the Chinese and North Koreans for the mutual release of sick and disabled POWs in April 1953.  Daniel appointed three general officers from the Air Force and Army to his team.  RADM Daniel also had a major part in drafting the armistice that ended the war in July 1953.  Truce negotiations were begun at Kaesong on July 10, 1951, where Admiral C. Turner Joy and ROK General Paik Sun Yup faced off in the truce house with North Korea’s General Nam Il and Chinese General Xie Fang.  The intrusion of a Chinese infantry company marching through the conference area on August 4, as well as an alleged U.N. aerial bombing and strafing attack on August 22, made on Kaesong, which was also an active Communist supply base, caused a change of venue for the continuing peace talks.


Panmunjom village, three miles east, became the new “no-man’s land” neutral site to continue the truce parley. “Negotiating while fighting” was a contradiction that applied during the rest of the Korean War. The United States and China jockeyed for improved positions by fighting over insignificant hills and ridges. Capturing a terrain feature from the enemy was considered a coup, which gave each side a better negotiating position. Prisoner of war exchange was the major sticking point of the long-deadlocked peace negotiations. The Communists wanted an “all-for-all” exchange of POWs, while the U.S./U.N. coalition was for an individual exchange, based upon the preference of each POW. Stalin felt that any non-repatriated Communist POWs would become spies for the West. To have an individual exchange would be a U.N. moral victory.  Finally, on July 27, 1953, after 575 truce meetings, a cease-fire armistice was signed at 10 p.m. by both sides at Panmunjom, a delay during which the U.S. lost nearly half of its 33,667 battle deaths. Unforced individual POW repatriation was a substitute for victory.  RADM Daniel personally met the first released sick or disabled American POWs at Panmunjom bridge.   J.C. Daniel was clearly “a sailor’s sailor”, as the style of his below letter confirms. In June 1955 he was named to replace Admiral Arleigh Burke as Commander Destroyer Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and was later commandant of the Sixth Naval District at Charleston, S.C.  He retired in 1960.


This letter was written to a 25-year Navy mustang (sail maker’s mate, a rating that was abolished in 1939) being offered his first ship command, which he took.  He was rightfully proud of this letter and kept it carefully preserved with scores of pages of Navy orders, letters, certificates, and other paper and photos during his 93 years, and after that kept by his children for another 25 years.  Shortly after receiving it, he retyped it himself and framed the copy in a simple wooden frame hung by his desk, yellowing with age as the years passed. Vice Admiral Daniel also lived a long life to 93 years. Enjoy this brief trip in the WABAC Machine that a relic from the bygone Navy makes possible.  They don't write letters (or emails or texts) like this anymore.



JH Norwood write your own ticket sized watermark.jpg

Norwood watermark.jpg

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.”   Mark Twain

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You're absolutely right they don't write letters like that anymore. :D Nowadays, it's "you're going to shore duty" or "you're going to sea"...and that's the hard-and-fast career timing that officers have to abide by (until you get off track...and then they still try to fit you on some semblance of the same career path...). And as far as being offered command or an XO job....hoooboy....it's "you either take command or...bye-bye." 


Pretty wild letter from the days when the Navy was a bit more fast and loose with their detailing policies, for sure... 

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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I thought of you when I did this post, and figured you'd get a kick out of it.   Sorry if I'm remembering wrong, but aren't you a mustang?  During your time in the Navy did you ever hear of anyone getting a communication from BUPERS  saying,  "If you would prefer to stay in your present job, I could cancel the orders of your relief.  Please let me know what your desires are by return mail?"   

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.”   Mark Twain

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