Saturday, June 11, 2016

Exclusive: U.S. Airman's Confession on Use of Germ Warfare during the Korean War

Lt. Kenneth L. Enoch was a U.S. airman-navigator during the Korean War. Captured by the North Korea-China forces, he was one of a number of U.S. airmen to confess to using germ or bacteriological warfare on North Korean or Chinese forces or civilians during the Korean War. His confession was written out in longhand and dated April 7 or 9, 1952 (I'm not sure from the copy I have.) According to this post online, Kenneth Lloyd Enoch died at age 88, on Nov. 6, 2013, in Cypress, Texas.

In July 1952, China Monthly Review published a contemporaneous article on Enoch's confession, and that of a U.S. pilot, John Quinn, "Captured US Airmen Admit Germ Warfare." In the United States, the news was also reported. See this October 23, 1952 Associated Press article, "2 Fliers 'Forced' into Confession." It is interesting to see the word "forced" placed in quotation marks. I do have a facsimile of Quinn's confession as well, and will publish it in the near future.

I've transcribed the copy I have from the full report, with appendices, of The Int'l Scientific Commission Report on Bacterial Warfare during the Korean War. Enoch's confession occupies pages 493-500. I have tried to reliably and truthfully reproduce his written record, including crossed-out material. A drawing Enoch made, and a small portion of the reproduced confession is included in accompanying photos. I have not tried to correct spelling or punctuation, but I have added extra line breaks to delineate paragraphs, and for the sake for online readability. The paragraph breaks themselves follow Enoch. Any editorial comment by me is placed in square brackets.

I am not here going to give my impressions about this confession, or the others given by U.S. POWs during the Korean War. I have written about the famous confessions of U.S. airmen in relation to germ warfare elsewhere. It is enough to say here that while reference is often made by U.S. historians and journalists about the "brainwashing" of these airmen during their Korean War captivity, the actual documentary material related to their confessions is all but unobtainable.

For the sake of history, and the curiosity of the public, I am making here available Lt. Enoch's confession -- truthful or not -- and plan to make others publicly available as I have the time to do so.

Let the reader and historians decide what is true or false, as regards this controversial episode in the history of U.S. wars.

The Truth About How American Imperialism Launched Germ Warfare

I was at Iwakuni, Japan, during the last two weeks of August, 1951. During the month of August the 3rd Bomb Wing was in the process of moving to Kunsan, Korea, and the last thing to make the move was the ground school which moved on to Kunsan in early September, 1951. During my stay at Kunsan Iwakuni there were about 15 crews which had just come from the Unites States and were attending the ground school. This gound school gave the same kind of classroom subjects as the school at 4400 CCTG. We navigators recieved [sic] lectures and problems in navigations and the B-26 and Korea, so we would understand our jobs better and thus be better equipped to fly in combat.

On 25 August 1951, at 1300 hours, we attended a secret lecture in the ground school navigation classroom. There were as I recall, 10 pilots and 15 navigators present at the lecture. Of the pilots I recall Lt. Broughton, Lt. Schmidt, and Capt. Lema. Among the navigators I remember Lt. Brown, Lt. Hardy, Lt. De Gough, Lt. Zielinski, Lt. Garvin [or Sarvin?], Lt. Larson, and myself. I did not know all the pilotis and navigators, only these I had been with at Langley Field. Our instructor's name was Mr. Wilson, a civilian. There were no other instructors in attendance at this lecture.

Mr. Wilson told us that his lecture was concerning bacteriological warfare. He told us that our side had no plans at that time of using bacteriological warfare, but never-the less we might at some time, and thus the lecture was secret information and we were not to divulge its contents to anyone, are or even talk about it among ourselves.

The main part of Mr. Wilson's lecture was devoted to the weapons of bacteriological weapons warfare. He did not have any examples with him, but he discussed the various methods of scattering germs, either by scattering the germs by themselves or by dropping insects and animals to spread the germs. The contents of Mr. Wilson's lecture is as follows:

The ways of dropping the germs by themselves are: 1) by dropping a bomb full of dust and germs mixed together, which will open in the air and spread the germ-laden dust with the wind; 2) by dropping dust directly from the airplane itself, by means of a spraying device, so that there will be germs in the air wherever the dust is sprayed; 3) or by dropping a container full of germ dust, either a bomb which will open in the water or a paperboard box wish will be opened by the water, into reservoirs and lakes where the people and animals use the water, and where insects will pick up the germs and spread them.

The ways of dropping insects are : 1) by dropping a germ bomb which looks just like an ordinary bomb, but is filled with germ-laden insects, and which will open on contact with the ground to release those insects; 2 by dropping insects in paperboard containers which will break open on contact with the ground, releasing the insects with their germs; 3) or by spreading insects with animals.

The ways of releasing germs by animals are: 1) To release the rats or rabitts rabbits or small game by a parachute container which will release the animals upon contact with the ground, and these anaimals are covered with germ-bearing lice and fleas; 2) or by releasing such animals from a boat behind the enemy shore line.

There are other ways of spreading germs also: 1) By dropping leaflets toilet paper, envelopes, and paper materials which have been covered with germs, 2) by dropping germ-filled soap or clothing; 3) by dropping fountain pens filled with germ-laden ink; 3) or by dropping infected food to the enemy troops.

You can also spread germs by howitzer or mortar shells, but since it is so close to the front it is not safe to do so.

There are many types of germs that can be spread. In addition to may weird and unusual germs, the germs of more well-known diseases, such as typhus, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, bubonic plague, smallpox, malaria, and yellow fever, may be employed. There are many types of insects to carry those germs, the most popular being the louse, flea, fly, and mosquito. The louse can carry typhus, cholera, smallpox, plague, and dysentery, as can the flea and the fly. The mosquito can carry malaria, and yellow fever.

The best way to defend against germ warfare is to be prepared. All possible people should be inoculated against all diseases possible. If insects are dropped, it is advisable to pour kerosene or oil on the containers they are dropped in and set fire to them. If they have already escaped from the containers, it is best to spray DDT over the area, preferable from an airplane. In case germ-laden dust is employed, DDT spray must be used. All exposed food must be disposed of. All exposed clothing and articles must be washed with hot water and strong soap. All water must be boiled. All food eaten must be thoroughly cooked. You must use some protection over your nose and moth to breathe, and you must, when everything else is done, change clothes and take a good bath. All trash and waste exposed to germs must be burned. Screens should be placed on all windows in the summer for insect protection. In all cases, small animals such as rats, should be destroyed so the danger of plague, which they spread with their fleas, will be lessened. If paper objects or other such items are dropped, they should be burned at once.

All weapons of bacteriological warfare are of such a nature that they should, when employed, be dropped from as low an altitude and [illegible word] on an airspeed as possible, to avoid harm to the insects If parachute-type weapons are used any altitude will suffice but it should be sufficiently low, say 1000 feet, so that the parachute will not drift from the target area

When Mr. Wilson had finished his lecture it was 3 o'clock (1500 hours) and he reminded us not to discuss the weapons subject to anyone and took his leave. This was the only such lecture we ever received. On September 1st, 1951, I went to Kunsan.

In October, 1951, and again in December, 1951, a one-hour lecture was given at Kunsan by a Major [two illegible letters]onning [could be "Fronning"] on protection against germ warfare. This lecture he have many times on each occasion, and every person was required to attend one hours lecture. He gave the same lecture in December as in October. The idea, of course, is that due to the rotation plan there are always new troops, and it is also good to keep in mind the contents of his lecture. He told us that it was not unreasonable to expect bacteriological warfare to used against us by the enemy. If they did, germ dust or germ-[illegible crossed out word]laden insectes would be used, and he stressed that we should keep our shot records, or inoculations, current and up-to-date, and also discoursed on the other pertinent data as I have discussed in the second paragraph on page 3 of this paper. [Lt. Enoch is referring to the paragraph above that begins "The best way to defend against germ warfare..."]

On the 1st of January, 1952, we were told by the operations section group briefing officer at our regular briefing to be sure and report all our duds and where they fell. This was a usual procedure and just seemed to be a casual reminder at this time. The reminder was given to all the crews it [?] the briefing by Capt. Farey, one group briefing officir [sic], Dr. [illegible] a head cold I did not [three illegible words] night, but was replaced by another navigator.

My next scheduled flight was on the night of 6 January, 1952. We were scheduled to fly on Green 8 route (between Pyongyang and Sarinon [?]), and our take-off was scheduled for 0300. The crew was Capt. Amos, pilot, myself, navigator, and Sgt. Tracy, gunner. As ususal Capt. Amos and I reported to the group briefing room and group operations office at 0200 an hour before take-off. There we always checked for the latest weather and information on the mission to be flown. On this night we were informed by the officer on duty, a captain I am not familiar with, that we were to fly to the town of Hwangjn and drop our outboard wing bombs(of which there were two) and then to drop the rest of our load as quickly as possible and come directly back to Kunsan. He told us to drop at Hwangjn at 500 feet of altitude and 200 miles per hour maximum airspeed. We called his attention to the low altitude, as were to carry 10 - 500 pound bombs according to briefing, but he told us that this was top secret and these were germ bombs, and to tell no one whatsoever about our mission. He told us that the wing bombs were already loaded and checked for us, and not to bother them, and when we returned to report them as "duds". We went over to squadron operations and met our gunner, who did not report to group, and , as far as I know, did not know of our special mission. Wehn we got out to the plane a guard was standing there from armament section. He told us the wing bombs were already checked, which we already knew. I checked the bombs in the bomb bay, 6 of them, and they were 6 regular 500-pound bombs. We took off at 0300 and flew to Hwangjn dropping our two germ bombs just outside the west edge of town. There were no explosions or any unusual things to be seen. Then we continued for two minutes to the north and dropped our eight live bombs on the highway 5 miles north of Hwangjn, and went directly back to Kunsan. We took off at 0300, our bombs were dropped at 0400, and we landed at Kunsan at 0500. This was the first time I ever heard of anyone dropping germ bombs, and we kept it a secret. These germ bombs looked exactly like a regular 500-pound bomb to me. In the day time they may have some distinguishing characteristics, but it was dark when I saw them. I did not load these bombs or see them loaded but there was no special equipment on the wings, so they are loaded in the same way as ordinary bombs.

When we reported to group intelligence for debriefing after this mission we reported two bombs [inserted] (as a matter of fact, 150 pounds)[close insertion - see drawing of bomb below, which indicated weight as 150 pounds] 500 pounds dropped at Hwangjn and reported them as "duds", and reported where we dropped our eight good bombs. The bombs are evidently reported as "duds" to keep too many people from knowing the purpose of the mission, but higher headquarters can check the reports and know where the germs were dropped.

On the 10th of January, whether by accident or design I do not know, I was again scheduled for the same mission with Amos and Tracy. This time Amos and I reported to group operations, and we were told that all 4 of our wing bombs were to be germ bombs. This time our target was to be the town of Chunghwa, on Green 8, and we were then to get rid of the rest of our bombs as quickly as possible and return to base. We were still to keep our operation a secret and report our germ bombs as "duds". Our maximum airspeed was to be 200 miles per hour and our altitude 500 feet for the germ bombs. Once again armament was to have the wing bombs checked for us. We picked up Tracy at squadron operations and went out to the plane. Once again the wing bombs looked like regular bombs. An armament man told me that we were not to bother the wing bombs, as they were all set to go.

I checked the regular bombs in the bomb bay. At 0300 we took off and flew directly to Chunghwa, dropping our 4 germ bombs at 0410 hours, at an altitude of 50 - feet and an airspeed of 190 miles per hour, on the western edge of Chunghwa. We proceeded south and dropped our regular bombs on the highway north of Hwangjn and returned to Kunsan base, landing at 0515.

When we reported for debriefing we reported where we had dropped our 6 good bombs, and reported 4 "duds" at Chunghwa for the same reason as before, for secrecy.

Above is a drawing of the type of germ bombs which we used.

As I see it, the germ bombs come from a medical supply source, such as the same type which manufactures the vaccine used to combat disease, and I believe this source is in Japan, either on Honshua or Kyushu Island.

If the type of germ bomb which we dropped is used, it will open on contact with the ground, exposing the germs and insects to the open air. If it is cold outside, the insects will be dormant and sluggish, but the sun will cause them, by its heat to become active.

The leaflets are dropped in North Korea by B-29s. These leaflets are dropped in boxes which open in the air scattering the leaflets over a wide area These leaflets can be used in bacteriological warfare.

When the germ bombs are dropped, they are released by the pilot. The navigator takes notes on when and where they are dropped, and how many germ bombs. The bombs are released by pushing a button, which releases the bombs by electricity.

After the mission when the crew reports to group intelligence for debriefing, the whole crew attends the debriefing, and the report is given by the pilot and navigator. It is an informal report, and the whole crew sits around a table and give [sic] their report to an enlisted man from the intelligence section, who takes the report and puts it on paper, which he turns in to his superior. This is why the germ bombs are reported as "duds", to keep unauthorized personnel in intelligence and on the crew from knowing the secret of the mission.

To the best of my knowledge, B-26 aircraft are the only ones dropping the regular germ bomb, which looks like a regular bomb. However, the B-26 is unsuitable for dropping the other types of weapons. The leaflets are dropped by B-29's and cargo type, C-47 and C-46 aircraft, but mainly by B-29's. The cargo type aircraft are the best suited for dropping all other types of germ weapons, such as cardboard boxes, parachute containers, and articles of clothing, food, soap, and paper and fountain pens, but the B-29 can be used for these weapons also.

As to when we first started to use germ bombs, it was about the first of the year, around January 1952, I should say, since that is when we were all reminded to look for "dud" bombs. It is probable that other outfits, such as the 452nd Wing, started to use germ warfare at the same time.

The decision to use germ bombs, of course, is top secret, but due to the serious nature of this decision it undoubtedly rests with a very high command, probably the Far East headquarters in Tokyo.

Kenneth L. Enoch
9 [or 7?] April 1952


Nell said...

Thank you for all your work on this issue. Last year I watched the video of airmen talking about the germ bombs via a pointer from you, and this statement gives me the same impression: there's just too much plausible, concrete detail for this to be manufactured.

Valtin said...

Thanks, Nell! I agree that the charges are plausible. I remember that video. Titled "Oppose Bacteriological Warfare!", this joint North Korean/Chinese documentary is over an hour long, and does contain video of some of the POW airmen telling their stories to members of the Needham Commission. The link is at

While the testimony can seem rehearsed, the emotional revulsion felt about dropping germ bombs and escalating the war that way seems genuine.

My point has always been: why hasn't this information been available? The YouTube video is a positive step forward, as was the posting by Google Books of the proceedings of the Khabarovsk War Crimes trial of the Unit 731 criminals. But, for instance, they have access to the Needham report (though I'm not sure the version with all the appendices, which includes some of the confessions), but told me they won't or can't post it. They don't say exactly why. I can't believe it's copyright, but who knows?

The airmen's confessions are either false, in which case they should be studied as examples of how false confessions are formed or created, or they are true, in which case they should be published for documentation. In either case, really, they are part of history and should be studied. The only work on them done by psychologists was classified, or released in a format that did not allow actual reference to the matter of the confessions. The airmen themselves were threatened with courts martial if they did not recant their confessions when they returned home. That much, at least, is an established fact.

Valtin said...

Re charges that Chinese or North Korean "brainwashing" techniques were used to coerce the flyers' confessions of germ warfare, as a typical recent example see "Interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo 'was based on Chinese Communist techniques'", a Daily Mail article dated 7/2/08, URL:

Valtin said...

On further reflection, that Daily Mail article appears to have been inspired by Scott Shane's NYT piece, also dated 7/2/08, "China Inspired Interrogations at Guantánamo", URL:

John said...

Credibility is weakened by lack of epidemics in the target areas.

Valtin said...

The ISC was not unaware of the situation you describe, though it is not true there were no epidemics. For instance, in the Exec Summary of the report we read, "after a delivery of flP-as to the neighbourhood of An-Ju on the 18th Feb., fleas which were shown bacteriologically to contain Pasteurella pestis, a plague epidemic broke out at Bal-Nam-Ri in. that district on the 25th. Out of a population of 600 in the village, 50 went down with plague and 36 died (App. G)." There was also an epidemic of encephalitis in two northern cities, Shenyang and Anyang. The Commission noted the latter was very suspicious, but could not absolutely link it to US BW attack (an example of their scrupulous honesty, by the way).

I would add that an outbreak of inhalation anthrax in a part of the world where it essentially never took place may deserve the term epidemic.

But the main reasons given for the poor showing of the BW campaign in terms of mass deaths is that 1) this was an experimental program, and the scale was not as large as a full-scale campaign would be. 2) the Chinese and North Koreans undertook a massive hygiene and anti-disease campaign at this time, described by then Needham Commission at the time, and subsequently by Western historians. The latter determined that whether the BW campaign really took place, it was evident the governments thought there was such an attack going on. It was also deemed very effective and had the active participation of masses of individiduals who believed they were protecting their homeland.

I'd add that it was the determination of US authorities themselves that BW did not have the kinds of results they wished, at least from their studies, which of course from the official sources had nothing to do with what they maintained was a false charge of BW warfare.

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