Skip to comments."You are about to die a horrible death"
Posted on 02/08/2003 12:53:52 PM PST by pabianice
"I got marching the next 16 days after that. During that march all the meat had worn off my feet, all the skin had dropped off, nothing but the bones showing. After arriving at Kanggye, they put us up in mud huts. There we remained until early January 1951. Then they moved us in oxcarts about 10 miles south of Kanggye, until April 25..."
(Long buried in the bowels of the bureaucracy, the little-known report produced by the 1953 Potter hearings pertaining to Communist atrocities in Korea deserves to see light. Fortunately, its key findings were revealed and preserved in VFWmagazine. Here is a recap presented by then-Pennsylvania Rep. James E. Van Zandt.)
(Senate Report 848, 83rd Congress, 2nd session, Jan. 11, 1954.)
Sgt. Berry F. Rhoden was handed a card before being shot in the back. The legend on the card said: You are about to die the most horrible kind of death. Rhoden barely survived, but many Americans did not make it through the North Korean atrocity mill.
The Communist enemy committed a series of war crimes against American and U.N. personnel which constituted one of the most heinous and barbaric epochs in recorded history, so concluded the Potter report.
Sen. Charles E. Potter, of Michigan, who lost both legs in WWII, made a determined and persistent inquiry into Communist atrocities. More than 200 pages of testimony were recorded during his hearings in December 1953.
On Jan. 11, 1954, came the formal report, documenting murder, starvation, torture, experimental medical operations and many other crimes against humanity...
According to Potters report, Approximately two-thirds of all American prisoners of war in Korea died due to war crimes. The Potter report also documented 35,459 war crimes against civilian victims in Korea, plus a total of 20,785 war crimes against military personnel in all the United Nations forces combined, including U.S. troops...
Hill 303 & Sunchon Tunnel One case in Korea illustrates the Communist technique of massacre. On Aug. 14-16, 1950, 45 Americans were captured by North Koreans on Hill 303.
On the fourth day all of the prisoners were led to a ravine and without warning, while their hands were tied, they were shot in cold blood. Only five survived, recorded the committee.
The Sunchon tunnel massacre was even more brutal. On Oct. 30, 1950, 180 American POWs who had survived the Seoul-Pyongyang death march and had been without food for four or five days were killed in this way:
Late in the afternoon, the prisoners were taken from the railroad cars in alternate groups of approximately 40 to nearby ravines, ostensibly to receive their first food in several days, and they were ruthlessly shot by North Korean soldiers using Russian burp guns. One hundred and thirty-eight U.S. soldiers lost their lives in these atrocities.
Pfc. John E. Martin of Ferndale, Mich., attached to the 29th Regimental Combat Team, was one of the survivors of the Sunchon tunnel massacre. He described the entire Communist operation to the Potter committee. He related that prisoners were ordered to crouch, as against an air attack.
So when we all ducked down, some more of them came up over a little rice paddie and just opened up, he said.
After the volley, a member of the firing squad went into the ditch to check, Martin told the committee.
They went down and kicked somebody, and if he groaned they shot him again or bayoneted him, and then kicked somebody else.
Taejon & Muju Massacres
Other atrocities documented in this report include the Taejon massacre of 60 Americans on Sept. 27, 1950.
In Taejon, civilians numbering 7,000 were slaughtered in the prison yard by gunfire between Sept. 23-27. Only one American soldier survived this massacre. He was Sgt. Carey Weinel, of Kansas City, Mo., attached to the 23rd Inf. Regt., 2nd Div. He told the story to the Potter committee:
They hit me three times, aiming at my head. I have a scar on my neck, another on my collar bone and another hit my hand. After they thought everybody was dead, they started burying us.
I came close to getting panicky but somehow or other I figured as long as I had some breath there was hope.
Sen. Potter: In other words, you were buried alive?
Sgt. Weinel: That is right, sir.
How long were you buried alive?
Sgt. Weinel: That is hard to say, sir; as I say, I was shot around 5 a.m. and I stayed in the ditch until it was dark that evening.
In another case, the bodies of five American airmen were discovered in the Muju area late in December 1950. Their flesh had been punctured in as many as 20 different areas with sharpened, bamboo spears. Under such torture, no one perforation was sufficient to cause death by itself.
Lt. Col. James T. Rogers of Greenwood, S.C., a medical officer attached to the First Corps, told of his post-mortem examination after the bodies had been found by a South Korean patrol.
By the nature of the wounds, I am of the opinion that the instrument of torture had been previously heated. After torturing them with the superficial wounds, they bayoneted them with the same instruments and these fellows were left to bleed to death.
Ordeal of Sgt. Treffery
The detailed picture presented by Sgt. Wendell Treffery of Terryville, Conn., fairly presents the whole pattern of Communist atrocities. Treffery was an Army hospital corpsman attached to the 1st Marines at Inchon, Sept. 18, 1950.
Captured by Chinese forces while enroute to the Chosin Reservoir, American prisoners were marched up the mountain to the Communist prison camp, comprising three unheated sheds. Treffery related to Potter:
They took our heavy clothing, and shoes, and left us with only a pair of fatigues. It was about 20 below zero we found out, when we backtracked on Dec. 1 to the point of capture, that our wounded had not been returned to the American lines, as promised in the surrender agreement.
Our wounded were still lying there, all frozen we marched two days. The first night we got some hay and slept in the hay, cuddling together to keep warm. The second night we slept in pigpens. That night I froze my feet.
I got marching the next 16 days after that. During that march all the meat had worn off my feet, all the skin had dropped off, nothing but the bones showing. After arriving at Kanggye, they put us up in mud huts. There we remained until early January 1951. Then they moved us in oxcarts about 10 miles south of Kanggye, until April 25.
A Chinese nurse came around to care for the wounded the first three days. She had a bag at her side stuffed full of newspapers, and a big pair of shears like we cut hedges with around the house. She said, Whats wrong with you? I stuck my feet out from under the blankets and showed her the raw bones of my feet. She told me to lay down on my back, so I slid down. She started to clip off my toes. She missed the joint about a 16th of an inch, and hit the solid bone. She crunched them off, took them all off except the two big toes. Then she took that dirty newspaper and wrapped it over the blood and pus and tied it on with a piece of string. Then she went out. I said to the other fellows: How do you like that? I tore my comforter open and ripped out some cotton. Then I ripped up a pair of fatigues and made bandages over the cotton. I took care of my feet all winter long. The other three men who were with me died. By April 25, I was the only one alive in our group...
Q. Sergeant, could you tell us how many American POWs died in Camp 1?
A. Id say about 800 total.
Q. That would be in what period of time?
A. May 1951, sir, until August 1951...
But the Communists were able to supply reading matter for the American POW camps. Treffery testified that the Communist Daily Worker arrived regularly from New York; also the Daily Worker from San Francisco and from London.
At Seoul, prisoners were subjected to cruel and unusual punishments, often publicly humiliated before the civilian population, Treffery continued...
Torture of Pvt. Kinard
Pvt. Charles E. Kinard of Quincy, Fla., told of being captured, after being wounded about July 10, 1950, in the Battle of Seoul. After being stripped of his watch, money, equipment and clothing, he was systematically tortured.
I was taken out to the hills and they gave me some more treatment. First they put rocks in my shoes, and then they would chase me around until I would fall. I had lost quite a bit of blood. When I would come to, they would give me the lighted cigarettes to my feet, legs and other places.
Then giving me all this, they decided to try something new. They took the C-ration can opener which was hanging on my dog tag around my neck and inserted it into the wound in my left shoulder and gave it a half-twist. And one of them said ptomaine poison! I dont know where he heard the words.
After he inserted this into my wound, I took it out. He slapped me and hit me on my shoulder, on the wound, with the butt of his rifle, and put the can opener back in there. I decided it would be best if I left it there.
When the exhibition was over, Kinard grasped the can opener with his right hand and removed it from the wound. He never received any medical attention, beyond his own improvised ministrations to the battle wound...
The American press and historians today have conveniently ignored Communist war crimes during the Korean War. Only one book comprehensively chronicles their sordid record of brutality on that war-ravaged peninsula.
Korean Atrocity!Forgotten War Crimes, 1950-1953, written by Philip D. Chinnery and published by Naval Institute Press in 2000, covers major atrocities in detail. The plight of POWs and post-war accounting efforts, as well as four appendices on POW statistics and declassified reports, rounds out the well-documented book.
Brutal Death (left): Pfc. James Freed looks over the bodies of American GIs found slain and half buried in a prison yard in Taejon...
(Excerpt) Read more at vfw.org ...
Then when I wanted my dues to go to a charity (AER) they said no and put my membership in an inactive status.
So as long as the VFW says anything I will have to doubt it.
Which is why I am even more sickened that the South Koreans want to turn against us and embrace the North. Madness!
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