Charles Jenkins, American soldier who defected to North Korea, dies at 77

TOKYO — Charles Jenkins, the U.S. Army sergeant who defected to North Korea in 1965 and remained there for almost four decades, has died in Japan at the age of 77.

Jenkins had been living on Sado Island, off Japan’s west coast, with his wife Hitomi Soga, a Japanese citizen who was abducted by North Korea in 1978, since he was freed in 2004.

Japan’s Kyodo News agency and broadcaster NHK both reported his death Tuesday, but the cause was unknown.

  • The Buddhist Butterfly

    Why do they always take our best and brightest?

    • Watchman

      Well in this particular case they didn’t. (Pointedly ignoring your obvious sarcasm here.)

  • In a way, he was still a prisoner of his ignominy.

  • Martin B

    The next edition of Webster’s Dictionary should have his picture next to the word

  • Watchman

    The Bob Bergdahl his day, but possibly sexually unmolested in his case. There are always mentally ill people enlisted despite the military trying to get rid of them.

    • DavidinNorthBurnaby

      Nowadays, of course, the military is compelled to enlist people who are mentally ill. Homosexuals and people with gender dysphoria for example.