S. Korean’s 1984 DMZ death not forgotten
DEMILITARIZED ZONE, Korea — After 24 years, they keep coming back for Cpl. Jang Myoung-ki.
Jang’s comrades, his family and others joined today’s guardians of the Joint Security Area in an annual memorial ceremony Friday for Jang, who was killed following a North Korean breach of the military demarcation line in 1984.
"To the Jang family, we are in your debt and we thank you," said Lt. Col. John Rhodes, commander of the U.N. Command Security Battalion.
On Nov. 23, 1984, Jang was killed by advancing North Koreans when Soviet citizen Vasily Matusak dashed south across the military demarcation line on Conference Row.
As many as 30 North Korean soldiers followed him over the line, according to UNC Security Battalion records.
The ensuing firefight between the North Koreans and the U.N. Command Quick Reaction Force lasted 21 minutes before the Swiss delegate to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Committee negotiated a cease-fire and a North Korean withdrawal.
Jang, a Korean augmentee to the U.S. Army, died in the firefight, while Pfc. Michael Burgoyne was wounded.
Five North Koreans were wounded and three died, including the captain who the U.S. Army says plotted the axe murders of two U.S. officers in 1976 during a tree-trimming operation.
On Friday, Rhodes and South Korean area commander Lt. Col. Jung Hae-il saluted a wreath in Jang’s honor.
Steve Tharp, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8180, paid his respects at another wreath. He was followed by Jang’s family members, who laid white flowers at a stone monument.
"We’re very thankful for the efforts the Army has shown him," said Jang Dae-yoon, Jang’s father.