SO, one day five or six years ago, I was at work, minding my own business and the phone rang.
“Mr. Baxter,” said the female voice on the phone. “I have been listening to your radio show, and I have
a story I want to tell.” I want to tell you about my uncle. I was three years old and I remember two
soldiers knocked at my Grandmother’s door. She let them in and before they had left my grandmother
“All I know is my uncle was just a boy out of high school. “ He did not want to be a poor , Kentucky
/Tennessee farmer like his parents. He did not have the resources or desire to attend a unversity, or any
nearby college like Lincoln Memorial. So he joined the military in 1950. And now these two soldiers
were making my Grandmother cry. I never knew what happened to him. Only that he died in Korea. Can
you find out what happened to him for me?”
I had never received such a challenge, and I was intrigued enough to see what I could find out.
I got his Discharge papers and his service history. I researched his Division and his units and this is all I
could find out.
His Division was retreating down a mountain road with Chinese soldiers hot on the trail. There were also
Chinese soldiers in front of them with machine gun nests positioned around curves in the road. The US
trucks were hauling soldiers . When a truck came around a curve, the Chinese would rake the truck
with gun fire. Many of the drivers were just kids themselves, and many panicked and stopped their
trucks, exposing the soldiers in the back to the raking fire. The soldiers in the back of the trucks would
leap out and dive for cover. The Chinese would stop firing and many of the drivers would skedaddle on
down the road, leaving their helpless cargo. Hundreds were captured, and marched in the freezing air,
north to the Yalu River. No real food, and only the clothes on their backs. Upon arrival to the POW
camp they were divided into groups and placed into huts. Fed only sorghum and suet for weeks.
A large number of American and Allied POWs died in captivity. The North Koreans and Red Chinese did
not feed or care for our soldiers. Many starved , or died from dysentery, and pneumonia. A surviving
POW said he knew our Kentucky soldier. He had been one of the soldiers who died near the border , by
the Yalu river , of that same starvation and/or disease, and the freezing weather. Chairman Mao, and
the grandfather of the current leader in North Korea were in charge of this disaster. To this day, the USA
is not allowed to go to the camps and recover the bodies of our soldiers who died there. Our soldier is
buried there with his dog tags in his mouth, waiting to come home to his little border town on the Tn/Ky
Maybe it was best that those two soldiers reported him missing in action. Maybe it was best his Mother
did not know of his plight. Now you know.