Local veterans uneasy about tensions with North Korea

Local veterans are uneasy about the war of words between U.S., N. Korean leaders.

RIVERVIEW, Fla. – As the war of words continues to escalate between the Trump administration and the North Korean regime of Kim Jung Un, some local veterans are wary of rising tensions.

"It’s too much grandeur, bluster," said Richard Ridenhour, an Army veteran who served three tours in Iraq. “It makes me fear for my brothers and fellow sisters serving our country. I don’t want anyone going to war or risking their lives ... because of someone being careless.” 

Ridenhour and other veterans spoke to 10News on Friday while they and volunteers helped renovate the aging VFW 8108 Post in Riverview. The post received a $24,000 grant from the Home Depot Foundation to upgrade the facility to ensure it remains safe and accessible to all of its members.

Craig Stinson is also a member of the post. He's a Navy veteran who served in Lebanon following the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings and saw action in Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield during the Gulf War. 

"I saw a lot of things that I shouldn’t have to see in your lifetime," he said.

Stinson is also the son of a Korean War veteran. He believes President Trump is handling North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un as he should, given the threats he's made against the U.S. and its territories like Guam.

"(Trump's) setting the standard high," Stinson said. "Nuclear war was always the scariest thing when I was growing up and it’s even scarier now, because now you’ve got radicals with nuclear weapons.”

President Trump on Friday continued his war of words with North Korea, saying it's "pretty obvious" what he meant when he tweeted earlier in the day that the U.S military is "locked and loaded" to handle North Korea. 

The president said he meant it.

Trump has threatened to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if it pursues launching nuclear weapons, and on Thursday said perhaps those comments weren't tough enough.  

Relations between North Korea and the United States have been hostile for decades.

Just last month marked 64 years since the end of the Korean War when the U.S. came to the aid of South Korea after it was invaded by the north. 

Dwayne Crawford, a Vietnam veteran, said he believes the U.S. must stand firm in the face of continued threats.

"We need them to know we’re not going to tolerate it," Crawford said. "But as far as the first strike, that should not be our call. We should defend what we believe in, but until that happens we should stand still.”

Tensions with North Korea escalated this week following reports that it is one step closer to being able to hit the continental U.S. with an intercontinental ballistic missile.

CBS News contributed to this report.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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