Hoping, praying that our leaders can deal with clever N. Koreans
I agree with the warning “Be wary of North Korea, Its simply can’t be trusted” recently submitted by a vet to this column.
I also was stationed in Korea in 1953 with a Combat Engineer Battalion charged with maintaining the road through the neutral corridor to the peace talk site at Panmunjom (38th parallel) located between the front lines in ‘no man’s land.’ Our battalion maintained the four barrage balloons marking the neutral area where the peace negotiations were ongoing in a little hut while the war raged on just outside the area.
Our unit built the wood landing pads for evac choppers to carry the more seriously wounded to hospital ships at Inchon Harbor. This all happened prior to the cease fire on a preliminary prisoner exchange called Operation ‘Little Switch.’
As Battalion S-2 section sergeant, I witnessed the exchange of U.S. and Allied prisoners being trucked in from the Communist side of the front. All looked malnourished and dazed. Not so with the North Korean and Chinese prisoners we were returning. Their morale was high and they were singing patriotic war songs, showing a disciplined organization even in captivity.
The only part that backfired for these prisoners was when they discarded their G.I. fatigues a half mile back up the road. By the time they passed a bleacher holding the world’s correspondents witnessing this spectacle, it only proved how well they were taken care of, displaying healthy bodies dressed in clean white T’s and shorts.
Let us not forget that China had a full standing army in the field alongside the North Koreans.
I hope and pray our leadership is up to the task for the upcoming meeting with the clever North Korean dictator, grandson of the dictator when I was there.
Roy M. Graham