How 'this little kid from Mansfield' helped save a N. Korean soldier's life

By: Bob Ward

Updated:

DEDHAM, Mass. - From Iraq to Afghanistan, Major Jeffrey Schmidt has served in some of the most troubled places on Earth in the 20 years since he graduated from Mansfield High School.

Major Schmidt is now stationed near the Korean DMZ (de-militarized zone). 

Earlier this month, he helped rescue a defecting North Korean soldier, known only as Mr. Oh, as he ran, under fire, from North Korea to South Korea.

“The particular situation that occurred on the DMZ almost two weeks ago, ended with the best possible outcome, given the circumstances,” Major Schmidt told Boston 25 News in an email. “The soldiers here relied on their experience and training and fought hard … together … to keep Mr. Oh alive. Thankfully, it appears he will recover from his devastating wounds and I wish him a swift recovery so he may begin his long and successful life in South Korea."

Major Schmidt’s father, Jay Schmidt, connected Boston 25 News with him after we spoke with Jay over Facetime. 

“We worry about him and all of them, but, we figure this is what he does, this is what he loves to do, this is his job,” Jay said. 

He said Jeffrey grew up loving the outdoors and hockey; he played goalie for Mansfield High and Sacred Heart University.

“We're very proud of what he's done,” Jay said. “We look at his accomplishments and where he's been, and the places he's been, what he's seen, the countries he's been in, it’s pretty amazing, this little kid from Mansfield.”

After Mr. Oh was pulled to safety, Major Schmidt was among the crew who stabilized him and sent him via helicopter to a hospital. 

Mr. Oh reportedly received more than three gallons of blood transfusions after he was shot multiple times while defecting. 

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