69 North Koreans in US military

According to the Rumsfeld Papers there were 69  North Koreans serving active duty in the US armed services in April 2003.

Source here (PDF).

Much more discussion in the comments.

(h/t to a colleague)


8 Responses to “69 North Koreans in US military”

  1. Austin says:

    What?! I can’t even imagine how this would work…. resettled refugees, maybe!?

  2. Guest says:

    Also, three soldiers from East Germany which has not existed since 1991 …

  3. Alex says:

    Hm. I’m not sure this is even remotely credible.

    As ‘Guest’ points out, there are three soldiers from East Germany… not to mention 113 from West Germany, two from North Vietnam (which hasn’t existed since 1976), five from South Vietnam and 14 from Yugoslavia (which hasn’t existed since 1943/5). The list also mentions 13 from Zaire (which hasn’t existed since 1997).

    Rather worryingly, the list also includes nine from Czechoslavakia and one from the Czech Republic – obviously, these two should never be on the same list as the former replaced the latter!

    • Changmi says:

      Perhaps it’s referring to the countries those people originally came from at the time they entered the US.

  4. NK econWatch says:

    This is obviously country of birth…

  5. Mark says:

    I don’t think it’s simply their country of birth. Foreign nationals who hold a green card can join the US military and gain their citizenship that way. This is noted in the Rumsfeld memo where it says: “These are ‘Americans of the future’ earning their citizenship the hard way” (page 2 of the PDF). Some foreign national US marines killed in Iraq were even granted US citizenship posthumously.

    The 69 North Koreans are therefore 69 North Korean citizens who have a green card and reside permanently in the US. Perhaps they are resettled refugees as one poster mentioned.

    It’s strange that there are non-existent countries in the list. It could be their country of citizenship at the time they joined the US military, for example they had to show identification documents upon joining, and that gets recorded as their nationality.

  6. DJ says:

    The list heading in the document states clearly that it lists “reported country of birth”. That’s why you can have people from Yugoslavia, East Germany, USSR etc. on the list. It is interesting, though, how there can be 11,609 enlisted and 58 officers of “unknown” country of birth. I

  7. Nkeconwatch says:

    The colleague that sent this to me adds the following: Valuable feedback from a well informed reader notes that […] the Rumsfeld paper documenting 69 NK citizens serving in the US military probably reflects either Korean-Japanese with NK passports or Pentagon clerks mixing up North and South Korea(!).