David Hawkins (defector)

Samuel David Hawkins (born August 1933) was the youngest defector of the Korean War. He was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His father, whom Hawkins says he had an unhappy relationship with during his childhood, had served in World War ll for many years. He enlisted in the army at the age of 16. Captured and made a prisoner of war by People's Volunteer Army troops, he chose to remain in China after the signing of the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement, one of twenty-two American and British servicemen to do so. While in China, he studied politics at the People's University of China, and later worked in Wuhan as a mechanic.

As early as June 1956, Hawkins indicated his desire to return home in an interview with a British journalist. Finally, in late February 1957, he departed mainland China and crossed over into British-ruled Hong Kong. He stated that the major motivation for his departure from China was the way the Soviets had suppressed the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, which turned him off to Communism. He was the 7th ex-U.S. Army soldier to come back after defecting to China. He soon flew to Los Angeles, California, landing there on March 2, 1957. In total, he had spent more than three years living in China. On June 23, 1957, he gave an interview with Mike Wallace, explaining his decision to defect, and his motivations for eventually returning to the United States.


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