Highlights from key documents found by Korean War veteran John Hong in his decades-long quest to prove he was a war hero, not a traitor:
View document: Maj. Kim Song Jun interrogation reportView document: Appleman memo 1. Excerpt from “South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu,” the U.S. Army’s official history of the first six months of the Korean War by Roy E. Appleman. He was referring to 8th Army commander Lt. Gen. Walton Walker’s order for a planned Sept. 1 U.S. attack aimed at diverting North Korean forces.
“This planned attack against Hill 518 chanced to coincide with the defection and surrender on 2 September of Maj. Kim Song Jun, the S-3 of the N.K. 19th Regiment, 13th Division. He reported that a full-scale North Korean attack was to begin at dusk that day. The N.K. 13th Division, he said, had just taken in 4,000 replacements, 2,000 of them without weapons, and was now back to a strength of approximately 9,000 men. Upon receiving this intelligence, General Gay alerted all front-line units to be prepared for the enemy attack.”
2. List of North Korean officer prisoners of war showing Maj. Kim Song Jun, credited with providing the crucial tip, was repatriated on Aug. 7, 1953.
3. A note from the South Korean Ministry of National Defense’s Military History Institute on Feb. 21, 2002, acknowledging “there is no specified Major Kim’s information report for the NKPA’s general offensive.”
4. Seoul court judgment Feb. 13, 2013, overturning his 1950 conviction of treason for fighting for North Korea. The judges expressed sympathy for Hong’s “long struggle to shed light on the Korean War and prove his innocence.”
5. Excerpts from March 5, 1954, memo by Roy E. Appleman saying he had learned from intelligence sources about Hong’s defection and report about the planned North Korean offensive. It was declassified in October 2010.
“Hong revealed various and valuable information about NKPA at the debriefing and it was directly reported to GHQ that night.”
“However, no debriefing record was found until this date … It is likely that Hong’s debriefing record is missing or is being as a classified subject.”
“According to ROK Intelligence sources on December 1953, Hong was arrested in mid-September 1950 as an espionage suspect and executed by ROK Marshal Court Trial on or around the end of September 1950.”
“I would disregard the unconfirmed information of Hong and quote from the ATIS PW Interrogation Report #895’s NKPA General Offensive articles and other notable materials about greatest perimeter battle on early September 1950 due to the urgency of the MS schedules.”