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Thu Jun 2, 2022, 02:35 PM

Anyone do the Korean DMZ?

HHC 3RD BDE 2nd Div

We were 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. Right at the end of my tour the Army replaced the switchboard with a Stromberg XY dial office. Before being drafted in the Marines in 1969 and joining the Army instead, I had worked for GTE.

Only 17 years after hostilities was basic 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 only allowed to wear civilian clothes 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. We saw 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's diesels would not start either. You will notice in the barracks we each had a cabinet stuffed with as much personal stuff 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, and only three months past my 20th birthday.

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”, but it did.

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

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Anyone do the Korean DMZ? (Original post)
HAB911 Jun 2022 OP
cloudbase Jun 2022 #1
HAB911 Jun 2022 #2
Martin68 Jun 2022 #3
HAB911 Jun 2022 #4
yonder Jun 2022 #5
HAB911 Jun 2022 #11
Easterncedar Jun 2022 #6
HAB911 Jun 2022 #9
HAB911 Jun 2022 #10
Easterncedar Jun 2022 #12
HAB911 Jun 2022 #13
GP6971 Jun 2022 #7
HAB911 Jun 2022 #8

Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Thu Jun 2, 2022, 03:10 PM

1. Chinhae for me. n/t

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Response to cloudbase (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 2, 2022, 03:18 PM

2. Civilization!

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Thu Jun 2, 2022, 03:32 PM

3. Thanks for sharing!

I'm encouraged to finish cleaning up my Dad's slides from Guam, where he served during the Korean War.

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Response to Martin68 (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 2, 2022, 03:37 PM

4. My next project may be my dad's

trove of photos from New Guinea, he was a SeaBee on a PT boat base

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Thu Jun 2, 2022, 04:23 PM

5. Thanks for the glimpse into what life was like there.

I saw a Bob Hope show at Clark Field, must have been 1967 though I only remember him and Raquel Welch. It was a hell of a lot warmer than 16F and much less stark too.

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Response to yonder (Reply #5)

Fri Jun 3, 2022, 06:54 AM

11. I really felt bad for the women in dresses

it was a brutal day

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Thu Jun 2, 2022, 04:24 PM

6. Wonderful, painful, beautiful

Such young men. So thin. So tough.

I really appreciate your sharing those. The scenery seems both austere and spectacular - I had no real idea of it at all.

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Response to Easterncedar (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 3, 2022, 06:51 AM

9. It was very beautiful in a strange way

but unnatural way. Now the country down south was truly beautiful.

I was recently reminded by someone seeing the photos that Agent Orange was widely used to suppress the vegetation, wondering if I had any severe health problems (thankfully not) . That reminded me that there were also frequent clear burning of areas that were always at a distance from us.

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Response to Easterncedar (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 3, 2022, 06:53 AM

10. felt like something I should share

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Response to HAB911 (Reply #10)

Fri Jun 3, 2022, 03:36 PM

12. I like your tagline

Actually comforting!

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Response to Easterncedar (Reply #12)

Fri Jun 3, 2022, 03:58 PM

13. I must give attribution to

Mark Twain

That sentiment, and my deeply held joy that I have existed for a short time with the capacity to understand the universe, in an extremely limited fashion, is all that gets me through the night. What more could we ever wish for?

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Thu Jun 2, 2022, 08:56 PM

7. I went to Camp Bonifas a couple of times

during the 3 winters my unit supported Team Spirit in the late 80s. We operated out of Humphreys during the exercises.

They were mainly recons in support of the overall war plans for the peninsula.

Not a fun place (Camp Bonifas).

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Response to GP6971 (Reply #7)

Fri Jun 3, 2022, 06:44 AM

8. The 3rd rotated to Camp Howze

as I was leaving, that was the only other location I was familiar with.

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