ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on February 19th, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Picture of the Day: Daeseong-dong Graduation

Four graduates of Daeseong-dong Elementary School enter their graduation ceremony in Daeseong-dong, the only South Korean village in the entire southern portion of the Demilitarized Zone. The village sits just 1,115 feet from the border of North Korea. (Joint press corps-Yonhap)

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  • John Nowell
    4:22 pm on February 19th, 2014 1

    Sadly my official duties never included escorting VIPs into Daeseong-dong village. I passed by the restricted road into the village on my way into and out of Panmunjom on escort duty for visisting dignitaries giving them a brief glimpse into North Korea from the Truce Village of Panmunjom. I made those trips from time to time in late 1968 up until 1993 while working with the United States Forces Korea/Eighth United States Army, Public Affairs Office. No matter how many times I went to Panmunjom the hair on the back of my neck rose up as we entered the site and didn’t relax until we were safely out of the area. Anything could have happend in an instant. So, I applaud the villagers who live in Daeseong-dong for their steadfast living in an area where anything can happen. Congratulations to the graduating class from the Daeseong-dong Elementary School. What a magnificent achievement for those four students and all the students who preceded them. What a great story!

  • Bob
    6:55 pm on February 19th, 2014 2

    #1,
    1968 to 1993? Impressive.

  • James Lee
    6:58 pm on February 19th, 2014 3

    I remember being fascinated by this unique village as my patrol would pass by in the wee hours of a frigid winter morning. The smell of yonton smoke hanging silver in the starlit sky , over the pastel-colored tile roofs. An oasis of normalcy within the buffer zone of the planet`s most dangerous militarized border. How and why would anybody choose to live here , we asked each other. It was a surreal scene most of us will never forget. We were told the residents paid no taxes and enjoyed other perks , but most of the information we got was vague. They must have grown accustomed to the incessant propaganda and taunts from the North and been very brave and resilient , knowing full well their collective fate in the event of an invasion or military action.

  • John Nowell
    7:01 pm on February 19th, 2014 4

    Bob:

    I came to Korea in January 1965 and with the exception of 3 and 1/2 years have lived and worked here to the present time. I’ve seen humungous changes since my first day in country.

  • Leon LaPorte
    7:44 pm on February 19th, 2014 5

    4?

  • 2ID Doc
    7:58 pm on February 19th, 2014 6

    There are more people there in uniform than there are graduates. Only on the DMZ would you see that.

  • Mcgeehee
    4:07 am on February 20th, 2014 7

    #1. I envy you’re Korean tenure. Q: Where were you on ax murder day?

  • John Nowell
    4:41 am on February 20th, 2014 8

    Sadly I was on leave in California leading a 12 member team of young Korean Taekwon-do students on tour and making demonstrations for a variety of organizations located in Los Angeles and San Francisco for two weeks. When I returned to Korea, UNC/USFK/EUSA et al were deep into Operation ‘Paul Bunyan’ to chop down that tree. Of course, that incident became a major talking point when ever I took successive VIPs to Panmunjom. We also did the tour of Tunnel #3 and that was prior to the short rail cars they have now taking groups down in to the tunnel. It was funny when I was taking these mostly elderly folks down into the tunnel and cautioning them about being careful going down and up the 45 degree incline, small Korean students would race by us going down and racing back up. I’ve banged my head a few times on the ceiling of that tunnel even though I was wearing a helmet it could still be a hard jolt. ha, ha!

  • Bob
    7:34 am on February 20th, 2014 9

    #4 and 8,

    Fascinating stuff.

    PS. Did they remove the rail cars from the tunnels? There were some the last time I went many years ago, but that’s what it sounded like when I spoke to two elderly gentlemen after they had toured the DMZ last year.

  • BIJ
    9:21 pm on February 20th, 2014 10

    What do you call that gentleman’s camo uniform? It is an odd coloring.

  • John Nowell
    5:09 pm on February 23rd, 2014 11

    #9 Bob -
    I haven’t been to tunnel #3 since April 2005 when I went up with my mother and her older sister. I wouldn’t think the rail cars would be taken out. There are other tunnels which may not have rail cars and they have tours also. Perhaps you may have heard from some who didn’t see Tunnel #3, but another tunnel.

 

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