The American military veteran detained in North Korea oversaw a guerrilla group that was glorified in the South and vilified in the North.
“Why did he go to North Korea?” a former member of the unit told the Associated Press, which spoke with several former members of the unit this week. “The North Koreans still gnash their teeth at the Kuwol unit.”
Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old vet, was public about his role advising the Kuwol partisan unit during the war and was planning to meet former Kuwol fighters after his trip to North Korea, but he was detained moments before taking off for Beijing.
Reuters reported on Newman’s role Sunday.
“Those bastards already knew Newman before the war was over,” a member of the unit who trained under Newman told Reuters. “They obtained the roster of our entire regiment.”