Korean War

A Trip to the JSA

View of NK at JSA

It’s one of the saddest and most intimidating and dangerous places on earth. The Joint Security Area (JSA), or “Truce Village” as it’s frequently referred to, is a complex of small buildings that literally sits on the border of North and South Korea. Five of the buildings, collectively called “Conference Row,” actually straddle the line…

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Physically and Emotionally Frozen

Battle of Chosin- The American Experience documentary cover

Sixty-seven years ago, on November 27, 1950, one of the most monumental battles in US history began in the desolate, unforgiving mountains of North Korea. What occurred over the next two weeks was nothing short of a terrifying, grisly, and frozen nightmare. Chosin, as the savage fight between US and Chinese forces is now called,…

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He Never Forgot His Captain

Capt. Leonard LaRue, 1950

On December 14, 2017, I’ll have the privilege of joining J. Robert “Bob” Lunney at a lecture about the Heungnam Evacuation being held at The Korea Society in New York City. It’ll be a memorable event, one that I’ve been looking forward to for months. During two and a half years of researching and writing…

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Remembering Chosin

invitation from MPVA

It’s a pivotal event of the 20th century. An experience so monumental that it has come to represent, even encapsulate, the ongoing struggle between the forces of oppression, tyranny, and authoritarianism and those who believe in freedom, justice, and democracy. The Chosin Campaign, correctly called “Changjin” in Korea, was a defining moment in history. The two-week…

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The Domino Effect

Xi Jinping

As joint ROK/US military drills begin off the coast of Korea and Kim Jong-un revives his threats against Guam, people around the world are understandably concerned. No one knows what will happen next. With Rex Tillerson saying America’s diplomatic efforts will continue “until the first bomb drops,” a retired US Army general predicting America will…

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For the love of SPAM

Spam gift packages at a local market

Today is the second most important holiday in Korea. It’s called Chuseok (pronounced chew-suk), and it’s the equivalent of Thanksgiving Day in American. We’re celebrating our third Chuseok in Korea, and we love it. Good food, time with family and friends, crisp fall air, and no work. What’s not to like? And then there’s Spam. As a…

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The High Cost of Freedom

Civilians fleeing in Seoul, 1950

Riding the metro through Seoul last Thursday, I crossed the Han River and was treated to a spectacular view of the city. A seemingly endless array of high-rise offices, apartments, department stores, and eclectic smaller buildings – mom and pop restaurants, local coffee shops, schools, churches, and convenience stores – stretched for miles. I was…

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A Famous Landing and an Infamous Missile Launch

 Yesterday, the 67th anniversary of the Inchon Landing, was a particularly memorable Friday.    For South Koreans, the commemoration of one of the boldest, most successful amphibious operations in military history began with a typical early-morning commute and “Americano” – the coffee drink of choice for millions of Koreans. But, as has been the case all…

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