PDA

View Full Version : Ex-POWs Sympathetic for POWs in Iraq



thedrifter
04-09-03, 03:35 PM
Apr 9, 3:24 PM EDT

Ex-POWs Sympathetic for POWs in Iraq

By LISA FALKENBERG
Associated Press Writer

DALLAS (AP) -- More than 50 years after he nearly starved to death in a Korean prisoner of war camp, James Bollinger has finally gotten the medals he earned with his service.

"It's something that's about as good as anything can be," said the frail, 70-year-old man, who lost 104 pounds during his four-month imprisonment in 1950.

At the same time, however, he and other former POWs honored Tuesday at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center worry about several young soldiers believed to be held in Iraq.

Bollinger, who still can't bear to talk about what happened to him, said he has been watching television for news of the seven Americans the Defense Department says are imprisoned.

"I turn it on every day to see if it's over with," said Bollinger, who lives in Plano. "I hope they come back. I hope it's over with soon."

Bollinger, whose awards were delayed because his records were lost, received a medal for being a POW, a Purple Heart, the United Nations medal, Army of Occupation Medal World War II with a Japan clasp, and medals for good conduct, national defense service and Korean service.

Retired Maj. Gen. Alexander Bolling Jr., who escaped from German custody during World War II, told the former POWs the injuries suffered by Jessica Lynch, the 19-year-old Army supply clerk from Palestine, W.Va., might stem from abuse.

"I've never seen anything so horrible, so unworldly," said Bolling, 81, of Dallas. "I have no sympathy for the regime of Saddam Hussein."

Lynch is being treated for a head wound, a spinal injury, and fractures of her right arm, both legs, and her right foot and ankle.

News of soldiers captured in Iraq is especially hard for veterans, said Allen Clark, a public affairs officer for the Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System who lost both legs in Vietnam.

"All of us who have suffered in combat never get over the memories and the sadness," said Clark. "It's very hard for us. It heightens our anxiety."

Therapists at the veterans hospital have been trying to ease such emotions, Clark said.

"Our current patients have been making all their appointments, let me put it that way," he said.

Retired Air Force Col. Ken Cordier, who was tortured while he was a POW for more than six years in North Vietnam, said he never stopped believing he would be rescued.

Cordier urged those in captivity to "keep faith and faith in God and country that we'll do everything in our power to bring them back and bring them back alive."


Sempers,

Roger