Bostic man shares POW story in new book

May. 01, 2013 @ 04:27 AM

Former Korean War Prisoner of War Pharis Greene has a difficult time putting into words what it was like being a POW for 37 months.

From his home in Grover, Greene, 81, said recently, “I can’t express myself exactly.”

But his sister, Helen Greene Leigh, has written a book, “Sacrifices for Patriotism: A Korean POW Remembers the Forgotten War” so others will know his story.

The siblings were born in Bostic and Greene joined the Army in 1949 at age 17 in 1949.

After basic training, Greene was sent to Japan and six months later the war began. He was sent to join the 34th Infantry Regiment, part of the 24th Division.

The book tells his story of the grueling 37 months in prison and his survival. 

On Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m., Greene and Leigh will hold a book signing at Family Christian Stores in Forest City.

This is Leigh’s first book and she says she wrote it after being awakened one night every hour on the hour and agreed to follow God’s instructions to share with the world her brother’s personal experiences as a Korean POW. 

Leigh spent a year interviewing Greene and researching the Korean War. She said his story needed to be told.

Greene said he remembers when he came back from the war there was a Welcome Home parade in Forest City for the POWS, including himself, Bailey Gillespie of Spindale and Joseph Ford of Rutherfordton.

Ford, who received his Purple Heart medal earlier this year in a ceremony at the veterans hospital in Oteen, passed away March 28. Gillespie lives in Spindale with his wife,Joy Gillespie.

On overview of the book :

“Sacrifices for Patriotism:A Korean POW Remembers the Forgotten War” is a narrative nonfiction recollection of the 37 months Pharis Greene spent in captivity during the Korean War. His story includes his childhood memories and continues to his life today.

In Korea, Pharis experienced horrific events. He witnessed his new commander, Colonel Martin, being cut in half by a Russian tank after engaging in a street fight with only a bazooka to defend himself. Less than 40 yards separated Pharis from his higher-ranking officer, Second Lieutenant Thornton, when a North Korean madman dubbed “The Tiger” shot him in the back of the head on the infamous Death March. On numerous occasions, Pharis feared his life was over, including the three times he stood in front of a firing squad.

Some fellow POWs have been quoted in “Remembered Prisoners of a Forgotten War” by Lewis H Carlson and “In Mortal Combat” by John Toland. In contrast, Pharis shares his personal experiences form the beginning to the end of the Korean War and recalls how he endured the challenges and miraculously survived. (Barnes and Noble)