The Politics of Reconstruction

Wartime street scene, PM 2003.17.3137
Soldiers playing baseball, PM 2003.17.1185
Soldier on bridge, PM 2003.17.3141
Commissary, PM 2003.17.440
Elliot Taylor and children, PM 2003.17.182
Korean soldier, PM 2003.17.837
Quonset huts—Pusan Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program, PM 2003.17.212
"Reconstruction through Discipline, Reunification through Discipline", PM 2003.17.3049
General Whitcomb with President Ree and others, PM 2003.17.2984

Charged with Pusan’s reconstruction, Brigadier General Whitcomb worked with the administration of South Korean President Syngman Rhee (the two men are pictured together under the umbrella) and ran the local Armed Forces Assistance to Korea Program (AFAK). AFAK was one of a number of civic action programs intended to foster good relations with the Korean population and to improve the image of the U.S. military.

Underwritten by the U.S. government, AFAK used American troops to oversee and participate in South Korean rehabilitation, providing medical services, land reclamation assistance, clothing distribution, and technical advice, as well as the construction of schools, churches, and roads. Service members also donated personal time and money toward these efforts, with units often adopting special projects such as orphanages. With the threat of communist infiltration still looming large for the U.S., AFAK’s activities were well publicized.