Veteran: Patrick Walsh
Artist: Camille McMennamin
Writer: Patrick Walsh
That night there were millions of stars, the sky dark and clear. Spc/4 Patrick Walsh was driving with an Army buddy north from Seoul to Camp Casey, the 7th Infantry Division HQ close to the De Militarized Zone (DMZ), in an Army Jeep with a canvas top and no side walls. Farm villages along the way were lit by candles or metal gas lamps. His buddy said go right at the fork. They drove awhile before coming upon a dark and abandoned straw hut village. Something didn’t feel right to Patrick. The village was just too dark. A large shape was lying in the middle of the dirt track. He drove up to it and stopped. It was a large wolf. The wolf got up and slowly loped away looking, back at them. Patrick knew it wasn’t a dog because dogs didn’t get to be that big in Korea. Concerned because they weren’t armed, they had a bad feeling they were in trouble.
Patrick had taught himself to find south by the stars. In the Korean night sky the constellation Orion the Hunter is always due south and south means safety. He got out of the jeep, wolf or no, and there was Orion directly behind them which meant they had been heading north into North Korea. He turned the Jeep around and drove like a maniac, keeping Orion directly ahead. They took another fork and passed white tape on both sides of the road which marked entry into the southern part of the DMZ. They had been about two miles into the North Korean side of the DMZ. North Korea had a bounty on everyone in Patrick’s unit, and there they were, delivering themselves right to them. They came to the Bridge of No Return and crossed it. At the end of the bridge was a US guard house with MPs on duty. Suddenly, flares shot up into the sky lighting up everything. The MPs surrounded them pointing their rifles. “Where the hell did you guys come from?” “We took a wrong turn. We’re trying to get to Casey,” Patrick replied.
Released after verification by their unit in Seoul plus a major chewing out, they received accurate directions to Camp Casey. They later discovered that they had been in the North Korean village of Gijong-Dong — on the wrong side of the DMZ.
What if the Wolf hadn’t been there to stop them? What then?