Asfaw Teklemariam Habteyes
Asfaw Teklemariam Habteyes was born in Ethiopia on February 21, 1941 according to the Ethiopian calendar (1934 in the Western calendar). His father served in the armed forces fighting the Italian occupation which served as inspiration for him to join the army in 1952. Asfaw Habteyes served in the 4th Kagnew Battalion that was attached to the US 7th Division in Chuncheon. During his service starting in 1953, Asfaw Habteyes served in the infantry as a corporal primarily engaged in security operations as fighting had ceased. He describes his joy at the reception he and his fellow soldiers received upon their return. Asfaw Habteyes serves on the board of Ethiopia’s Korean War Veteran’s association and in 1999 returned to visit Korea. He wishes that the Koreas would unite and believes that Ethiopian schools should teach more about his country’s experience in the war.
Inspiration for Serving
Asfaw Habteyes describes his three motivations for serving in the armed forces. Number one, he wished to serve as his father had. He was also very impressed by the returning Korean veterans and the reception they received. Lastly, he felt for the plight of Koreans as he grew up knowing what it was like to live under occupation.
Importance of the Korean War
Asfaw Habteyes describes his belief about the importance of the war. He believes that all war is a mistake and the war taught nations that they need to seek friendship and that the Koreas need to come together.
Korean War History in Schools
Asfaw Habteyes explains why the history of the war is not taught in schools. Ethiopia had a communist government for a time that forbid its teaching. He feels it should be taught now with the help of Korea.