US Army Private Arrested for Desertion After Fleeing to North Korea


A US Army private who fled to North Korea has been arrested and is currently being held on charges of desertion by the US military. The private, identified as Travis King, aged 23, returned to the United States earlier this month under circumstances that remain unclear.

King is facing a total of eight charges, including desertion and possession of sexual images of a child.

These serious allegations were confirmed by officials in a statement to the press. The case has sparked widespread debate about the conduct of military personnel and the consequences of their actions.

In a heartfelt plea, King’s mother, Claudine Gates, urged the public to afford her son the presumption of innocence.

She stated, “A mother knows her son, and I believe something happened to mine while he was deployed.” Her words underscore the emotional toll this situation has taken on the family.

According to reports, King had previously served in South Korea and ran into the North while on a civilian tour of a border village on July 18. This made him the first American confirmed to be detained in the isolated country in nearly five years.

At the time of his disappearance, he was supposed to be heading to Fort Bliss, Texas, following his release from prison in South Korea on an assault conviction.

King was declared AWOL (Absent Without Leave) from the Army, but not immediately considered a deserter. The punishment for going AWOL can vary significantly, depending on whether the service member voluntarily returned or was apprehended.

King’s two-month absence and subsequent handover by the North Koreans complicates the matter further.

After two months of detention in North Korea, Pyongyang announced King would be sent back to the United States. He was flown to an Air Force base in Texas.

At the time, officials admitted they did not know exactly why North Korea decided to release King, but speculated as a low-ranking serviceman, he had no real value in terms of either leverage or information.

Desertion is a serious offense in the military and can lead to severe penalties. Deserters can face imprisonment of up to three years, or even the death penalty in times of war.

As this case unfolds, it serves as a stark reminder of the strict discipline and high standards expected of those who serve in our nation’s armed forces.