The POW Story
As Best Remembered
One morning about 30 of us from Camp Snow were loaded up in a few trucks and were taken north
of Pobwon-ni for an exercise. They didn’t give us much in the way of details saying only that it was
to be a series of lectures to prepare us for possible capture and imprisonment by the North
Koreans. Sounded better than another afternoon in the motor pool so we all looked forward to the
change of pace.
There was the usual GI talk on the way to our destination until we pulled off to the side of the road
and were told to get out. The area was wooded with the exception of a small clearing where we fell
into formation and were ordered to stand at ease. One of the sergeants started explaining the plan
for the day in more detail. Not 10 seconds into the briefing all hell broke loose.
We were standing with our backs to the woods when all sorts of commotion started behind us.
About 5 very intimidating soldiers wearing brown uniforms with red stars on their caps had rifles
pointing at us. Yelling and screaming, they told us that we were now POW’s and to stand at
They got right in your face and appeared to mean business. Some of the GI’s thought it was rather
humorous and had smiles on their faces. When our captors saw that, they immediately went to the
offenders and put a rifle butt into their gut. Down went a couple of groaning troopers and after that
moment, there were no more smiling faces to be seen. With ongoing screaming and yelling, we
were ordered down onto our knees with our hands clasped behind our heads. I was kneeling on
rocky ground but there wasn’t any sensation of pain. The NK’s had my complete attention. Then the
interrogation began. What’s your name? What unit are you from? Where is it located? A few were
singled out and gone over pretty good, both verbally and physically. That continued for who knows
how long until we were told to get up, form a single line, and follow one of the NK’s. A feeling of
relief came over me because I had made it through the interrogation basically unscathed, at least
We followed a winding path through the woods that had a lot of underbrush, very unusual for the
Korea that I had so far been exposed to. We were told not to talk and to look straight ahead. After
the rough treatment back at the clearing, that’s what we did. They got physical again using the rifle
butts during our forced march, randomly and without any obvious provocation. These guys weren’t
fooling around. On we went, through the woods on the winding trail and for the most part, looking
straight ahead, keeping quiet, and trying not to attract their attention and wrath.
There were some buildings ahead in a clearing and it was there that we were shoved into a
formation, stood at attention, and received more orders – about what, I don’t recall. As a matter of
fact, I don’t remember any more details of my ordeal as a POW. Moreover, I couldn’t tell you how
much time had gone by since the ordeal started back at the clearing, only that by now, the motor
pool didn’t seem like such bad duty.
An undetermined amount of time went by and they, our captors, finally took off their game faces
and told us that the exercise was over. We were moved into one of the buildings that I had seen
earlier and were seated on benches that were arranged stadium style. During the debriefing we
were told that for the most part we had failed in terms of what a POW should and shouldn’t do. Most
of us gave only our name, rank, and serial number back at the clearing and that was good. However,
the glaring failure not to try to escape on the winding trail with only 5 NK’s guarding us remains with
me today. Nobody made an attempt to get away while we were still near friendly forces. It was our
best and maybe only chance to stay alive.
Pfc Dick Huber
1st BN 12th Arty
2nd Inf Div
1965 - 1966