JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Wednesday he was open to new alterations in U.S. military activity on the Korean Peninsula if it helped enable diplomats, who are trying to jump-start stalled peace efforts with North Korea.

Esper did not predict whether he might end up "dialing up or dialing down" such activity, as he spoke to a small group of reporters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on his way to South Korea after North Korea threatened to retaliate if the United States goes ahead with scheduled military drills with South Korea.

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KINGSLEY — Twenty-one shots from an honor guard. The haunting sound of a bugler playing Taps. Then, total silence as two more Michigan Army National Guard honor guard members folded the flag draped over U.S. Army Sgt. David Feriend's casket, presenting one to his two sisters.

Those sights and sounds marked the moment Feriend finally came home. He was laid to rest Sunday in Evergreen Cemetery near Kingsley, nearly 69 years after he went missing in battle in the Korean War.

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For Milton Walker and Henry Schafer, the piercing cold and sound of war that surrounded them remains as clear as if it were yesterday. Returning to the country where they had fought after decades, the two American veterans of the Korean War recalled their experience Friday.

"We were surrounded when we were attacked in midnight, and I was hit," Schafer told The Korea Herald in a joint interview in Seoul.

"I was shot four times, on my arms and in the back. The first three bullets hit me and knocked me down. Some guy grabbed me and slipped me down the hill," he recalled.

The war veteran, who lost one arm and a leg, underwent several operations and three amputations. He retired from his service in October 1951.

"I went home, went to school and made a life. I was one of the lucky ones," he said.

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REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

PANMUNJOM/SEOUL, South Korea (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea on Sunday when he met its leader, Kim Jong Un, in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas and agreed to resume stalled nuclear talks.

The meeting, initiated by a spur-of-the-moment tweet by Trump that Kim said took him by surprise, once again displayed the rapport between the two. But they are no closer to narrowing the gap between their positions since they walked away from their summit in February in Vietnam.

The two men shook hands warmly and expressed hopes for peace when they met for the third time in just over a year on the old Cold War frontier that for decades has symbolized the hostility between their countries, which are technically still at war.

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At some point during the tail end of World War II, a creative engineer at North American Aviation looked at the P-51 Mustang and wrote a memo to his boss stating that if one Mustang was amazing, then two Mustangs merged together by steel and rivets would be possibly the greatest thing to fly, ever. With one cockpit devoted to radar and the other to flying, the F-82 Twin Mustang — nicknamed “double trouble” — was born. What they didn't know was that the Twin Mustang was destined to cement it's place in history over the skies of Korea.  

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The most thoughtful thing I’ve read recently about the Trump-Kim talks is by Arthur Waldron, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.

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