The US soldier who defected to North Korea last year has written his family for the first time. He said he was well, but did not say how or why he crossed over to the communist nation, his parents said. Army Pfc. Joseph White was patrolling the demilitarized zone Aug. 28 when he walked up to a gate along the border and shot off the lock, a military report said. Soon after, another soldier saw him on the other side of the border.