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Thu Jun 2, 2022, 01:35 PM

Anyone do the Korean DMZ? [View all]

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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Reply Anyone do the Korean DMZ? [View all]
HAB911 Jun 2022 OP
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