fotw: troops

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My father Jung Hwan Park in the Vietnam War, c. 1964.

He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the R.O.K. Army.  He taught hand-to-hand combat to both Korean and American soldiers, including the U.S. Navy Seals.

In 1968, he was captured during the Tet Offensive and forced to walk barefoot, blindfolded, and hands tied to a prison, where he was a POW.  My dad was forced to eat rats and fight other prisoners to survive, and he went blind several times due to poor nutrition.  After a failed escape attempt, he was tortured with bamboo shoots underneath his fingernails and a few of his fingers were broken.  Before execution, he escaped alone (by killing a few guards with his bare hands) and was the only known soldier who escaped his encampment.  He was then captured in Cambodia and declared a Korean spy, and for two years the Korean Embassy worked for his release.  He’s authored an autobiography in Korea, translated Through the Jungle of Death.  A few Korean history textbooks talk about his successful escape.  He’s established a martial arts franchise in America called J. Park Martial Arts, and at 70 he still teaches.

– J

Military PTSD

Since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, an increasing percentage of deployed soldiers are returning with post-traumatic stress disorder, from 0.2% in 2002 to 22% in 2008.

Approximately 22 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who sought care at the Veterans Administration suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and 17 percent from depression, researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California-San Francisco reported in 2009.

A 2008 Rand Corporaton study, based on a smaller sample than the VA-UCSF study but including veterans who did not enroll at VA health centers, found that 14 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are affected by PTSD and 14 percent by major depression.

Stanford University and Naval Postgraduate School researchers who examined the delayed onset of PTSD found that, by 2023, the rate of PTSD among Iraq war veterans alone could rise as high as 35 percent.

Greek troops march towards the front at Korçë during the Greco-Italian War. After Italian forces occupied Albania in 1939, Fascist Italy’s ambitions grew; Italian Head of Government and Duce of Fascism Benito Mussolini wanted to reassert Italy’s interests in the Balkans, feeling threatened by Germany, and wishing to secure bases from which British outposts in the Mediterranean could be attacked. He was also irritated that Romania, a nation that was supposed to be in the Italian sphere of influence, had accepted German protection for its Ploiești oil fields in mid-October 1940. On 28 October 1940, after Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas rejected an ultimatum demanding the Italian occupation of Greek territory, Italian forces invaded Greece. The Greek Army counterattacked and forced the Italians to retreat. By mid-December, the Greeks occupied nearly a quarter of Italian-held Albania, tying down 530,000 Italian troops. In March 1941, a major Italian counterattack failed, humiliating Italian military pretensions. The Greek Army entered the city of Korçë in November 1940 and it remained under Greek control until the German invasion in April 1941. After Italy’s withdrawal from the war in 1943, the Germans occupied Albania until 29 November 1944, when Albania was liberated by partisans and reasserted its sovereignty. Near Korçë, Korçë District, Albania. September 1940.

Τα ελληνικά στρατεύματα οδεύουν στο μέτωπο προς την Κορυτσά κατά τον Ελληνοϊταλικό Πόλεμο .