Military


Camp Bonifas
Camp Liberty Bell / Camp Bonifas East
Camp Kitty Hawk

In 2004 Camp Bonifas and Camp Liberty Bell/Bonifas East closed and ownership of the facility was transferred to the control of the Republic of Korea.

Camp Bonifas was the base camp for the United Nations Command Security Force-Joint Security Area (UNCSF-JSA). It was located 400 meters south of the southern boundary of the Demilitarized Zone. Camp Bonifas was home to the soldiers who support the Military Armistice Commission at the JSA. In 1991, major changes took place with the removal of the 2nd Infantry Division from the DMZ patrol mission. An additional mission was added: to provide for security patrols within its area of responsibility in the DMZ. The name of Camp Kitty Hawk was changed to Camp Bonifas and Camp Liberty Bell (formerly the 2nd ID camp) was annexed and named East Bonifas.

Camps Bonifas and Liberty Bell were 2 of the some 42 camps north of Seoul authorized Hardship Duty Pay of $150 per month as of 1 January 2001. The Hardship Duty Pay is paid to troops who are permanently assigned to areas where it is authorized or who serve 30 consecutive days of temporary duty in those areas. Several factors are considered in determining whether a location qualified for the pay: climate, physical and social isolation, sanitation, disease, medical facilities, housing, food, recreational and community facilities, political violence, harassment and crime. The extra pay provides meaningful financial recognition to troops assigned in areas where living conditions are substantially below US standards.

The United Nations Command Security Battalion-Joint Security Area (UNCSB-JSA) was established during the Korean War to provide security and logistical support to the United Nation Command elements involved in the ongoing armistice negotiations. The unit was founded on 5 May 1952 and had been stationed at Panmunjom since that date.

Two UNCSB-JSA officers were killed and 8 soldiers wounded on 18 August 1976, during the infamous Ax Murderer Incident at Panmunjom, when a numerically superior North Korean force attacked the United Nations Command soldiers guarding a civilian work detail trimming a tree inside the Joint Security Area. Previously Camp Kitty Hawk, it was redesignated Camp Bonifas on 18 August 1986, 10 years after JSA officer Captain Arthur G. Bonifas was slain by North Korean KPA guards wielding pick handles, knives, clubs and axes on 18 August 1976, when they attempted to prune a tree blocking the view between 2 outposts near the Bridge of No Return. The event was commonly known as "The Ax Murder Incident." UNC security officer 1st Lt. Mark T. Barrett was also killed during the clash.

The camp's personnel provided 24-hour security of United Nations Command personnel and their guests within the JSA, and control entry into and exit from the JSA. They also provided security to the villagers of Tae Song Dong and supervision of civil affairs within the village. The soldiers also provided tours to the JSA, usually referred to as Panmunjom. Since the ROK government began allowing civilians to visit, more than 100,000 people toured the JSA each year. Briefings were available in English, Korean, Japanese and Chinese.

The UNCSF-JSA is tasked to provide all logistical support and security to all United Nations Command personnel working in the JSA. Members of the camp were involved in many actions, to include Operation Breeches Buoy, return of the crew of the USS Pueblo on 23 December 1968, repatriation of 39 South Korean National civilians passengers of the hijacked Korean Air Lines aircraft on 14 February 1970, and Operation Paul Bunyan, which cut down the tree that figured prominently in the "Ax Murder Incident." Their motto, "In Front of Them All," was a reflection of the commitment to helping maintain the peace in a divided country.

For over 45 years, the men of the UNCSB-JSA have stood at the front line of freedom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As the most forward-deployed unit on the Peninsula, as well as among all the US Armed Forces around the world, the UNCSB-JSA proudly stood face-to-face with aggressive forces to preserve the Armistice and help bring about the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula




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