Monday, June 2, 2014

Charles Robert Jenkins.

This is coolbert:

You get ideas for blog entries from the strangest places. Thanks to the special segment of Globe Trekker for the tip.

The strange case of Sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins.

American military deserter who fled to North Korea during the Vietnam War. Was a resident of North Korea for forty years before repatriating with his Japanese wife [the wife abducted by the North Koreans and also having to spend many years of exile in North Korea].

Charles now a minor celebrity in Japan, a tourist attraction in his own right.

"Hope and Love in Hell: Former North Korean Captive Charles Jenkins Speaks"

"In 1965, U.S. Army Sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins deserted his post in South Korea and allegedly sought refuge in the communist North. He spent nearly four decades inside the 'worker’s paradise'  . . . In July of 2004, North Korea finally let Jenkins leave. He turned himself in to the U.S. Army in Japan, was given a court martial and was sentenced to 30 days in jail." 

"After his release, he relocated to Sado Island, off the coast of Niigata Prefecture, where he spends his days with his wife and family, working and remembering."

"The gift shop of the Sado Island Legend Museum was busy and noisy that summer afternoon. Japanese tourists, mostly retired men and women can’t wait to walk around the museum’s gift shop to take a glance at one man. He is in the corner, a tired old American, who looks like he has been working in the fields most of his life, not a gift shop. The man is quietly tending to his sole duty, which is to mechanically fill the local sweet biscuit boxes, despite the noisy crowd of people calling him from all sides, 'Jenkins-san!' Some of the tourists solicit him from time to time for a souvenir photo"

Jenkins never has fully [?] 100 % explained his defection to North Korea.

It seems clear to me.

The man was a sergeant [E-5], an infantryman stationed in South Korea and had received orders for Vietnam. The man just got cold feet and decided to desert and defect. And probably regrets his decision for all those many decades.

That punishment for Jenkins upon his repatriation very lenient too? Thirty days confinement and then given a dishonorable discharge!

Deserter/defector/tourist attraction. Who would have thought it? Live well and prosper.


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