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    Operation Paul Bunyan

    On August 18, 1976, a working party of U.S. and Republic of Korea Soldiers entered the Korean Demilitarized Zone, tasked with the removal of a poplar tree that blocked the line of sight of a United Nations observation point.
    Little did that working party know that they would be involved in an international incident that would come to be known as the Korean axe murder incident in which two U.S. Army Soldiers, Capt. Arthur G. Bonifas and 1st Lt. Mark Barret, would lose their lives at the hands of North Korean soldiers wielding axes and clubs.
    “We wanted revenge,” said Ron Reigsted, a former engineer with B Co, 2nd Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. “Kim Il-Sung thought he could push us off the peninsula and we couldn’t let that happen, not with the deaths of those two officers.”
    In retaliation to the Korean axe murders, the United States and the Republic of Korea launched Operation Paul Bunyan, an effort comprised of 16 military engineers, 124 ground troops, 27 aircraft and field artillery teams. Among the ground troops was a Korean special forces unit of which current South Korean President Moon, Jae-In was a part of.
    “On that day there were approximately 11 Purple Hearts and one Combat Infantry Badge,” said Reigsted. “General Brady at the time, during the actual cutting of the tree was flying his own personal Huey command and control helicopter and the North Koreans fired on him and brought him down.”
    Later, in 1987 the tree stump was replaced with a bronze plaque commemorating the sacrifices of those injured or killed in the line of duty at the DMZ.
    “A veteran is someone who at some point in his life wrote a check to the United States of America up to and including his life,” said Reigsted. “I love this country and would do it again now if I had the choice even if I could only load rifles.”



    Date Taken: 11.11.2019
    Date Posted: 11.10.2019 17:24
    Story ID: 351275
    Location: KR

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