NORTH KOREA IN SIGHT
By Cadet Jessica Coogle
World War II, The Korean War, The Cold War and the DMZ. These four phrases show the birth of a new generation. Born from the ashes of war, South Korea played a leading role in the Korean War with America as an ally. The post-effects of the war led to an armistice signing between the commanders of the United States Army, Republic of Korea, and China. Included in this armistice was the classification of the DMZ line, which was later marked and fenced to what is seen today. ROTC CULP Cadets who were were in Korea on a CULP mission were able to take a tour around the DMZ line border and take a trip down 3rd Tunnel, or the third tunnel found that was supposed to be used by North Koreans in the Korean War to infiltrate the south.
During this trip to the DMZ line, Cadets had to follow strict safety rules as we entered a building that was build on both South Korean and North Korean territory. Under the watchful eye and the security of RoK forces, we were able to cross to North Korean soil and take pictures as wanted. While here, there was also a brief that went over the Korean War and gave the history behind the DMZ line and the reason of it’s building.
We also got a chance to look in to North Korea at the DORA observatory. At the observatory, we were briefed about the landscaping of the North through a well detailed terrain model. This included Propaganda village. Propaganda village is a place in North Korea where buildings are meant to look nice from a distance to trick the public into thinking all is well in the north. But the buildings in this village have painted on windows and there are no vacancies in any of the buildings.
Through this experience Cadets were able to learn about the Korean War and the reasons that America came into the war to help the south. The trip helped educate us and give us a hands-on feel for the history and geography of South Korea, and knowledge and respect for its people and culture.
Overall the trip was a great experience both as a future officer who will work with our allies in South Korea, and a civilian.