On April 20, 1953, Operation little Switch marked the primary undefeated efforts toward ending hostilities in Korea and ultimately set in motion the Korean War peace. 9 days earlier at Panmunjom, talks between Commander in Chief, General Mark W. Clark, Premier Kim Il Sung, and Chinese General Peng Dehuai had crystal rectifier to an agreement on the commencement of troop exchanges. The “switch” of sick and wounded prisoners of war from each side of the conflict began April 20th, and continued for thirteen days. The 801st Military Air Evacuation Squadron appointed to Tachikawa base of operations, Japan supported the return of American and allied prisoners of war.
Onboard a C-124 flight to Tachikawa, Japan, Captain Lillian Kinkela-Keil a flight nurse, attended a number of the American prisoners of war from North Korea to Japan. Keil, one amongst the foremost embellished girls in American military history, logged one hundred seventy-five air evacuation missions in Korea and over 425 combat missions. according to Keil, each patient was distinctive and unforgettable. “I had to form every patient feel [as though] he was the sole one on the plane I was caring for,” Keil aforesaid. “This created them feel very important and that they treasured that.”
During the course of the operation, north Korea repatriated over 684 United Nations troops from Australia, Britain, Canada, Columbia, Greece, Germany, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and also the united states. The returned came back 1,030 prisoners from China and 5,194 from North Korea. beginning on August 5 and continued over the course of 5 months, each side released their remaining prisoners of war. On July 27, 1953, hostilities in Korea ceased with the linguistic communication of the peace, however, the nations of North Korea and South Korea formally remain “at war.”