US Army Private Travis King Faces Possible Charges for Running Away to North Korea

Thomas Leyk
2 Min Read

U.S. Army Private Travis King, aged 23, is facing potential charges after his attempt to seek refuge in North Korea. King crossed the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on July 18 and was subsequently “expelled” by North Korea following their investigation.

According to reports, King cited alleged “ill feelings” towards the inhumane treatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army as his reason for running away. Prior to crossing into North Korea, King was scheduled to return to Texas but joined a civilian tour instead.

Before his attempt to flee, King had been in South Korea, where he served nearly two months in jail for an assault conviction. He was also facing disciplinary action for this offense.

Legal experts have weighed in on King’s situation, suggesting that he could potentially face formal charges under the military justice system. The process, however, may take several months. Alternatively, King could be discharged without charges, depending on the outcome of the investigation.

Being absent without leave (AWOL) is a punishable offense, and the penalties can range from jail time to a dishonorable discharge. If King is charged with desertion, a more serious offense, he could face years of imprisonment.

After returning to the United States, King arrived at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and was transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center. There, he will undergo medical and psychological evaluations as part of the reintegration process. The Army has emphasized that King’s well-being and privacy are currently their top priorities.

The Army will address his status at a later time.

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