James Kenneth Hall
James Kenneth Hall was born in 1932 in North Carolina. After enlisting in the Army in 1948, he was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for basic training and on to Fort Lewis, Washington, for field artillery training. During his service in Korea, his unit provided support after the Incheon Landing and later headed north where he was taken as a prisoner of war (POW) by Chinese soldiers near the Yalu River on November 30, 1950. In the following days, he was held in an abandoned mine and then taken on a march to POW Camp 5 where he was held until August 10, 1953. After his release, he reenlisted for a second deployment to Korea in 1958 and 1959. He wrote a poem to leave a message for the next generation to remember the sacrifices of United States soldiers during the Korean War.
Life as a Prisoner of War
James Hall describes being captured in North Korea by the Chinese and being temporarily placed in a mine. He describes being forced to march all night because the Chinese did not have a place to put prisoners. He shares his testimony of being starved and sleep deprived while in the prisoner of war encampment. He recounts being placed in Compound 39 where prisoners were placed and left to die.
Dreaming of Bologna, Peanut Butter, and Peaches
James Hall describes how he was able to survive nearly starving to death in Camp 5, a Chinese prisoner of war camp. He discusses what he was fed while in the encampment. He recalls that when peace talks to bring about a ceasefire started, he noticed the prisoners were fed rice as a means for them to regain their strength.
Sending a Letter Home
James Hall recounts how the Chinese wanted the prisoners of war to write letters home after the peace talks began in 1951. He explains how the prisoners were told to write about accolades of the Communist way of thinking and to put down the United States government. He recalls how he refused to write the letters and remembers a Chinese nurse helping him write a letter to his mother to let her know he was alive.
James Hall tells the story of being released from POW Camp 5 on August 10, 1953. He recalls being placed on a barge and then a train on his journey south to cross the 38th Parallel. He shares his experience of acclimating back into the possession of the United States government authorities. He recalls having his first meal at Incheon after he was released as a POW.