While the world holds its breath, wondering whether or not the United States and North Korea will lock horns, in Oklahoma City, military officials say they are prepared should things get ugly.
A representative at Tinker Air Force Base told the Pioneer, “we are always ready for anything.”
The representative, who asked not to be named, said Oklahoma’s Tinker Air Force Base is a readiness base. Though the representative said he couldn’t talk about specifics in current military operations, he’s said the military could handle problems with the Hermit Nation.
“Our base of operations is something that helps the nation wherever it is needed the most,” the representative said. “If you’re to look on our website, we show what we have been working on as well as the specifics of our operations.”
According to Tinker’s website, the Air Force Sustainment Center provides critical support for the Air Force’s most sophisticated weapon systems.
Staff Sergeant Jake Humphrey, 25, said that for members of the military, the verbal fight between the U.S. and North Korea remains “business as usual for most of us.”
Humphrey is in the Air Force and has been stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea for four months.
“The threat exists, but they’ll deal with it when it happens,” Humphrey said. “There’s no point in worrying about it all day. It seems as if Americans in America are more worried about what North Korea will do than anyone else.”
And while North Korea has called for the extermination of the “American Bastards.” Every United States President president since Bill Clinton has kept a stern hand a watchful eye on the nation threatening nuclear war.
This year tensions have increased.
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have traded incendiary rhetoric. As a result, North Korea has threatened a missile strike against Guam. Guam has been a United States territory since 1950 and has several military bases on its islands.
Kim Jong Un has tested his missile system 17 times since the beginning of this year. With each missile growing in travel distance, it has the capability to strike majority of the United States.
Trump received the threats during a 17-day vacation at his New Jersey golf club. Trump countered Kim Jong Un’s threat by saying, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.”
“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal state,” Trump said. “They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
As the nation waited for a rebuttal, Trump said that perhaps his comments weren’t tough enough.
The President was backed by his Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Mattis told reporters that any actions taken towards the United States in the form of assault would result in warfare.
“It could escalate into war very quickly,” Mattis said. “Yes, that’s called war, if they shoot at us.”
Reactions to the threats have been mixed. Some are on the side to credit Kim Jong Un’s threats as a joke while others fear what may come. With threats coming from North Korea on a weekly basis, it’s understandable to ask why. The threat of a nuclear attack is enough to make someone question the world around them.
Raye Leonard, the marketing and communications coordinator for the University of Tulsa, has traveled to 10 different countries. She has seen that America fears something more than the threat of nuclear weaponry: Their appearance.
“People always seem to think that when they leave the country, people are going to hate Americans,” Leonard said. “I’ve never ever felt hated. I don’t think any citizens really want a part in it.I think that both countries have leaders that they’re probably less than happy with. I think it’s unfortunate that people’s lives are being put at risk based on two governments having a pissing war.”
“I have no reasons to hate Koreans,” Leonard said.
On Tuesday, Kim Jong Un appeared for a press conference in North Korea. He said that he was prepared to watch the U.S. actions in the region before ordering a planned launch.
Actions between the nations are yet to be determined.
After World War II, Koreans faced a choice: a Republican Democracy or Communism.
Korea chose Communism. It wouldn’t be until 1948 that the country would split and the southern half would choose a Republican Democracy.
On June 25, 1950, the United States went to war with North Korea in defense of South Korea. By the direction of the United Nations, America sent their troops to combat the Communists of the north.
According to a BBC report, air raids from the American forces drop 635,000 tons of bombs on North Korea. This number doesn’t include the 32,557 tons of napalm used throughout the war.
The Korean War, (called a police action at the time) is often referred to as the Forgotten War. More than 50,000 Americans and 1.3 million Koreans died in the conflict.
An armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. To this day, no formal peace agreement has been reached between North Korea and the United States.
The only thing that separates the powers of North and South Korea is a demilitarized zone 160 miles long and 2.5 miles wide in between both countries.
After the war, North Koreans began to sift through the rubble. Since that time, the country’s leader fostered and encouraged anti-American propaganda.
According to a story from National Public Radio, students in North Korean schools are taught basic mathematics by counting “American bastards.”
From Kim Il Sung in the 1940’s to the current leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea has opposed the United States on almost every issue. Since the 1950’s, the nation has been experimenting with nuclear weapons.
President Clinton’s administration demanded that North Korea to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.
It didn’t happen.
Still, North Korea isn’t the first country that was told to give up its nuclear weapons.
Leaders such as Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi were ordered to do the same. However, the eventual destruction of Gaddafi’s tenure as Libya’s strongman is the reason that Kim Jong Un has held tightly to his arsenal.
Most experts believe that Kim Jong Un has no plans to get rid of any of his country’s nuclear weapons — in fact, he’s threatened to use them.
The cross hairs land on American soil. What’s to come only the future will tell.