POW Shaw Eugene
fcdwelfareoftheUnit- d. Be-K adminis-hblin,Mme t of 'Makes Us Feel Like Criminals' Bitter POWs Deny Red Taint By TOM BRADSHAW and BILL ALEXANDER Associated Press Staff Writers PHOENIXVILLE, Pa. W Ton gaunt, tight-lipped men stepped into the public spotlight at Valley Forge military hospital to deny they had been tainted by communism while prisoners of war in Korea. They were bitter and they made it plain they felt they had reason to be. The stage for their tense drama was set Sunday at the hospital here a short drive from the Revolutionary War memorial park that gave the hospital its name. It had its origin 1 in the circumstances surrounding their flight home after release by their Red captors. ' While the 10 and 10 companionswere en route from Tokyo by plane last Thursday, an Air Force spokesman said the Pentagon had ordered a veil of secrecy thrown around the flight "because of the position taken by the Army and others that these men may have been misled under conditions of duress and hardship during the period of their captivity." And the Pentagon said Valley Forge Hospital had been designated the best spot for treatment, The 20 reached the hospital late Friday night, rested for a day and then were asked if they were ready to meet the press. Ten said they were anxious for the chance. Four refused bitterly. The rest were too ill or just didn't want any publicity. The 10 interviewed were brought into a small auditorium two by two. The first pair were Cpl. Vernon U Warren, 22, St. Louis, and Pfc. Roger Hern-don, 20, of Jacksonville, Fla. Warren and Hcrndon said flatly they felt they had gotten "a dirty deal" in being labeled possible Communist sympathizers. Herndon, whose right arm was amputated by the Chinese because of a machine-gun wound received at the time of his capture in November, 1950, said he found no reason to accept Communist indoctrination. "They showed us the best they had," he said, "and it was nothing." And Hcrndon said, if his loss of an arm didn't stand in the way, he would be ready to go back to Korea "for another crack at the Reds." - Cpl. James L, Ball, 21, Bell-burn, W. Va., said: "This Red label makes us feel like criminals. We are all completely innocent." And, after a slight pause, he added, "I never even heard the term 'brainwash' before I got back home." Some of the staff officers at the hospital seemed as militant-ly confused by the situation as the men themselves. "I don't know where this Idea started," said one Army doctor, "but there's one thing ' 38 MORE DUE HOME TOKYO HI Two military transport planes left Monday flight bearing 38 repatriated American war prisoners to the United States. The first plane left at 6:21 p.m. and the second at 6:35 p.m. Original plans called for all the former captives of the Communists to fly in i single big C97 Strato-cruiser, but it developed mechanical trouble and two four-engine C54 transports were called into service. Previous transports have made a 17-hour flight to Honolulu, rested briefly there, and continued to Travis Air Force Base near San Francisco. Only 14 of the 149 U. S. servicemen freed in the sick and wounded prisoner exchange remain here. Ninety-seven men have already been flown home 96 to the mainland and one to Hawaii. for sure we're not running a damned laundromat here." Another officer, who asked like his fellow staff member that his name be withheld, said "there has been a big foulup somewhere along the line." Cpl. Robert H. Hickox, ?3, Syracuse, N.Y., who was serving with the 65th Engineers when captured Nov. 27, 1950, said he considered the suggestion he or any other member of the group was Red-tainted "an insult." "It didn't make homecoming any better," he said. Cpl. Richard O. Morrison, 22, Burlington, la., said his reaction was the same as Hickox "insulted." A 22-ycar-old corporal from Oklahoma .City, Okla. Marvin L. Brown said the Communists had forced him to back up Rod charges of U.N. germ warfare in Korea under pain of death. Brown, who lost his right arm after being wounded and captured on a night patrol March 5, 1952, said a Chinese officer told him he would be shot unless he admitted knowledge of germ warfare but Brown hastened to add he felt there was no basis for a belief any of the repatriated prisoners had succumbed to Communist propaganda. M. Sgt, Walter McCollum, 34, Lake Charles, La., said his ordeal In Red hands included a forced march to Communist Prison Camp No. 4 at Wewon, North Korea. On that march, he said, he suffered a case of frozen feet. Despite his experience, he said, he intends to remain in the Army. M. Sgt. Robert W. Shaw, 44, Vancouver, Wash., said ho didn't even believe the Communists when they told him he was to be sent home. Pfc. Paul E. Clements, 24, Indianapolis, said on several occasions prisoners of war were made to stand for hours in tho camp where he was held. The POWs, Clements said, were told that only those who signed peace petitions and similar Communist papers would be permitted to leave. Clements said he knew of no signers in his camp and that as far as he heard, none of those who signed received any better treatment. Cpl. William R. Hinkle., 22, Clintonvillc, W. Va., ended his interview with a. brief voluntary statement: "I'd like to make one thing perfectly clear I am not a Communist or Red." The motion picture floodlights went out. The flash bulbs stopped popping and the 10 men in the maroon hospital robes and whito canvas clogs walked back to the long white wards.