Jerry Wayne Parrish
|Jerry Wayne Parrish|
March 10, 1944|
Morganfield, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||August 25, 1998
Pyongyang, North Korea
|Allegiance|| United States
|Service/branch||United States Army|
He was born in Morganfield, Kentucky and was shipped to South Korea as a corporal in the U.S Army. Beginning in the 1960s, four Americans soldiers defected to North Korea. Larry Allen Abshier was the first to desert in May 1962 when he crossed the Demilitarized Zone and was apprehended by North Korea. Joe Dresnok, Jerry Parrish and Sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins would follow Abshier across the border. His reasons for defecting, according to Jenkins' autobiography The Reluctant Communist, were "personal, and [Parrish] didn't elaborate about them much except to say that if he ever went home, his father-in-law would kill him."
Along with three other defectors, he was eventually granted citizenship. He married a Lebanese woman, Siham Shrieteh, and together they had three sons, all of whom remain in North Korea. Jenkins, in his autobiography, claims that Siham and three other Lebanese young women were lured to North Korea under false pretenses, then married to the Americans. However, one of the girls had well-connected parents and got all four returned. Siham was already pregnant, though, so her family sent her back to North Korea. Siham appears in the film Crossing the Line, and vehemently denies the allegations that she was kidnapped or forced to go to North Korea, affirming that she is there by choice. Also according to the film, Parrish died after 20 years of kidney trouble. Siham and their children remain in North Korea.
- List of American and British defectors in the Korean War: the 21 Americans and 1 Briton who refused repatriation during Operation Big Switch in 1953 (to remain in China)
- Larry Allen Abshier (1943–1983) of Urbana, Illinois, deserted on May 28, 1962, at the age of 19
- James Joseph Dresnok (born 1941) of Richmond, Virginia, deserted on August 15, 1962, at the age of 21
- Charles Robert Jenkins (born 1940) of Rich Square, North Carolina, deserted on January 5, 1965, at age of 24
- Roy Chung, deserted in June 1979
- Joseph T. White (1961–1985) of St. Louis, Missouri, deserted in August 1982 at the age of 20