Demilitarized Zone

Demilitarized Zone, Korea, 1953
The Armistice is still in effect.

After the demilitarized zone separating the United Nations and those ofthe Chinese-Korean forces was established, both sides erected observationtowers at strategically situated points.

By these means, it was possible to register all violations of thearmistice agreement, details of which were noted, collated and finallypresented to the appropriate representatives at Panmunjom.

Much to the bewilderment of my Commanding Officer, I was selected as thefirst officer of our brigade to command a small force to monitor aspecific sector which, as a junior officer, was a great honour and immenseresponsibility.

Much later, I found out that I had been specifically selected for the taskby the Divisional Commander, who happened to be aware of my linguisticabilities (although I had no knowledge of Chinese!)

My duties included the rostering of observers and the arrangement ofreconnaissance patrols specifically formed for the purpose ofsurveillance of our designated DMZ sector.

I was required to keep meticulously prepared records and charts of everysingle detail observed including smoke traces , sounds and relatedphenomena.

My soldiers had to undergo somewhat of a metamorphosis by being meticulouslydressed and turned out, in stark contrast with their more relaxed turn-out during the combat period.

This was a requirement because we were paid constant visits by seniorofficers familiarising themselves with the prevailing situation.

As a reward for my endeavours at the DMZ, I was given the most interestingand rewarding posting to Panmunjom to observe the exchange of prisoners ofwar.

The most exciting and happy experience of that task was my being the firstAustralian officer to see my mate, Lieutenant Charles Yacopetti, whom Ilast saw a few months earlier during a patrol action which I attendedunder his leadership, resulting in my being seriously wounded and hiscapture by the enemy.

The accompanying picture portrays my inspection of one of my DMZpatrols.

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