Talk:Joint Security Area

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Section Breakouts[edit]

I decided to create the 'Unit History (UNC)' in case information ever becomes available on the history of the KPA contingent, at which time it will be easy to create a 'Unit History (KPA)' section. wbfergus 18:29, 3 December 2006 (UTC)


Are the ROKA soldiers at the JSA really part of the KATUSA program or do they simply work alongside American soldiers? Several references in this article indicate they are all KATUSA. There are plenty of ROKA soldiers at the JSA wearing their own uniforms. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:36, 25 April 2008 (UTC)


Is that section actually real? Or is it just vandalism. Just shows how silly war is.

Yep, it's real. When the UNC side does something like making a new building, the North Koreans respond fairly soon by modifying one of theirs to be larger, or building one bigger. When I was there back in the mid to late '70's, one of the requirements for all American volunteers was that we had to be at least 6 feet tall. That was one area the North Koreans really had difficulty trying to top us. wbfergus 12:40, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

NO, NO and again NO!! The flag story is apocryphal (really I mean to say utter BS) perpetuated by people too lazy to actually research what went on. This fabrication is grounded in truth and the real (minor) incident can be found in Vice Admiral Turner Joy's Negotiating While Fighting. NO MENTION OF ANY DISCUSSIONS ABOUT FLAG SIZES FOR THE DELEGATIONS CAN BE FOUND IN ANY (REPEAT ANY) OF THE MAC, SECRETARY, SECURITY OFFICER OR JOINT DUTY OFFICER MEETINGS. Somebody with more privilege than I have needs to amend this section of the page. As for the "the North Koreans respond fairly soon" above, sure, each side tried to outdo the other; mind you, most of the responses took years, maybe decades, to accomplish. And one final opinion; war is not silly, it's an extension of politics by other means and as such is deadly serious, as all struggle for power is. Aidan Bothwell

Well I have BEEN to the JSA and that particular story about the flags, buildings, etc, was pretty spot on with what I was told by several soldiers, tour guides, and by some souvenir books I purchased (now if I could just find them...). Hell, when it comes down to it, I've actually been in North Korea, if that helps the discussion any. I know for a fact that the N Korean flag is larger, but is believed to have been made of inferior fabric and is routinely replaced. I also know for a fact that the S Korean soldiers on the border are REQUIRED to be six feet tall and are handpicked from the line troops. BQZip01 talk 06:49, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
The world's history would be in pretty sad shape if the only "real" history consisted of "official" written records. I do not consider myself too lazy to actually research what went on. I served two years there at the JSA in the mid and late '70's and saw many of these events first-hand. The flags themselves were only the topic of discussion at one meeting, period.
Regarding the accuracy of "official written records", the "official" story from the Pentagon regarding the Axe-Murder (I have a copy of the article) states that the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) was over a mile from the DMZ at the time of the incident, and that is why reinforecments were slow to arrive. In actuality, Camp Kitty Hawk (now Camp Bonifas) was only about 100 meters from the DMZ, while the QRF site is actually within the DMZ and fairly close to the JSA. After the fight started, the QRF immediately deployed to the JSA and halted at CP#2. The 3rd Plt Leader didn't want to enter the JSA and violate the Armistice restriction on the number of armed guards within the JSA at any one time, so he waited trying to get confirmation from Capt. Bonifas who was already dead. Finally LTC Vierra contacted him and ordered him into the JSA. Here's an excerpt from an email I received from a buddy who was working at CP#2 on that day:
"Thirdly, to answer the question about who recovered the USA soldiers bodies? It was 3rd Platoon. The information below, "In actuallity, the QRF was sitting in their trucks at CP#2, at the entrance to the JSA, at the beginning of the fight with the 3rd Plt. Ldr awaiting authorization from Capt. Bonifas (who was already dead) for authorization to go in, right smack dab in the middle of the DMZ," is a very accurate statement. Moreover, it took the actual JSA CDR, on this day, to order the 3rd Platoon Leader to go in to recover the bodies.
Lastly, Mike, as you may recall, the above quoted statement truly supports what I have been telling you, M.S. (from the History Channel) and others all along. And, that is, that I was assigned to UNC CP#2 at the time of the August 18, 1976, Axe-Murder Incident. When I initially saw the QRF platoon approaching my guardpost, I was somewhat happy that help was coming. Contrary to what was stated by the 3rd Platoon Leader during the December 28, 2004, airing of the documentary, it was he in the lead vehicle (and not an E-7 Platoon SGT) that I vigorously tried to wave into the JSA -- but my request fell on death ears. Instead, the foregoing platoon leader, subsequently, got out of his vehicle, went into my checkpoint, and then called the JSA CDR, whom, upon his arrival to UNC Check Point #2, ordered him to go in. You can imagine how much time had elapsed! I was saddened by his actions.
I specifically remember this aspect of the incident because due to my assignment at CP2, the LTC ordered me to assure that the soldiers congregating around to view CPT Bonifas' body did not, in fact, see him. I did, and I have been living with the residuals of it ever since. That's why I am telling this story, as it actually occurred."
BTW, my name is Bill, and the reference to Mike above is to another buddy of mine who was also included on the email. I also changed a person's name to just their initials in case they don't want their name known, and in all fairness to the 3rd Plt Leader, he had only been in Korea for a couple weeks at the time of the incident. At any rate, like my buddy who sent the email, he has had to live with the knowledge of his actions all these years as well, probably second guessing himself daily. wbfergus 11:25, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

The Flag War Story....continued....(*Sigh*)

Wow, you've actually BEEN to the JSA? I'm very impressed. I'll keep that in mind, but the flag story is still wrong. You wouldn't be the first authoritative source to mistake familiarity with expertise. Me, I'm guilty as charged, for I think that I am the most handsome man alive...therefore it must be true.

(By the way, since you're so familiar with the locale you'd be knowing where Kim Duk Sung's tombstone is, eh? And, more importantly, what year it was planted there? Oh, you don't surprisingly typical of the security battalion.)

Oh yeah, that reminds me, I spent four years there and lived the last year in the JSA (couldn't stand the batt boys and their silly pretentious airs, so moved off Liberty Bell).

"The world's history would be in pretty sad shape if the only "real" history consisted of "official" written records. I do not consider myself too lazy to actually research what went on"

No? Then why do the refences you cited include:

what I was told by several soldiers, tour guides, and by some souvenir books I purchased (now if I could just find them...).?

Takes a lot of effort to listen to a story, determine that it is true and then buy the souvenir book, written by a real historian. And Kirkbride's (or is it Macbride? I'm getting old) books aren't that great. I'll accept his personal observations, but not his comments on events outside his purview. Me, I just read through reams of "official" BS masquerading as history.

Hmmm, that reminds me, Turner's book is a personal diary, not an "offical" record. Oh yeah, wait, I forgot that an organization associated with the evil US government published it, so it's probably an "official" source. Toss it on the bonfire...

I'd throw Santayana into the ring, but I am not sure this is the place. This is my last post on this issue. You stick with what you want to believe and I'll still wade through the "official" and unofficial papers for any topic of interest to me, instead of doing the really hard work of asking the nearest wall support organism.

Bottom Line: The "Flag War" story is apocryphal, but if you tell it often enough it becomes true.

Aidan Bothwell

(I see I might have written with some asperity. In the time I spent at the JSA I had to listen to so much BS that I easily lose patience when this issue comes up. I was very frustrated that people would simply repeat what they had been told without ever bothering to look in recorded sources....and Kim Duk Sung's tombstone is located four feet of the road on the north side of the MSR, slightly closer to Bonifas than the JSA. The inscription is in Chinese and the date, referenced to the then current monarch, is 1609 AD.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:15, August 29, 2007 (UTC)

Oh, so you were one of the guys there recently, staying over what used to be just the 2/9th (2nd Div) camp, Camp Liberty Bell. Being "stationed" there (I'll state that loosely, since all the JSA work is now done by ROK soldiers), how many hours did you actually spend working inside the JSA (not the DMZ as Liberty Bell personnel do)?
And where did I ever state that I heard this from "tour guides" or that I bought a souvenir book? That was from another person, you are mixing up (big surprise), two different posts from two different people, and treating them as one. That must be a preface for how you conduct your "research"? I lived and worked inside the JSA for two years (with every third day off) over two different 13 month tours, which is a tad more than just being a DMZ grunt. So, since the MAC has had around 400 meetings, not even counting all of the JDO and other meetings, I suppose Turner's book of about 400 pages has full details on all of the meetings ever conducted at the original truce talks and all of those thereafter? I do agree though that I wasn't very impressed with Kirkbride's book. He was just an artillery officer (at yet another 2nd Div camp, Camp Greaves), about 2 miles away, so whatever he states about the fight, OPB, or any other incidents at the JSA are repeated from questionable secondhand sources, kind of like the old "tell the person to your left something, and see what is is when it finally passes around the circle back to you". The reference I cited in my reply above was a direct quote from an email I recieved from somebody else who "actually worked inside the JSA", not just something I said or qouted from a book.
And no, I had no idea where that tombstone is that you metioned, since I was working in the JSA, not walking around looking at the scenery in the DMZ while doing patrols. We were to busy guarding the tourists, guarding visiting dignitaries, and guarding our officers during the meetings to have much time to actually wander around DMZ looking at scenery. Oh wait, that's right, back in the late '80s or early '90s the makeup and duties of the JSA changed. The JSA expanded to take over the 2nd Div duties of patrolling the DMZ, Americans and KATUSA's were reduced, being replaced by ROK soldiers, and the JSA was no longer just the Joint Security Area, but was expanded to include anybody working the DMZ. Whatever happened to GP Collier? Is it still manned? Did they change the name from the Medal of Honor winner to a Korean name? I never see any reference to it anymore, only to Ouilette. wbfergus 19:06, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

The rest of the I posted here has been removed as it is irrelevant to the discussion at hand and unhelpful to the atmosphere of this project. Aidan Bothwell

And NO! The Flag Story is still WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!!!

Aidan Bothwell —Preceding unsigned comment added by [Special:Contributions/|]] (talk) 16:18, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

What was the timeframe when you were there?
It sounds as if you were there after everything was more or less given to the ROK's, except for a couple twiddle-the-thumbs jobs (post '92). You actually had a two-story building to live in? We only had quonset huts. The tallest building on compound was Ballinger Hall, which also doubled as our movie theater at night, so it was a tad taller than just the single-story buildings everywhere else on compound. I have no idea what builing S-6 is supposed to be, or what quonset hut it replaced.
Prior to '92 (maybe a few years earlier), the Joint Security Force was comprised of KATUSA's and Americans, at roughly a 50/50 ratio. Prior to Aug. 18th 1976, we even had the chance to go anywhere within the JSA we wanted. We had some wild times on the KPA side, especially when we got out of sight of other UNC guards behind Panmungak. How often have you been behind Panmungak? How many times have you crept up to a KPA checkpoint in the middle of the night and heard snoring, then pounded on the walls with an axe handle? How many KPA guards have you elbowed in the side? How many KPA feet have you stomped on? How many fist fights with KPA have guards have you participated in? How many tourists or visiting dignitaries have you protected by keeping the KPA guards away from them, or kept from reaching in through the windows? Did you even get a chance to touch any of the flags in the building? I did many times. Going back to Panmungak, how many fights have you participated in behind there? How many times were you surrounded by KPA guards at CP#3 at night and had to put the barrel of your .45 in the gas tank of your jeep to get them to back away? How many times did you play hopscotch on the Bridge just to laugh at the reaction of the KPA guards?
Your diatribe merely helps to highlight how far removed you were from the times when the Americans there actually had a job. Obviously from your diatribe you fail to somehow grasp that Camp Kitty Hawk was the former name of Camp Bonifas. It was renamed from Camp Kitty Hawk to Camp Bonifas on Aug. 18th, 1987, on the ten year anniversary of Capt. Bonifas' death. Did you ever meet with Capt. Bonifas? Oh that's right, you weren't even born yet. You still never said exectly what your 'duties' were. Were you the bus driver for "Moose Night" three times a week? Oh, that's right also, you have no idea what that means. The military officially stopped allowing those before you were there. wbfergus Talk 17:31, 7 March 2008 (UTC)


The lead is way too long. I was going to snip it off, but I realised that you could not easily do so, as it has mixed material. Can some of the regulars do it? Loath to add another project to my long list. Ingolfson 10:08, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

I've struggled with that as well, but as you commented on, it's fairly difficult. In it's defense though, there are may other articles that I ran across with similarly sized leads. I think the part about the current commander can be moved to a lower section, but most of the rest I feel kind of "needs" to be there to cover the synopsis. wbfergus 10:20, 27 July 2007 (UTC)


It's spelled Panmunjeom. This correction should be made throughout the page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dblecros (talkcontribs) 09:47, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

The superfluous E is needed only ion the South. The North Korean Romanization system does not use the E. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:18, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

The start of the second paragraph is un-necessarily pedantic and fussy in tone and tries to make a big point out of something trivial. The JSA is simply in a farming-area close to the former village of Panmunj(e)om. It's no big deal that the JSA isn't in the village nor that the village is now deserted (hardly surprising given the area's military and diplomatic history). Even if there were widespread controversy about where the JSA was, it wouldn't belong so early in the article. The writer's confusion may be based on the fallacy that, if you're not in a town or village, you're not anywhere. The farms around Panmunjom are in Panmunjom. A place can still be called by a name even if all its buildings have been abandoned or demolished. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:15, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

"Peace House" photo[edit]

I reverted back the newer picture to the original because the building was a different one. The changed caption for the other, exiting picture became incorrect also. The pictures in this section are provided to show how both North and South Korea have been 'remodeling' their buildings within the JSA over the years, per the accompanying article text. The picture may be able to be used elsewhere in the article, or maybe in the gallery, but for that section which is based upon the 4 pictures, it was incorrect. wbfergus Talk 11:20, 6 March 2008 (UTC) {continues}

My apologies. I believe I understand what the image shows now by looking at this map. I believe what is now labeled as "Main North Korean Building" is labeled on the map as "Panmon Hall". The image I linked to is in fact the "Home of Peace", located to the southwest of the House of Freedom.
My primary objection was to the quality of the image: it suffers from "tourist lean". I attempted to correct this on my own but unfortunately in order to rotate the image I was unable to retain certain portions of the image that I felt were critical.
I believe that the photo is redundant: currently the article features this image as well in the following section, its content being substantially the same as your preferred image for Joint Security Area#Major landmarks. This second image also suffers from image lean but in many ways I feel it is the superlative composition.
In review, I feel that the "Home of Peace" is worthy of citation if it is indeed within the JSA as the map suggests. My ignorance will be transparent, but the citation for the Peace House photo suggests it is not in the DPRK. If that is so, then certainly this image needs to have its caption looked at.
Regards, Ogre lawless (talk) 09:04, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
Ogre, no problem. After taking another look at the article, I see what you mean about the one building having two pictures. So, how about either you or I replace the first picture with the second one (it is a better picture), and the picture of Peace House does deserve to be included in the Notable Landmarks section, hopefully with some acompanying text in the section as well. I've heard that Peace House is also used as the barracks for the SK unit on duty, but I have no idea if that is correct or not. When I was stationed there, our barracks were CP#4, which I believe is now called the Joint Duty Office. On a side note, if you look along the right side side of this picture, you can see the side of Peace House.
I'm not sure when I'll have the time to make the change, tomorrow (Saturday) at the earliest, maybe not until next week. If you want to make the change though, feel free. At least we got a misunderstanding out of the way, can remove a redundancy, and add another notable building. So again, don't woory about making your previous edit. If you didn't, these issues would still exist, so thanks for helping to make the article better. wbfergus Talk 11:24, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Just exactly why, in the name of all that is holy, is the lead picture from 1976?[edit]

Seems like maybe some contributor is living in the past. Can't we get an up to date picture to lead off?

Just wondering, but hell, I never was the brightest bulb on the circuit....or a "moose run" driver either....

Cheers, (talk) 10:54, 19 April 2009 (UTC)Thomas Aidan Bothwell

What happened to the Russian defector?[edit]

As a matter of curiosity, what became of Vasily Matusak, the Russian who defected across the JSA in 1984? Muzilon (talk) 09:49, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Do guards stare at each other?[edit]

I saw this place from TV. I wonder if the guards of the two sides stare at each other's face everyday without talking? I also saw a meeting room with two doors leading to each side. Do those doors have special design? (talk) 22:52, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

I see lot's of pictures of JSA, but not many where both side "guarding" on same time. Maybe iam not well informed but it seem to me that this circus show is just for newspapers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:40, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

In each space, two North Korean soldiers stand facing each other rather than the South, so that neither one can defect to the South, and another guard stands behind them facing the North to prevent anyone else from defecting. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mdlark (talkcontribs) 08:50, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Insider references need cleaning up?[edit]

I noticed several references to concepts such as "ROK", "ROKA", "CPV", "KATUSA", "Lt. Bulldog", etc., which didn't seem to me to be adequately introduced, explained, or put in context. In general, my impression is that the article should probably be gone over by one or more editors who are not intimately familiar with the subject. Some abbreviations may not be really necessary throughout the article — e.g., I suspect most uses of "ROK" could safely be rewritten as "South Korea". I may try to take some time to work on the article myself. Richwales (talk) 19:03, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

"JSA" vs. "United Nations Command Forces in the JSA" (or similar)[edit]

I think "JSA" is confused with the forces guarding it from the south side at some places in this article:

The beginning of paragraph 4 states: "Originally established as a U.S. Army organization, the JSA quickly incorporated ROK soldiers ...". I'm sure the Joint Security Area (JSA), as the abbreviation was introduced in this article, was never a US Army organisation. It is the patch of land under the special rule of the armistice agreement, partially controlled by the UN-side (including US). I guess, soldiers serving in the UNC forces guarding the JSA (as heard today, the current name seems to be "United Nations Command Security Battalion - Joint Security Area") also call their unit shortly "JSA", and I guess further that "JSA" in the 4th paragraph was used in this sense.

A similar problem occurs for the section "Composition and duties": It is NOT about composition and duties of the Joint Security Area, but (mainly) of the composition, history and duties of the "United Nations Command Security Battalion - Joint Security Area". In addition, it has some sentences on the appearance of the North Korean Guards as well.


  1. Delete paragraph 4, since its information is repeated (in a better form and in a better place) in the "Composition and duties" section anyway (or merge it in there, if you think something is missing).
  2. Re-organize Section "Composition and Duties" in the following way:
  • New 2nd level heading "Forces in the Joint Security Area"
  • Insert "The Joint Security Area is guarded by military police forces of the United Nations Command and of the Peoples Republic of Korea army, respectively. Under most conditions, both forces are restricted to their side of the Military Demarcation Line. They face each other in spaces between the blue meeting houses, ... " then continue with the remaining part of the last paragraph of the current "Composition and Duties" section.
  • Change "Composition and Duties" to "UNC Forces" and make it a 3rd level heading (i.e. make it a sub-section of "Forces in the JSA".

Puh, I hope that's understandable. ;-) However, I wanted to put it up for discussion first before I change it myself, since I'm no expert in this field.

One last remark in the same line: The picture of the One-hole golf course in the gallery does not belong to JSA, but to Camp Bonifas (which is -- although stated otherwise in the Camp Bonifas article -- definitely not inside the JSA). (talk) 15:14, 25 August 2010 (UTC) (sorry, no en.wikipedia account)

armistice reference[edit]

The Armistice which ended the fighting was signed by the UNC commander, KPA commander, and Chinese PA cdr. SK did not sign. The agreement itself refers to future discussions to take place between the governments (not military forces). These discussion do not take place. The article on the UNC (korea) says ROK forces put themselves under the command of UNC (although this does not have a reference or support). In any event, it does not matter that the governments of SK & NK remain "technically" at war because the military forces of the goverments are not (albeit) they do have clashes. In any event, the portion I deleted re the status of the war does not have direct impact on this article (other than muddying the waters should it remain.) Best to leave it out as a POV problem.--S. Rich (talk) 04:58, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

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so that neither one can defect.?????[edit]

What shit is this? Wiki should be encyclopedia and not propaganda pamflet.

That is not shit.Phd8511 (talk) 13:07, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Any updates now[edit]

That the DPRK has declared the ceasefire agreement over?Phd8511 (talk) 13:43, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Please speak proper English. I was suggesting that there could be updates given the latest development. Arrogant.Phd8511 (talk) 00:12, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

Why don't you look are see how many other Wikipedia article are news articles. Especially the main page!Phd8511 (talk) 00:13, 9 March 2013 (UTC)
The link to NOTNEWS simply provides the guidance that WP follows. This stuff from nK is not much different that what we've seen before – many, many times. For example, see [1]. Please note that it is their official news agency which puts out these various statements about the cease-fire, sacred war, etc. If war did break out, the sK and the UNC would be wise to invite the nK troops into Seoul where the poor troops would see the lavish prosperity that capitalism has produced. They'd quickly drop their weapons and enjoy some actual wholesome meals. (Which is why nK won't invade. Their own army would quickly desert.) In any event, the particular recent "declaration" has little to do with the JSA. (Now if they actually attack and the JSA gets overrun, then that will be pertinent.) And, yes, lots of other WP articles are "news stories". Just because there are other such stories does not justify deviation from guidelines in this case. – S. Rich (talk) 00:32, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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New taller minimum height for ROK soldiers[edit]

I think the minimum height has been raised to 5'9 as South Koreans are now taller than they used to be. I doubt it is still as low as the 5'6 in the article. --Elmeter (talk) 12:10, 18 March 2016 (UTC)