By By Walter T. Ham IV, Eighth Army Public AffairsNovember 23, 2010
JOINT SECURITY AREA, Panmunjom, South Korea - The United Nations Command Security Battalion-Joint Security Area held a ceremony Nov. 23 to remember a fallen warrior who died 26 years ago defending a Soviet defector.
Korean Augmentee to the U.S. Army Cpl. Jang Myong-ki was killed Nov. 23, 1984, during a firefight after the defector ran across the Military Demarcation Line that separates the two nations. Thirty North Korean guards pursued him across the border and opened fire.
The first UNC Soldiers they encountered were Jang and Pfc. Michael A. Burgoyne. Jang and Burgoyne fought back and enabled the UNC Joint Security Force to outflank the North Korean pursuers and pin them down inside the Sunken Garden.
The UNC Soldiers kept the defector safe and defeated his North Korean pursuers.
During the firefight, Jang was killed and Pfc. Michael A. Burgoyne was wounded. Three of the North Korean intruders were killed, five were wounded and eight were captured.
Jang and Burgoyne received the Bronze Star with a "V" for valor for their actions during the firefight.
A short distance from where the firefight occurred, the ceremony was held near a monument that memorializes Jang. The monument is across from the site of the former Sunken Garden, now home to a Unification Monument.
Members of Jang's family came to the ceremony and laid white flowers at his memorial. The ceremony also featured the playing the taps and a roll call.
Brig. Gen. Bert Mizusawa, who commanded the UNC Joint Security Force during the incident, was originally scheduled to speak at the ceremony. A last minute change kept him from participating, but UNCSB-JSA Commander Lt. Col. Edward Taylor read his remarks at the ceremony.
"Jang's sacrifice has been our enduring symbol of the bravery and toughness of our Korean Soldiers just as his buddy, Burgoyne, reflected the similar warrior traits of our American Soldiers," wrote Misuzawa, calling their actions "the first in a chain of tactical events that resulted in a complete tactical victory and saving the life of the Soviet defector."
"The firefight was, in many ways, the last hot battle of the Cold War, fought between a close Soviet proxy and the U.S.-Korean Alliance that was proudly embodied in the bravery and sacrifice of the young two-man team of Jang and Burgoyne," wrote Misuzawa. "For that, all members, past and present, of this great unit, and the Jang family, should be rightfully proud."
UNCSB-JSA Deputy Commander Republic of Korea Army Lt. Col. Son Gwang-je thanked Jang's family and praised his heroic actions.
"Twenty-six years have passed since his death, but the fact that his name still resonates within us teaches us the pride of true patriotism," said Son.
Taylor said his battalion's mission inside the DMZ truce village remains as important today as it was when the defector incident happened 26 years ago.
"We still stand today as we have since 1953, and in 1976, and in 1984," said Taylor, "with the same strategic impact on geopolitics, East Asian stability and Korean Peninsula security. That has not changed."