All Quiet on the DMZ: The History of the Cold War Didn’t Always Make History

By Glen Martin

We all have a certain subset of memories burned deep in our forebrains: images so vivid, so invested with emotion that the decades serve to sharpen rather than diminish their resolution. It could be a few mental frames from childhood: a tableau of mother and puppy on a vast expanse of lawn. Or a traumatic event: the onrush of ruby brake lights just before a collision. Such memories seem fixed in amber, impervious to time; richly detailed images that can be examined again and again from all aspects.

Dennis Klein harbors such a mental hologram. It’s about war—or at least, war avoided. He’s eating lunch at an open-air mess hall above the road leading to Freedom Bridge, a span crossing the Imjin River near the Korean Demilitarized Zone not far from the town of Paju. It’s January 23, 1968, and Klein is a second lieutenant with an engineering unit in the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division. As he eats, he sees a crowd of people moving toward the bridge. They’re dressed in the black-and-white livery standard for Korean secondary school students. They get closer, and he sees that they’re in their mid-teens; no adults accompany them. They’re marching in cadence, swinging their arms upward in unison at every fourth step, belting out slogans in rhythmic time. The Korean cook operating the mess translates for Klein:

To attack the Blue House is a grave insult!

This disrespectful act must be revenged!

There must be war to restore Korean honor!

Only total war can get our honor back!

Mighty and great are the Korean people!

It dawns on Klein that the kids are about to cross the bridge and launch themselves against the chain-link fence, concertina wire, and mine fields of the DMZ, with consequences that would resonate far beyond this mess hall.

Tensions were exceedingly high along the DMZ in early 1968. Beginning in 1966, gunfire across the zone along with periodic raids from North Korea had killed about two dozen Americans and wounded scores more. In April 1967, artillery was used by South Korean soldiers to repulse an incursion of about 100 North Korean troops. Two months later, a 2nd Infantry Division barracks was dynamited by North Korean infiltrators, and two South Korean trains were blown up. A few months after that, North Korean artillery batteries fired more than 50 rounds at a South Korean barracks, the first time since 1953 that North Korean artillery had been employed along the DMZ.

So it was not inconceivable that the North Koreans would react with massive artillery barrages, even a full-scale invasion, to the students’ actions. The balloon could go up. Nukes could explode. World War III, in other words, could commence.

And as the only officer in the immediate vicinity, Klein realizes the onus is on him; he has to do something. He thus finds himself in an analog of the Great Man Theory (the view that individuals with sufficient will and charisma can change the world)—call it the Little Man Theory. A junior field officer, halfway through chow, suddenly finds himself on the pivot point of world-changing events. Moreover, he is required by his commission to act, to launch himself into the flow of history

But what Klein saw and did and what history recorded are two different things.

Some additional backstory here: As noted, the march on Freedom Bridge was the boiling point for a geopolitical cauldron that had been at a parlous simmer for months. On January 17, 1968, a unit of 31 North Korean commandos had infiltrated the DMZ, sneaking past an observation post manned by soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division. Their mission: to behead South Korean President (and military dictator) Park Chung-Hee. The rationale: North Korean leaders believed that assassinating Park would somehow compel the South Korean hoi polloi to overthrow their government, expel the U.S. military presence, and lead to a glorious unification of the Korean Peninsula.

The infiltrators wandered around for a couple of days, working south toward Seoul, and at one point encountering several laborers cutting wood. Rather than kill the workers, the soldiers attempted to indoctrinate them with the North Korean POV before moving on. The woodcutters reported the contact to the South Korean authorities.

The North Korean unit divided into multiple teams and entered Seoul on January 20, dressed in uniforms of the South Korean 26th Infantry Division. They approached the Blue House, the residence of the president, getting to within a thousand yards of the compound before they were stopped and a running gun battle ensued.

Two North Koreans were killed outright, with the remainder escaping. They attempted to get back across the DMZ, but 26 more were killed, 1 was captured, and 2 went missing. On the south side, 68 South Koreans were killed, including several civilians, as were 3 American GIs. Meanwhile, on January 23, North Korean patrol boats seized a U.S. naval intelligence ship, USS Pueblo, in international waters, killing 1 sailor. By the time the American military scrambled its aircraft, the Pueblo and her 82 crewmen were being held in the North Korean harbor of Wonsan.

In sum, the tensions between the two Koreas from 1966 to 1969 were so high that the period sometimes has been labeled the Second Korean War or the DMZ War.

Add to that what was going on in Vietnam: The Battle of Khe Sanh was launched on January 21, 1968. This 77-day siege by North Vietnam Army troops against a U.S. Marine garrison marked the start of the 1968 Tet Offensive. The campaign was widely viewed as the beginning of the end of the American effort in Vietnam; after Tet, enthusiasm for the Vietnam War waned among American pols and citizens alike.

Klein had been drafted in 1967. He had applied to Cal, but his acceptance was delayed, meaning he had no student deferment. (He received notice of his acceptance shortly after entering the Army. He later matriculated at UC Berkeley and earned an engineering degree.) He was accepted into Officer Candidate School; because he had worked as a road engineer in the Feather River canyon, he ultimately was sent to Korea as a second Lieutenant in the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, where he supervised road construction in the rugged terrain bordering the DMZ.

He was, he acknowledges, relieved to go to Korea. “I was lucky,” he says. “Like thousands of other guys, I could’ve ended up in Vietnam.”

Not that it was exactly soft duty in Korea. In 1967 and 1968, fire across the DMZ was commonplace. “Seven GIs were killed by gunfire in 1967 alone,” recalls Klein. “You were always aware of snipers and infiltrators.” The Blue House raid only deepened the sense of impending and catastrophic conflict, he says. And if things did fall apart, it was only too clear what that would mean to the few thousand men of the 2nd and 7th Infantry Divisions arrayed in defensive positions along the DMZ.

“Basically, there were 350,000 North Korean soldiers facing us on the other side of the zone,” he says. “We had no illusions about our odds.”

So on that January day, when he saw the students rushing toward the DMZ, Klein jumped in a jeep and raced toward Freedom Bridge to intercept them. By the time he got to the southern terminus of the bridge, the kids had started to overrun a cordon of half-tracks parked in front of the DMZ. Klein was the only officer present. The GIs manning .50 caliber machine guns mounted on the half-tracks seemed dumbfounded as the chanting students rushed past.

“I screamed at [the soldiers], ‘How could you let them get through?’” Klein recalls, “and they yelled back, ‘What are we supposed to do? Shoot them?’

Klein yelled at his men to grab the demonstrators by the arms and legs and toss them into the trucks…

“By the time I got to the north side of the bridge, they were starting to climb an anti-infiltration fence that had been installed a couple of months before. They were able to climb the chain link on the lower part, but were being stopped by a triple strand of concertina wire on top. I knew we had to do something to get them off there. There was a triple-tier minefield beyond the wire, and once they got in there and started blowing themselves up—well, we had to stop them.”

Various vehicles began arriving, and as the soldiers rushed up, Klein ordered them to pull the students from the fence. “As soon as the kids were dragged off the fence, they’d mill around a bit and start climbing again,” Klein remembers. “We needed a different plan.”

Among the vehicles pulled up to the wire were numerous “deuce-and-a-half” rigs—the two-and-one-half-ton trucks with high-sided cargo beds that were the workhorses of mobile infantry units during World War II and the Korean conflict. Klein yelled at his men to grab the demonstrators by the arms and legs and toss them into the trucks.

“The flying bodies acted like boxing gloves, knocking down the students who had already been thrown in the trucks, preventing them from escaping,” says Klein. “Once a truck was pretty full, I yelled at the driver to step on it, to go really fast so they couldn’t get out.”

After several minutes, that strategy seemed to work. The scene was chaos, with sweaty and cursing GIs in battle harness peeling screaming Korean adolescents in school uniforms off the fence and throwing them into the trucks. The kids were scratching and gouging the troops, Klein recalls, even trying to unsheathe the soldiers’ bayonets so they could cut themselves. But Klein could see progress; more students were going into the trucks than up the fence. The soldiers were comporting themselves perfectly, using no more force than necessary.

There was one hitch, though: Klein calls her the Alpha Girl.

“She was the one who was really leading the group, giving orders and direction. When things really started going our way, she suddenly gets down on her knees. She grabs a big rock and puts it in front of her, and then she grabs another rock and puts it on top of the first one.”

Like a significant percentage of the other people in the world in 1968, Klein had seen Hawaii, the 1966 film based on the eponymous book by James Michener. In one famous scene, “the Hawaiian chief grabs a big rock, puts another rock on top of it, and starts to slam his head down on them. Then the screen goes black,” Klein says. He quickly realized that Alpha Girl was going “to dash her brains out, give the demonstration its first martyr. So I screamed at the men: ‘GET THAT BITCH OFF THAT ROCK!’” Four soldiers leaped to comply, grabbing Alpha Girl before she could injure herself, and throwing her adroitly into a nearby truck.

Once Alpha Girl was hauled away, the demonstration began to lose momentum. The soldiers were able to corral the remaining students, get them into trucks, and ultimately transport them to a nearby station, where they boarded trains south to the city of Pusan.

After the students were dispatched, Klein and his men decompressed. He was proud of the soldiers under his command, but also deeply sympathetic toward the demonstrators.

“They were willing to sacrifice themselves for what they thought was a just cause,” he explains. “They wanted to die so their country could win. The soldiers saw it as a noble act, even though they had to do everything possible to prevent it. And we did have to prevent it. If those kids had died, it could’ve led to war.”

Back at his unit’s headquarters, Klein reported the incident in detail “and then we kind of waited around to see how it was covered in the press.

And that’s the thing. It wasn’t covered—not even by Stars and Stripes (the news service for the U.S. military). Later, I talked to a Stars and Stripes reporter and asked him what was going on. Everyone near the DMZ knew about the incident, knew what it meant. He basically said there was a blackout along the entire DMZ, that [commanding officers] didn’t want to ‘open a second front,’ given all that was going on in Vietnam. So it was like it never happened.”

Which raises a conundrum long posed by the historical record: Is it an accurate accounting of what occurred? Or is it what people in power want us to know? Further, the fog of war envelops more than active battlegrounds; it obscures entire fields of operations. Grunts often have no idea what’s going on with their commanding officers, and superior officers in rear units may know little about what’s really happening either on the front lines or at divisional headquarters.

And if a lone second lieutenant wages a battle that no one else acknowledges, you have to consider another existential question: Did it even happen, and if it did, can we trust the narrator’s version of events? Something clearly occurred near Freedom Bridge that day. But did war and peace, perhaps nuclear oblivion, really teeter on a handful of infantrymen pulling a few hundred squalling students off a fence? Or was the memory, no matter how intense, somehow distorted by time?

Hwasop Lim, the San Francisco correspondent for Yonhap News Agency, the largest news service in South Korea, is intrigued by Klein’s story and has investigated it. He searched news accounts of the time and tried to find students and soldiers who had been in the DMZ on the day of the incident. Sometime around that date, he says, an incident similar to the one described by Klein apparently occurred there.

“The newspapers covered it, but it was a protest by Christian seminary students,” says Lim. “They were older than high school students. It’s possible that the incident happened as Mr. Klein described it, but that it involved older seminary students, not high school kids. It’s a fact that Westerners often have difficulty determining the age of Asian people. They can confuse people in their 20s or even older for people in their teens.”

Lim thinks one of two things happened: There were two incidents, and the papers only covered the one involving the seminary students; or there was a single demonstration involving older students whom Klein mistakenly thought were in high school.

“If there were two incidents, the basic narratives were the same: Students were trying to climb the fence, and so on. But along with [the disparity in] the ages of the students, there were also some other differences. The newspaper accounts mention the presence of a senior officer at the officer—he was only a second lieutenant, and he maintains he was the only officer there. Eventually, I did find two witnesses to a DMZ demonstration from around that time, and their accounts generally matched the newspaper articles.”

“There was very bad stuff going on around the DMZ between 1966 and 1969, and it was at its absolute worst when Dennis was there,” Davino confirms. “It all could have gone deeply wrong very quickly, and if it had, it would’ve been unbelievably bloody.”

In the end, Lim reflects, “It’s really hard to say exactly what happened. At this time, for me, it’s a cold case. But it’s a fascinating incident. It deserves to be remembered, and I’ll follow any new leads.”

Mike Davino is a retired Army Colonel and former president of the 2nd Indianhead Division Association, a fraternal organization that promotes the interests of 2nd Infantry veterans and records the history of the division. He, too, has looked into events that occurred near the DMZ in early 1968.

“I have a Stars and Stripes article from February 23, 1968,” says Davino, “and it describes a big brawl involving 450 theological school students who had traveled 180 miles north to Freedom Bridge. It mentions some U.S. troops firing warning shots. I forwarded [the article] to Dennis, and he says that was some other incident, not the one he was involved in. That certainly could be the case, but I’m surprised that I haven’t found any records [of a second incident].”

But perhaps there’s a larger issue in play than historical accuracy. Whether it was one incident or two, says Davino, the men of the 2nd Infantry clearly performed their duties well, and perhaps prevented a catastrophic conflict between the two Koreas—something, unhappily, that could occur on the DMZ today, where American troops are still positioned and tensions are once again climbing.

“There was very bad stuff going on around the DMZ between 1966 and 1969, and it was at its absolute worst when Dennis was there,” Davino confirms. “It all could have gone deeply wrong very quickly, and if it had, it would’ve been unbelievably bloody.”

Klein is now a successful engineer living in Mill Valley. Thin and wiry, he is in his early 70s, although he looks younger. That’s due, perhaps, to his longtime avocation of running the Marin Headlands. (In 2013, he was in the news when he was rescued after tumbling off a trail during a run on Mount Tamalpais, an experience he wrote about for California Online.) He speaks rapidly and discursively, his face animated as he recalls specific events from his tour of duty at the DMZ almost 50 years ago.

Talking to him, an interlocutor has no doubt that whatever the details of the Freedom Bridge incident, Klein and his men were under immense daily stress. The record shows that many people died during the DMZ War. Anyone walking or driving near the wire knew that they could catch a sniper’s bullet, get shredded by an artillery shell, or encounter a hostile squad—or an invading division—of North Korean infantrymen at any time. In short, to paraphrase Davino, they knew that it could all go south, literally and figuratively, at any moment, and that they would be little more than mincemeat if it did.

Klein appreciates Davino’s analysis, emphasizing that he wants no personal recognition. He observes he was merely a draftee among a crowd of draftees, not a professional soldier seeking glory. But his fellow enlistees, he says, knew they had been entrusted with an important job and were determined to do it competently. “They were going to be the first ones to die if it ever came to total war,” he says. “But it wasn’t like Vietnam, where there was no clear mission, where people were completely disheartened.

“The men at the DMZ knew they had to hold the line. And they held it. That meant they were ready to fight and willing to die, but it also meant that they knew when to show restraint and compassion. And that’s what they did when those kids were climbing up the fence near Freedom Bridge.” 

Glen Martin is a frequent contributor to California.

From the Spring 2016 War Stories issue of California.
Image source: AP Photo, Smith Collection, Getty Images, Picture Alliance, Daniel Kalker, DPA, US War Dept
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Paju-ri This where I was in 1953 1st Marine DIVISION
I first went to South Korea with the military in 1976….. I have studied the country, North and South for almost 40 years…I don’t doubt the story
Note the first picture of the three GIs marching with M-16s. What’s missing? A clip in their riflea. These poor guys were defenseless if the NK attacked. Imagine a military that trains its soldiers to fight and then deprives them of the tools due to distrust in their ability to make the right decision.
They are not “marching” they are on patrol, the second trooper has a “magazine” in his weapon not a “clip”. ROI’s are ROI’s.
“Clip”? Unlike the M-1 Garand, the M-16s don’t use “clips.” Technically, they are magazine-fed weapons. So if you want to be correct, the M-16s are unloaded and missing their mags.
I remember the infiltrators from my time there on the DMZ. You would always expected them to come across. The biggest infiltration happen on July 1963. I saw the layout of the weapons from the dead North Koreans brought to the camp I was at. Chinese and Russian made. All armored vehicles were always fully loaded and ready to go.
In the July 1963 incident 3 GIs in a jeep were ambushed and killed North of the Imjin. The whole Ist Cavalry division went on full alert as well as the 7th I D. We deployed to our positions outside Camp Howze and later one hell of a firefight started. They determined it was friendly fire, but automatic gun fire, friendly or not, will get your attention. They did kill 2 or 3 infiltrators and I believe one more G I was killed. I don’t know if it made the papers or not.
I believe those guys had loaded ‘magazines’ in those pouches.
Nope. We only got ammo from the armorer when we went into the DMZ.
The Paju-ri Police Chief was said to have thrown one of those January 1968 Infilltrators on his own grenade when he pulled one upon capture. I was Co. Cmdr on the hill called “Charlie Block” between Paju-ri and Munsan-ni in B Co 707th Maintenance Bn from Jan 1967 to March 1968.
Bruce Adams, I was with HHC 1st/9th 2ID from April 67 until May of 68. In Dec. of 67 we transferred from Camp Custer to Camp Young over Libby Bridge. There we stayed until May of 68. Hostile fire pay was begun in April of 68 for those of us that served on the DMZ. KEEP UP THE FIRE!
There at same time , was in on the fire fight at motor pool flattop. A Sp4 Childers was wounded in the eye and lost that eye . Not anything went out about that fight .
Hey Larry, His name was Childress. Were you in the 1/79th Arty at that time?
Hello Mark. I was with the 1/79 arty at Hartell. Would love to see the yearbook pictures you said you have in one of your posts. Hope you see this. Have a Merry Christmas.
Email me at markann at gmail dot com
Hello. Good to hear from you. Thanks for responding. Will email.
2nd MP Co 2nd Infantry Div North Camp Custer Korea 1967-1969 2nd MP Co was 24/7 traffic security Freedom & Libby Bridges We were on patrol north of Libby Bridge that cold late December day that the 20 plus NK special forces were headed back from a failed assination mission to Seoul. They were headed bsck the way they crossed the DMZ days before. A Company of ROK soldiers engaged the NK on a mountain side. Heavy guy fight ROK soldiers win the engagement killing most all NK insurgents. Bodies were dragged down the mountin side riddled with bullet holes from the fight.
Did they come through tunnels or was I imaging that?
Bruce are you aware of a Korean child run over by one of our vehicles near Munsan-ni? I am trying to locate anyone familiar with that incident. I was in B Co 1/9th at Camp Custer and made a couple of trips to the top of Charlie Block and saw it every day. Let me know.
I was a PFC in HHB 1/79th Artillery, 7th ID at Camp Hartell, just South of Munsani at the time of the Pueblo and Blue House Raid. We were on the Munsani side of Charlie Block and our gun batteries were on the Paju side. We swept the hills around our compound and when they took the Pueblo we moved out to the field. We had a basic load of ammo for both our small arms and the 105’s. I they had come over the border we were cooked. As for the photo, it must be later than I was there because we had M-14’s not 16’s. Also, the first trooper does not have a magazine in his weapon but the second does.
I liked the movie of the 1/79th Artillery. I was living on the same compound, Camp Paine, on Charlie Bloc near Paju-ri with 1/79th, and could remember most of the officers shown but only a couple of names. Three Batteries of 105 towed howitzers and my Maintenance Company shared Camp Paine on Charlie Bloc.
Hi Bruce When were you there? I have electronic copies of 67-68 and 68-69 yearbooks from the 1/79th I’d be glad to share. I’m at markann at gmail dot com.
Thanks, I would appreciate seeing those 1/79th digital items. I am sure Lt Carl Schmidlapp, 1/79th from Camp Paine would also have an interest. Try
In the email!
I served in the area of the Korean DMZ from early 1968 to mid 1969. I believe that I served in the 1/79th, 7th Inf. Div at Camp Paine but time and failing health has eroded my memory. I’ve applied for VA benefits and need proof that I served at Camp Paine. I was assigned to the Maintenance Battalion, run by CWO Young and SSGT Braddock. Do you know of any records that exist to show that I was there? Are digital records available?
I was with HHC 2nd Brigade on Charlie Block, by Paju-ri. Crazy times back then.
I was Sgt E-5 Commo Chief of HHC 2nd Brigade 7th ID at Camp Dodge DMZ from March 1968 - March 1969. We were on DMZ as 4th Brigade HQ of 2nd ID. I still have copies of my orders.. We lived in Tents on North side of Freedom Bridge.
It’s weird how most of the 7th ID Arty was in the 2nd Id AO!
I went up to outpost kendrick (?) . When we got to a checkpoint the MP’S GAVE US FLAK JACKETS,checked us for ammo ( I alway carried 100 rounds ), made sure we had sandbagged the jeep ( to help diminish a mine blast if we ran over one) . After waiting for the road to be swept for mines we got the ok to move out. On one side of the road, was mine fields. The road was deeply rutted. There was some barracks that the 2nd ID had used but were now empty. They had gone to the field. I saw where they lived . It was a pig sty. The mortar pit was at the bottom of a hill next to the em club or day room I cant remember which one it was. All in all it was a dreary place
It is very possible that I may have encountered some of you guys during 67-68. I frequented all the Arty units occasionally. Especially during DIVARTY inspections. I was the DIVARTY Chemical Officer for Col. James Bates the DIVARTY Commanding Officer. At 70 now I can’t remember many names though. Those were exciting times. Col. Bates and I were returning from Seoul the night of the Blue House raid and were pulled over on MSR #1 and challenged by MP’s. The MP apologized to the Col. who said he would only have to apologize if he hadn’t checked us out. I was duty officer when the USS Pueblo was captured a few days later and things heated up even more. We put 50 calibers on the main gate, barricaded it with 2 1/2 trucks, boosted the perimeter guards and waited. Nothing happened though and after a few weeks things began to return to normal. One other instance sticks in my mind. One evening I was at one of the clubs where the had a dog had a habit for a drink of slow gin fiz. A long time ago and a long way off. Bayonet or hourglass. Take care guys and keep those wheel chairs and walkers in good shape. Ha Ha.
Hi. Father served 67-68. I am hoping to find anyone to connect him with. Thank you for your service.
I remember Col. Bates. I was assigned to HHB 7th Divarty, October 1967-November 1968 but was TDY my entire tour, first with 6/80th at Camp Knox and then with 2/8th at Camp Parris. I was a Chaplain’s Assistant and worked with Chaplain James Endress and then Chaplain John Trapold. Spent lots of time on the road going to all the Divarty units as well as in the field. The Blue House Raid and Pueblo capture were very tense times.
Hey Ross, I was in the HHB 1/79th Arty at Camp Hartell just South of Munsani. Do you remember where in the field we went during the Pueblo Crisis? I know we moved off of the Compound and hooked up with our gun batteries but I can’t remember where we went? Here’s some pics of Camp McDonald Barracks
Hello Mark. I used to drive my jeep to Camp Hartell every Sunday morning for chapel services. I don’t remember exactly where we were sent during the Pueblo crisis. We did pack up in everything and left the compound not sure if we’d ever be coming bsck. I do remember it was very cold in the field and I was with the guys in the Survey Section. We pulled perimeter guard duty and at night, when not on guard duty, huddled together in the back of a 3/4 ton truck trying to stay warm. I may have some photos of Camp Hartell. If I find them I’ll post them here.
Hey Ross, I just saw this. You can email me and markann at gmail dot com
I am looking for information about my uncle, Gary W. Schlecht. Army - Schlecht, Sgt. Gary William. 15 Mar 81. Sergeant Schlecht was a heavy anti-armor weapons infantryman when he was killed in an accident in Korea. On 15 March 1981, two armored personal carriers from C CO 1/31 mech infantry based at Camp Howze Korea sank in the Imjin River. Sergeant Schlect was one of the men who lost his life that day. The men were attached to the 17th Field Artillery, Second Infantry Division. If you have any information, I would greatly appreciate if you would contact me. Thank You!
I know this is a few years old, and I really can’t offer any info except to say that my husband was in Korea in C/Co when this happened. He remembers the incident well and has always kept the fallen in his heart. ❤️
Do you know which Battalion and Division? A Big Indian Head or a Red and Black Hour Glass?
I went to Korea in March 68 assigned to HHQ Co survey section 2/76 Arty I Corps .l lived like a king. Mess hall had a baker and we had fresh baked bread every meal. The barracks had forced air heating. When we went to the field we would survey in the big 8”track howitzers. I can’t remember anytime spent sleeping in the field Then around June , I was. transferred to the 2/8arty 7th I D. They had no forced air , no baker, and the quansett hut had holes in the metal sides We were a low priority 105mm unit about 3 miles from the Imjin River. I had occasion to go to the DMZ I carried 100+rnds, wore a MP armband,put on a flack jacket and sandbaged the jeep. The road was swept for mines before we could continue past a guard post maned by mp,s And along the sides of the muddy road there were signs reading “mines”. Back in our Company area,Camp Parris,momths later we paid the price in the winter. There wasn’t enough deisel for the space heaters. The pol sargent sold most of it before he ETS out. Our hooch had to relocate deisel from a tank heating the officers BOQ to our hooch. In the morning you could see the snow that had come through the sides pf the hooch The winter of 68-69 was one cold MF
Army 76 engineers B company 69/70 tent city
I was a Spec 4 Demolition Specialist assigned to B Co 11th CE BN, I Corps, 36th Engr. Group, 8th US Army. I was stationed at Camp Stanley, Uijeongbu. In the spring of 67’ we were deployed to a TDY station at Camp Brown, in Paju-ri to assist the 2nd Inf Div in maintaining the roads on the DMZ. It is believed that there may have been two Camp Browns in SOKO, the one that was our TDY base of operation was outside the village of Yongjugol SOKO. I remember route 3, route 63 and route 78 converging around the Camp Brown area. In 67’- 68’ when I was in country there were a lot of washboard roads . The worst I recall was the route from Camp Stanley at Uijeongbu to Camp Red Cloud. I was in country from April 67’ until my Father passed away in March of 68’. Missed my ‘E5 board’ by a week, headed back to the world on March 18th 68’, E5 Board was scheduled for March 25th 68’. I remember the NOKO 31 man commando assassination team alert. A Co and B Co of the 11th CE BN were pulling security duty at the mouth of a valley outside of Uijoengbu. When the USS Pueblo was taken we were ‘rousted’ out of our racks around o200 hrs and told “Go to supply draw your weapons and a full combat load of ammunition”. At dawn on January 23rd 1968 we were standing on the DMZ watching the sun rise. Looking through a pair of field glasses I could see all the NOKO artillery pieces pointed in different directions at different elevations and no longer housing dust caps in the cannon muzzles. Serious….! We had been told that NOKO had a one million man military armed force. I believe the United States and SOKO had a 50,000 man military force at that time. 20 to one is not good odds for sure. Even if the number for NOKO having a 350,000 man military force that’s a 7 to one ratio, a little better but; seriously not really favorable. In our 2nd Inf Div area of operation in the time I was there 8 GI’s were killed and 11 ROK soldiers were killed. Insurgent ambushes mostly, satchel charges and machine guns. When I got home, as most of you who served there probably found out, there was no MSM information on what was transpiring in Korea then. Below is a link for a post Korean War - KOREA MAP - with USFK CAMPS (& other USFK properties) LOCATED “The Munsan Corridor” (aka “The Kae Seong Corridor”) The Western portion of the 2nd Inf Div area ~ 20 Km Northwest of Seoul to the DMZ “SECOND TO NONE” I encourage you to peruse the site, I gleaned a lot of geographical information from it. If you scroll down below the segmented sectioned map to find the units that history tells us were stationed at those Camps, or by just using the name of the Camp itself that you’re looking for; it will coordinate the location on the Map segment and the location in that segment as to the location of that Camp and where it can be found in that grid.
I was stationed at Camp Kaiser 2nd squadron 10 cav.1167 to 12/68. On 8/19/69 were called out on alert,going up to the DMZ we were crossing the Imjim river when a scout vehicle in front of my tank went under,a Sgt.Andrew Woods was washed out of the scout vehicle,they put us down river to look for his body. I never heard while i was there if they found his body.The 8th Army has no record of his drowning ,just sayimg he died in korea,if u remember this please call me at 315 281 4025,or my Gmail, or write to me,Don Cotter,po.Box 151 Chittenango, NY. Thank u,
SGT. (E5) John Butler in Korea in 1967 and 1968. I was first stationed at Camp Wentzel north of the Imjin River and then later at Camp Custer south of the Imjin. North of the river did patrols and Barrier duty. South of the river training and security on the south side of the Imjin. Interesting times. “Not that it was exactly soft duty in Korea. In 1967 and 1968, fire across the DMZ was commonplace. “Seven GIs were killed by gunfire in 1967 alone,” recalls Klein. “You were always aware of snipers and infiltrators.” The Blue House raid only deepened the sense of impending and catastrophic conflict, he says. And if things did fall apart, it was only too clear what that would mean to the few thousand men of the 2nd and 7th Infantry Divisions arrayed in defensive positions along the DMZ. “Basically, there were 350,000 North Korean soldiers facing us on the other side of the zone,” he says. “We had no illusions about our odds.” 90% casualties was the estimate bandied around by GIs if the North Koreans came south in significant numbers. The 90% was the official estimate I think. 90
Correction to previous comment. I’ve since learned that I was assigned to C Battery, 4/76 Arty, 7th Infantry Division, at Camp Ethan Allen. After seeing old pics I took of vehicles in the camp I confirmed that my old unit was the 4th of the/76th and later learned that HQ was located at Camp Sill. With the help of others I learned that C Battery was at Camp Ethan Allen. Thank you all for your help and support. God bless.
Patrick, if they are claiming they can’t give you disability benefits because your records burned in the warehouse fire in St. Louis in 1973, you can cut thru that bullshit with a VA approved attorney specializing in VA disability claims. They use that bullshit to deny claims by all of us who served during that era.
Did you serve with Earl Lee Atkinson while you were in South Korea ? If you do and recall please call me at 608-567-8033
Also assigned to 4/76 Arty Sept 69 to 70 and on DMZ in spring.