Air Force Captain
Zach Dean, who was
shot down in Korea,
embraces his wife at
airbase in Japan, following his repatriation in the final
exchange of sick
and wounded war prisoners at Panmunjom.
While her husband was
held prisoner, Mrs.
Dean did Red Cross
work in Tokyo.
wide: ss-EERi.n photo
front: "How did the colored man come out in comparison
with the whites?"
"Fine," he replied.
Others told me the same. I did some investigating on
my own, and discovered that the Beds had dismally failed
in their attempts to squeeze racist propaganda out of their
colored captives. Talking to repatriated Negroes, I found
that they had seen through the enemy right from the
start; they could detect racist cheese by its smell, no
matter how- it was camouflaged.
A quality that stood them in great stead is exemplified
in Negro songs. They are generally without bitterness,
without hate. Bitterness and hate are negative reactions,
anel sour a man. In the long pull, the p.o.w.'s primary
objective was to protect his own facilities, to keep hope up.
When this was lost. SO was the mind. The Be-els kept chiseling away at his hope. Therefore, the person to whom hope
(optimism) i.s second nature, is the toughest nut for
Commies to crack.
5. Ill un Marlatt. Army Captain Herbert E. Marlatt
was a victim of Communist brutality. The Beds had often
kicked him ancl beaten him with clubs, in irritation over
his failure to break. On his back, the jellied flesh had
developed into a tumor. I visited him in the military hospital at Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Here is part of his story.
He had been, for long weeks, in thc Death March under
North Korea's "Tiger." Any man who faltered xx as battered
over the skull and shoved or kicked off the road, to become
one more corpse among hundreds. Herb saxx- men summarily executed for the crime of being sick or wounded.
Men marched shoeless, in cotton clothes. All down the
line-, limbs were freezing and gangrene spreading unchecked.
Why should anyone go on xvith it? xxas the state of mind
of the remnant who dragged into the first permanent
camp. Then spoke up John J. Dunn, who had served in
the Burma jungle xvith Merrill's Marauders. His voice was
angry — there was no despair in him; he was all rage.
"Those so-and-so ancl so-and-so's!" he cried. "They're
completely evil!" (Those were not his exact words. ) "They
will never listen to any reason except force! Their kind of
\ iciousness has to be wiped out on a battlefield. It won't
ever be solved at a conference table; it can only be cut
out. like a cancer!
"Men, that's why we're here! When that day comes, and
we meet communism on the battlefield, our country will
need people who have seen its face and know what it is.
That's why we have to survive, so we can go home ancl let
our people know. Of course that's why we're here! We
must survive — that's our job now!"
When the men heard that, Herb told me, it was as if
they had been given a shot in the arm. They had a purpose; there was meaning to their suffering. Whereas the
moment before they had hoped for death, feeling the
hopelessness of their plight, now they knew they had to
survive — a reason that was incalculably more powerful
than the pains they were suffering.
The men were now certain that they were in on the
ground floor of what was actually a phase of World
War III. From that time on, Dunn kept stressing that the
men must regard their captivity as a tremendously important opportunity to understand and interpret the Chinese
Communist mind, and to find the most effective ways of
reacting to the Reds and their environment.
"We can succeed in our job," he kept saying, "only if we
get out of here alive."
Instead of being discouraged by the enemy's pressures
and being caught off balance, the prisoners met each blow
with eagerness. They discounted the Red propaganda-
Herb was positive that those in his regiment who survived
did so because of Dunn's inspiration.
6. Zach Dean. Captain Zach W. Dean of the U. S. Air
Force was an oil-field engineer from Oklahoma, with deep-
set eyes. When I asked how long he had been a prisoner,
he said: "Two years and four days." I almost expected him
him to add the hours anel minutes.
"The Beds brought you to the point of death and then
revived you," Zach said. "Then again they brought you to
death's door, and when you were about to enter, they
pulled you back. After the Reds did this a few times, you
were thankful to them for saving your life."
Dean frequently referred to the way the Communists
seemed to know everything that took place in the camps-
"We could keep nothing from them!" he exclaimed. Th*5
illusion of knowing everything was one of communisms
most powerful weapons. In some p.o.w. camps the Reds
made it more than an illusion — they did find out everything. A few of the weaklings made it possible.
"You couldn't trust a single person," Zach said. "The
way the Beds got hold of almost every scrap of inform*'
tion was eerie."
Yet thex- didn't know everything. "A small group <"
Masons remained intact during their captivity," he told
me. "The Reds never found out. The mere knowledge 0*8*
they were able to keep this group in existence was a tremendous boost to morale. These men, strengthened by this
proof that the Reds were not supermen, maintained :1
good record against crack-ups."
7. Rorert Wilkins. Robert Wilkins was given the
works, yet came out intact in body anel soul. He was a
master technical sergeant, a man whose mind was filled
with details the Heels wanted. He came from Detroit, •
city the Commies detested because its workers owned
their homes ancl drove their own cars, making them "cap1'
talists," ancl turning the conventional Heel language of class
war into utter nonsense.
Hob helped ferry the- first American warplanes to Indochina. Soon he was flying into Korea, sometimes on f"1'1'
or five missions daily, in B-26 light bombers. These xxe-ic
Facts Forum News, December. 1956
I- XI is