poplarI have one more thing to report on from the DMZ which happened in 1976. It was caused because a United Nations Command outpost close to the Bridge Of No Return had its line of sight to the next watch tower obscured by leaves which had grown from a poplar tree.

A five man american detail was dispatched to perform some trimming of the offending tree, but these military gardeners were met by forces of the DPRK. Things descended into violence quite quickly with the US captain being killed by a single karate chop to the neck, and the rest of the detail then being attacked with the very axes they had taken into the DMZ to prune the tree killing a young lieutenant also on the detail.

axe-murder-incidentThe US military was filming the whole incident from the outpost, although it is still unclear in the footage on how things got started, with both sides claiming self defence.

What is clear is that three days later a show of force that must go down as the largest topiary exercise in history was launched. Operation Paul Bunyan involved two dozen truck loads of men approaching the poplar tree, carrying more than eight hundred men all of whom were armed to the teeth and trained in Taekwondo. This force was backed up by attack helicopters, fighter planes, B-52 bombers and a US aircraft carrier, which meant that the tree was successfully cut down without response from the DPRK.

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