Panmunjom DMZ/JSA

#1
hello amy of you Americans have ever served at Panmunjom ?
I'm planning a trip to South Korea, I find it quite interesting to have Nk and SK devided by a concrete strip, I was under the inpression that there is no contact and no communication between the two sides, yet i see this photo of US and NK troops standing side by side.



Do the troops of both sides come out when there is a JSA visit ? as in some pics I have seen ONLY NK troops and in others Just SK and US troop and no NKs

No US and SK troops

No NK troops

whats going there ?

view from NK

is things quite cordial there ? also any little bits of info of what to look for and spots of interest or information that an ordinary tourist wouldn't know about ?

being a military buff, I'm bound to be looking at the NK soldiers uniform and equipment with interest.


Im visiting as part of my World tour in 12 months time, I am in the planning stage and working out costs and budget for 9 weeks travel.
 
#2
It's been several years since I was there, and in fact I've never been inside Pan Mun Jom, but I was stationed on Guard Post Oulleitte overlooking the facilities. That would have been in 1988.

There are almost no US soldiers left in the JSA Bn anymore. As I understand it, those few rarely go inside Pan Mun Jom. There's been a push for several years to turn things in SK over to the South Korean military.

From what little I observed, the two sides don't really interact (except across the truce tables) but they do, from time to time, find themselves in close proximity. Troops from both sides appear at various times for probably routine tasks and there are workers brought in as well to perform maintenance tasks.

That probably didn't help much... I hope you enjoy your trip, semper. It's quite an interesting place.
 
#3
I served in S. Korea for 2 years from 1990-92 with 8/8 FA. We did a final full 6 week rotation at 4P3 live fire base that supported the troops stationed in the JSA. We turned it over to the SK Forces after our rotation.

During that time I got a chance to visit Panmujom and take a tour. The tour is guided and the soldier(s) giving the tour is/are very knowledgable.

You don't really have an opportunity to walk around on your own. During the tour UN MP's weapons at the ready are stationed at the corners of the buildings with half their body exposed; that's what you are seeing in one of the pictures. The MPs remain in that position as long as visitors are in the area.

It is not uncommon for you to see armed NK's meandering around the north sides of the buildings smoking and looking into the conference room. Of which you have some pictures as well.

The conference room is the only place where you can actually walk over to the north, and we spent about 10 minutes in there and were briefed on some of the history, such as day long negotiation over the flags that are on the table.

Our tour included a bus rid around the DMZ and we saw where Cpt Bonafis (spelling?) was killed and operation Paul Bunnion took place.

Let's just say that the tour is not like disney world and you are briefed and given alot of information in a short time. They have a gift shop and some books, I suggest that you look through the selection and pick some up so you can refresh your memory on the long drive back to where ever you are staying. Your tour may or may not include a visit to some of the tunnels that have been detected by the SK's and are staffed 24/7 with armed SK troopers pointing the business end of MG's toward the north.

Hope that helps.
 
#4
The very top picture predates Operation Paul Bunyan. Before the axe murders, the JSA was an open area which allowed personnel to walk on either side of the border. Afterwards, the JSA was 'hard-divided', and no crossings by anyone were allowed outside of the conference room.

The North Korean guards, when tourists show up, are positioned in such a way as they'll stop anyone from making a break for the border. (When such things happen, things can get messy: Ordinarily, only MPs with sidearms are around, but both sides have conventionally armed troops stationed just up the road and there have been a few firefights caused. Then tourists show up in the South, the ROK guards are there to stop any 'snatch' parties from crossing the border and grabbing someone. That's why they stand as they do: In cover, but standing out far enough that they can see.

Bonifas is proud of the world's most dangerous Golf Course.

After you hit the JSA, most people swing by and check out the infiltration tunnels.

NTM
 
#5
CT when I was there the NK's had AK-47's hanging over their shoulders and were milling around the windows looking in smoking, laughing and I guess joking around. The only guards at the ready were the Blue Helmets on the south side (actually they didn't have blue helmets just UN flashes) and helmets with MP painted on them.

Thanks for correcting my crap spelling.
 
#6
#7
Cheers chaps found this to be a quite interesting thread, found this article about Operation Paul Bunyan,
In addition, a 64 man ROK special forces company accompanied them, armed with clubs and trained in Tae Kwon Do, supposedly without firearms. However, once they parked their trucks near the Bridge of No Return, they started throwing out the sandbags that lined the truck bottoms, and handing out M-16 rifles and M-79 grenade launchers that had been concealed below. Several of the special forces men also had Claymore mines strapped to their chests with the firing mechanism in their hands, and were shouting at the North Koreans to cross the bridge.
Mad Fcukers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axe_Murder_Incident
 
#8
As 1 of the 3 British soldiers serving with the Commonwealth Liaison Mission in Seoul in 1983 I would encourage you to visit the DMZ and make sure that you take in all that it represents. There were 55,000 US troops in country then, and countless SK troops. All were prepared for the expected NK invasion. Do not know current strengths but I would think that it is radicaly reduced (needed else where). Try to visit the War Cemetary at Pusan and "The Glosters Hill" Hill 235 overlooking the Imjin and try to relate to how it must have been. The Forgotten War - but not to those who served there !!
 
#9
CrustyBmech said:
As 1 of the 3 British soldiers serving with the Commonwealth Liaison Mission in Seoul in 1983 I would encourage you to visit the DMZ and make sure that you take in all that it represents. There were 55,000 US troops in country then, and countless SK troops. All were prepared for the expected NK invasion. Do not know current strengths but I would think that it is radicaly reduced (needed else where). Try to visit the War Cemetary at Pusan and "The Glosters Hill" Hill 235 overlooking the Imjin and try to relate to how it must have been. The Forgotten War - but not to those who served there !!
Cheers for that, I am also considering doing a trip in North Korea as well via Beijing as you have to go the long way round, all on the same world trip, I will have the opportunity of seeing it from both side and perspectives of the Korean war, if I can pull it off , I will be able to visit DMZ on both sides as well as seeing the Last Stalinist theme park in the world.

I have been told that if I have a NK stamp on my passport that would mean I won't be able to enter USA again on this passport , can anybody confirm this ?
I for one can't see the point of that.


edited for speeling
 
#10
semper said:
I have been told that if I have a NK stamp on my passport that would mean I won't be able to enter USA again on this passport , can anybody confirm this ?
I for one can't see the point of that.
Sounds like an urban myth. Or possibly someone has extended the ban on US citizens traveling to NK and stretched it to be inclusive of anyone. Still a myth.
 
#11
Just following some other links about the DMZ and the axe murders and it transpires that the very man that started the whole incident Lt Pak Chol, was killed in the JSA in the mid 80's during a firefight.

Besides the brutal deaths of Major Bonifas and First Lieutenant Barrett, 59 other Americans and 377 ROK soldiers have also made the supreme sacrifice in defense of freedom and democracy in Korea since the Armistice.

In 1984, a firefight occurred at Pan Mun Jom when Vasily Matauzik, a Soviet citizen visiting North Korea, ran across the Military Demarcation Line (boundary between North and South) to defect.

North Korean guards immediately started firing at him and ran across the line in pursuit. JSA soldiers returned overwhelming fire against the North Koreans, killing 3 and wounding 5. One JSA soldier, Corporal Jang Myung Ki, was killed and one, Corporal Michael Burgoyne, was wounded.

One of the 3 North Korean soldiers killed turned out to be Captain Pak Chol. In 1976, he had ordered the murders of Bonifas and Barrett. Captain Pak, aka "Bulldog", was taken out by a JSA soldier firing a 40mm grenade launcher. It was a direct hit.
http://merrymadmonk.blogspot.com/2004/12/merry-mad-monks-of-dmz.html
 
#12
What a GREAT end for that POS Captain Pak Chol

May he burn in Hell!
 
#13
sawdusty said:
semper said:
I have been told that if I have a NK stamp on my passport that would mean I won't be able to enter USA again on this passport , can anybody confirm this ?
I for one can't see the point of that.
Sounds like an urban myth. Or possibly someone has extended the ban on US citizens traveling to NK and stretched it to be inclusive of anyone. Still a myth.
mm would also having a NK visa on my Passport cause me difficutltes in SK ?
there are two way of obtaining it , in UK thru the NK embassy or picking it up in Beijing NK embassy organised by a tour group.
 
#14
semper said:
mm would also having a NK visa on my Passport cause me difficutltes in SK ?
there are two way of obtaining it , in UK thru the NK embassy or picking it up in Beijing NK embassy organised by a tour group.
I don't believe so. I've read the itinerary of another UK citizen that visited both sides of the DMZ and he encountered no problems. In fact, I'm even thinking they didn't actually stamp his passport but instead gave him some sort of temporary travel visa which they then took back as he left the country.

I'll see if I can find that and post a link.
 
#15
Found one account by an American. It's pretty close to the other one though. About 11 pages long:

North Korea

A video from the North side:

Video

Someones account from the South side:

DMZ trip

Mind, these may or may not be quite accurate due to age.
 
#16
Thanks Sawdusty, I will look through them, any information is useful, keep them coming.
the Uk account would be relevent and useful if you can find it.

Much appreciated mate
 
#17
semper said:
Thanks Sawdusty, I will look through them, any information is useful, keep them coming.
the Uk account would be relevent and useful if you can find it.

Much appreciated mate
Absolutely. I expect plenty of pictures when you get back though. It's been twenty years since I stomped around in the DMZ and I'd be curious to see what things look like.

Whilst there, you might ask some of the JSA folks about the tiger. Rumor had it back then that a Siberian tiger was residing in the DMZ (probably due to cover and availability of game). I've seen rather convincing tracks myself on patrols.
 
#18
While cleaning up my home office I found these pictures of my '91 visit to the DMZ and the JSA.

Truce Village


SK Visitor Center



Site of OP Paul Bunyan



SGT Roo -- was a KATUSA assigned to my section. Two days later I punch the lazy cnut in the face, he's the short one in civ dress. Lazy f'ing git



NK Spy Tower



NK Guards Milling Around



NK Visitor center---The building is just a facade about 10m wide from front to back



Guards getting ready for us to enter the conf room



I think this is called the freedom pagoda


The bridge of no return????
 
#20
ctauch said:
NK Visitor center---The building is just a facade about 10m wide from front to back
More like 10feet wide from front to back.

NTM
 

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