Higgins, creator of the ‘ghost-catching marine’

2023. 10. 2. 19:55
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But there is one clear fact. “It doesn’t help the nation to insult or anger the Marine Corps.”

SHIN BOK-RYONGThe author is a former chair professor of history at Konkuk University. On June 27, 1950, a special plane left Tokyo ahead of Gen. MacArthur. Four war correspondents were on board the aircraft, and one was a woman. It was Marguerite Higgins (1920-1966), who had dreamed of becoming a ballerina. A graduate of prestigious Columbia University in New York, she was working as the head of the Far East bureau of the New York Herald Tribune at the time.

Higgins was born to a father who worked at a shipping company in Hong Kong and a French mother. Her colleagues called her a woman with “ice in her blood.” Higgins published “War in Korea” in January 1951, the first book on the history of the Korean War, appealing to the world for support. She won the Pulitzer Prize that year and was named Woman of the Year by the Associated Press.

After gaining fame, Higgins worked as a war correspondent in the Vietnam-France War. She died at the age of 46 after suffering from leishmaniasis. The U.S. Department of Defense buried her at Arlington National Cemetery for her devotion to the service. Her life was made into a movie in 1994.

On August 17, 1950, when South Korean troops were cornered after the outbreak of the Korean War two months earlier, a squadron of the Korean Marine Corps defeated a battalion of North Korean troops in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang. Higgins impressed Americans by writing an article titled, “Ghost Catching Marine” about the battle. The Korean Marine Corps quickly gained worldwide fame.

The marines are now shaking. It is not yet known whose fault it is over the death of a marine on a rescue mission after an insurmountable flood in July and over the responsibility for his tragic death. But there is one clear fact. “It doesn’t help the nation to insult or anger the Marine Corps.”

Sept. 28, 1950 is meaningful as it was the day that Seoul was recaptured from the Communist North Korean forces and the Marine Corps hoisted the Korean flag at the Central Government Office building. As a former Army private, my heart flutters whenever I see a marine.

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