This film designed to illustrate ROK Army's need for more modern weapons... shows them using?
This film designed to illustrate ROK Army's need for more modern weapons... shows them using old World War II weapons... it is designed to play with reports that LBJ has requested $100 Million for aid or fund for Korea and yet is having trouble extracting it from Congress...and even so the Korean say that $100 M is not enough to do the job......could also play with story that Koreans are unhappy because US policy seems to be downplaying Korean security problems and emphasizing the Pueblo etc.
The man in the middle had his carbine jam up on him.... he kept hitting the bolt....it is a normal problem with older weapons.
The South Korean soldier is tough. It is the only word for him. He trains tough, running up hills with fifteen pounds of sandbags strapped on his legs, 66 pounds in his pack.
And those who fight with him know he fights tough.
His problem is, he does not have the best equipment...he does not have weapons even as good as his enemy.
His enemy is threatening war. South Korea believes it must be ready for war. It believes it needs new weapons.
What the South Koreans are working with are old M-1's, carbines, tanks without engines, which may have won the second world war.
But the communists, across the line, in North Korean outposts like this one, are armed with weapons designed for the next war.....the latest generation Soviet and Chinese weapons, including the AK-47.
It is not only the age or obscelence of the weapons that concerns the South Koreans. There aren't enough of them....there isn't enough ammunition. A man is issued just one grenade. Along the line he is expected to fire just one round each day to check his weapon....that's all.
An exercise like this, though valuable for a man, is very rare and was laid on partially because our cameras were there.
The need for new weapons for the South Korean army concerns the schoolgirls who march in Seoul....
...and the soldiers who patrol the truce line between north and south Korea.
The basic weapon of the South Korean army today is the basic weapon of the U.S. army 25 years ago...the M-1 rifle.
It is heavy and cumbersome, particularly for a South Korean. No one has ever disputed the M-1 is a good weapon. But no one disputes there are newer and better. And the enemy has them.
The South Koreans along the demilitarized zone also have BAR's, the old Browning Automatic Rifle.....they have several tanks, which also are old, don't run anymore, so are used only as fixed artillery.
All of this particularly galls the South Koreans because they know that their enemy, the North Koreans across the line have better.
Koreans have asked the Americans many times for new weapons, and got the same kind of answer.
A leading South Korean legislator told us last week, America is very stingy when nothing is happening. But she will spend millions on millions of dollars when there is a crisis.
A couple days thereafter, the South Korean government encouraged the first anti-American demonstrations in Seoul in twenty years. They contributed to the air of crisis.
And suddenly, here is Curys Vance with reassuring words; and here is President Johnson with a promise of a hundred million dollars.
And even that, the South Koreans say, wont be enough.