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Thu May 26, 2022, 12:07 PM

Everyone is invited to the DMZ Circa 1970

Last edited Sat Jun 11, 2022, 07:50 AM - Edit history (1)

First, a foundation

Our Company was all about command communications, radio, telephone, teletype, and satchel. My squad, which you will see repetitious photos of, among other things ran a courier service to Panmunjom daily and I was in charge of the Brigade switchboard and operators. The photos are not what one might expect from the DMZ. Photography was forbidden on the fence, so there would have been none of that anyway. (I did nab a couple of outpost photos)

Life only 17 years after cessation of hostilities was better than combat living conditions (we were paid hostile fire pay, same as my brothers that were dying in VN, $80/month as I remember). Barracks were single story fiberglass coated plywood with diesel space heaters, one big room with 100 bunk beds. We were allowed to wear civilian clothes ONLY after going south of the river, never in the DMZ. All dirt roads right up to the end of my tour when units rotated south of the river. I experienced 100 F and no wind during the summer, and -65 F wind chill during the winter (we had inflatable ‘mickey mouse” boots and warm parkas). When it was that cold, everyone relaxed because you knew NK diesels would not start either. You will notice in the barracks we each had a cabinet stuffed with as much personal items as it would hold. We never had “inspections”, really relaxed for grunt life. I guess being sacrificial had its benefits, had hostilities happened, the bridge would be blown and we would hang on as long as possible.

I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent cleaning and restoring these 52-year-old negatives and slides. A few at the end I left “as is” because it definitely fit the mood, BURNED OUT. I wasn’t sure what to expect emotionally with the project, a few tears and more than a few laughs for sure. Photographically, these are not the photos I would take today. This was my first SLR, with a barely 20-year-old brain, but I can see glimmers of composition forming. Today I would spend much more time south of the river photographing a very beautiful country and wonderful people.

I co-opted a sign photo to separate the sections, Bob Hope, JSA/Panmunjom, Freedom Bridge and south to Seoul, around the Company area, some fun stuff, switchboard, portraits (notice original minefields sign), and finally, what it was like after 12 months.

Enjoy would not be the correct term, but I hope you find it at least interesting. It is exactly like being there, except completely different. My final thought at completion was, “I can’t believe this actually happened”

https://jamesdevore.smugmug.com/60-YEAR-JOURNEY-IN-PHOTOGRAPHY/DEMILITERIZED-ZONE-CIRCA-1970

11 replies, 660 views

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Reply Everyone is invited to the DMZ Circa 1970 (Original post)
HAB911 May 2022 OP
Chin music May 2022 #1
HAB911 May 2022 #6
3Hotdogs May 2022 #2
HAB911 May 2022 #7
murielm99 May 2022 #3
HAB911 May 2022 #8
George McGovern May 2022 #4
HAB911 May 2022 #9
Ziggysmom May 2022 #5
HAB911 May 2022 #10
HAB911 Jul 29 #11

Response to HAB911 (Original post)


Response to Chin music (Reply #1)

Sat May 28, 2022, 07:27 AM

6. thank you!

i hoped to give a view of something very few would ever see

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 12:16 PM

2. Bob Hope... there was a mensch.

As I recall it, the Navy had contracted with the Village People ... I don't recall whether it was for a U.S.O. tour or for recruitment efforts.
"In The Navy," was popular at that time. Then someone explained to the brass, what the song might be about. They cancelled the Village People.

Bob Hope announced that if they weren't going, he wasn't going.

Bo Hope defeated the U.S. Navy.



Great photos.. Thanks for all the effort you put in.

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Reply #2)

Sat May 28, 2022, 07:30 AM

7. LOL

the show was just a little taste of home even if the ladies were wearing parkas! Not to forget Les Brown & His Band Of Renown in the background!

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 01:09 PM

3. Impressive collection.

Thank you.

It is clear this had a big impression on your life.

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Response to murielm99 (Reply #3)

Sat May 28, 2022, 07:33 AM

8. oh yes, first foray into management

that served me well for the following 42 years in telecommunications, not to mention photography!

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 11:30 PM

4. Excellent effort HAB911. And Very Successful!

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Response to George McGovern (Reply #4)

Sat May 28, 2022, 07:33 AM

9. thank you!

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Sat May 28, 2022, 01:42 AM

5. I REALLY enjoyed that. Thank you!

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Response to Ziggysmom (Reply #5)

Sat May 28, 2022, 07:34 AM

10. excellent! just a little time machine thing

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Fri Jul 29, 2022, 07:09 AM

11. I stay away from posting politics on the haven photography board, but

this hit way too close to home yesterday in the context of my DMZ gallery and information I recently found out about a close friend during my year there. I just need to share it, and cross post to the veterans board.


GOP senators block bill expanding care for veterans exposed to toxins

Republican lawmakers blocked passage of a bill in the U.S. Senate Wednesday that expands healthcare coverage for military veterans who were exposed to toxins and burn pits during their service.

All Democrats and eight Republicans voted for the Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act, but the 55 yes votes fell short of the 60 needed to end a filibuster in the Senate. Three Senators did not vote.

The PACT Act, which the House passed earlier this month, would enable additional healthcare coverage for more than three million veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits and Vietnam-era veterans exposed to the deadly herbicide Agent Orange.

https://news.yahoo.com/gop-senators-block-bill-expanding-032616654.html


I recently found that in February 2011, the Veterans Administration published its final regulation regarding the PRESUMPTION OF HERBICIDE EXPOSURE (AGENT ORANGE) as it pertains to veterans who served in or near the Korean DMZ during the Vietnam War. Specifically, VA now PRESUMES HERBICIDE EXPOSURE for any veteran who served on the DMZ between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971.
I was assigned to HHC 3rd Brigade 2nd Infantry Division from March 1970 to March 1971 on the DMZ.

I just learned my close friend for that year, passed away from neuroendocrine cancer Due to the rate of increase in my PSA, we just did an hour long CT scan and will most likely have to get a biopsy. If you are unfamiliar with a prostate biopsy, DO NOT google it, LOL.

The irony here is that in 1969, a year or so before the draft lottery was instituted, and after working a year and a half in my profession, I was drafted in the Marines. Being a firm believer that to do the job Marines have to do, one must actually want to be a Marine, and the fact that in 1969 Marines were coming home in body bags faster than 707s could fly them to VN, I joined the Army to stay in communications. What at that time, was jumping out of the frying pan and thinking I cleared the fire with room to spare, has turned out to only have bought me 53 years, but now the fire catches up and I still get burned.

Sorry to drag things down but writing, in addition to photography and my DMZ gallery, helps me get through the night, as they say.

On a lighter note, I will soon complete a new gallery of photos taken in 1976 during the Bicentennial. While driving around for work, which I did a lot, stopping to shoot anything and everything Bicentennial related!

Foretold is Forewarned! And, Vote Democratic up and down the ticket.

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