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Over the past few weeks, the United States’ relationship with North Korea has grown increasingly tense.
As North Korea’s aggression towards South Korea has escalated, world leaders have feared a broader conflict.
Three members of the Campbell County Honor Guard—Noah Asher, Poe Bostic and Bob Hearne—served in the Korean War. Having fought there decades ago, they share a unique perspective on the current situation.
“(We were) all there about the same time,” Asher said.
Asher served in Korea with the Army. Hearne served with Marines as a Navy Corpsman for a year until a landmine wounded him.
Bostic was a Marine and was involved in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.
“I’m the only one in Campbell County that made that battle,” Bostic said.
During the Battle, there was five feet of snow and ice, he said.
“It was so cold the rifles wouldn’t even fire,” Asher said.
They mostly attributed the problems to Dear Leader Kim Jong-un’s leadership and the people’s lack of freedom.
“The guy in Korea (Kim Jong-un); he’s about insane,” Hearne said. “I just don’t trust him at all.”
Bostic said Kim is inexperienced.
“The president of North Korea is a 30-year-old boy who really doesn’t know anything,” Bostic said. “What would he know about war?”
While the leaders have high military aspirations, the people aren’t adequately provided for, Bostic and Asher said.
“What they (North Korea) really been (wanting) is to take over the world and be a world leader,” Bostic said.
However, the people have been starving in Korea since the 1950s, Bostic said. The people who grow the crops don’t get to eat them.
“It’s hard to feed a million man army,” Bostic said.
Asher referenced a conversation he had with retired Gen. Carl Stiner, local hero and military icon.
“He (Stiner) told me that the people in North Korea are starving to death,” Asher said. “The farmers are farming, and they aren’t allowed to eat nothing they made.”
Bostic believes the people of North Korea desire freedom.
“These people want exactly what we got here,” Bostic said. “But the ones in charge—(the North Korean government)—don’t want that to happen. All they want is war materials.”
Bostic compared the situation to that of slaves who used the Underground Railroad in the 19th century United States.
“It’s the same situation now,” Bostic said. “They’re trying to escape. They don’t have no freedom.”
Asher doesn’t believe the escalations will lead to war. Nor does he hope for it.
“I don’t want to see a war like we seen before,” Asher said.