Jacque Jeffords, 24 year old Mullen, Neb. repatriated prisoner of war, was in Omaha Thursday making up for lost time and planning for the future.
Young Jeffords returned to his hometown and a hero’s welcome August 30 after 32 months in North Korean prisoner of war camps.
He was captured November, 11, 1950 after three days of hiking toward American lines. His B-26 was shot down in Communist territory.
“I almost made it,” he said, explaining that he was within 20 miles of the lines when a North Korean patrol found him hiding in the mountains.
The weeks that followed were a haze of interrogating sessions for the then 21 year old Air Force corporal. The Commies shifted him from place to place, shooting questions hour after hour.
“They didn’t learn anything,” he said. He added that he did not see a Russian interrogator throughout his imprisonments.
Most of his internment was in Camp 3 a few miles from the Yalu River on on North Korean soil. The locale was “right under” MIG Alley.
That fact, he said, kept prisoner morale at a peak.
“We always watched the dogfights,” he laughed, “and I never saw an American plane turn tail from the MIG’s.” He said that was the favorite tactic of MIG pilots.
“They always turned and headed for the Yalu. Our pilots would follow. We could see the tracers from their guns. Then when it looked like they were going to score a kill they would have to turn around. That was awful to see.”
The son of a retired rancher, young Jeffords wasn’t inclined to dwell on the treatment.
“We all got a share of brainwashing. On some–very few–it worked. Most of us laughed at them. We did anything to miss the classes, but they managed to round us up–just like cattle.”
The former prisoner said he knew, “quite a few of the men who went over to communism.” Was it due to a lack of education?
“Some of them had college degrees, others hadn’t gotten through the fifth grade. Some day they’ll realize what they’ve done,” he observed.
His future, he revealed, is clear cut. He will re-enlist in the Air Force.
“I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than serve my country. Perhaps it will help to keep others from being Communist prisoners.”
En route to visit relatives in Des Moines, Ia., young Jeffords and his father, John Jeffords, stopped to visit friends here, Mr. and Mrs. Loyal Cohn, 5107 Dodge Street.
Omaha World Herald
October 29, 1953