Jerry Wayne Parrish

Jerry Wayne Parrish
Born (1944-03-10)March 10, 1944
Morganfield, Kentucky, U.S.
Died August 25, 1998(1998-08-25) (aged 54)
Pyongyang, North Korea
Allegiance  United States
 North Korea
Service/branch  United States Army
Rank Corporal

Jerry Wayne Parrish (March 10, 1944  August 25, 1998), also known by his Korean name Kim Yu-il,[1] was a former United States Army corporal who was one of six American soldiers to defect to North Korea after the Korean War.

He was born in Morganfield, Kentucky and was shipped to South Korea as a corporal in the U.S Army. Beginning in the 1960s, four Americans soldiers defected to North Korea. Larry Allen Abshier was the first to desert in May 1962 when he crossed the Demilitarized Zone and was apprehended by North Korea. Joe Dresnok, Jerry Parrish and Sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins would follow Abshier across the border.[2] His reasons for defecting, according to Jenkins' autobiography The Reluctant Communist, were "personal, and [Parrish] didn't elaborate about them much except to say that if he ever went home, his father-in-law would kill him."[3]

Along with three other defectors, he was eventually granted citizenship. He married a Lebanese woman, Siham Shrieteh, and together they had three sons, all of whom remain in North Korea. Jenkins, in his autobiography, claims that Siham and three other Lebanese young women were lured to North Korea under false pretenses, then married to the Americans. However, one of the girls had well-connected parents and got all four returned. Siham was already pregnant, though, so her family sent her back to North Korea. Siham appears in the film Crossing the Line, and vehemently denies the allegations that she was kidnapped or forced to go to North Korea, affirming that she is there by choice. Also according to the film, Parrish died after 20 years of kidney trouble. Siham and their children remain in North Korea.[2]

See also


  1. Johannes Schönherr (13 August 2012). North Korean Cinema: A History. McFarland. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-7864-6526-2.
  2. 1 2 Kirk, Jeremy (Sep 9, 2004). "Four Decades in North Korea". Far Eastern Economic Review. Archived from the original on Sep 2, 2004. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  3. The Reluctant Communist. Charles Robert Jenkins (University of California Press) p. 34
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