Steve Tharp, commander of Lewis L. Millett American Legion Post 38 in South Korea, along with Legionnaire William Beatty and Commander Vern Hill from VFW Post 9985, attended the CPL Jang Myong-ki Memorial Ceremony on Nov. 23, 2022, held at Camp Bonifas, South Korea. Camp Bonifas is home to the United Nations Command Security Battalion-Joint Security Area, whose primary mission is to monitor and enforce the Korean Armistice Agreement between North and South Korea.
Cpl. Jang Myong-ki, a Korean Augmentee to the U.S. Army, was killed on Nov. 23, 1984, during a firefight after the defector ran across the Military Demarcation Line that separates North and South Korea. Thirty North Korean guards pursued the defector across the border and opened fire.
CPL Jang and Private 1st Class Michael A. Burgoyne were the first United Nations Command soldiers the North Koreans guards encountered. Jang and Burgoyne fought back the North Korean guards, which enabled the UNC Joint Security Force to outflank the North Korean pursuers and pin them down inside the Sunken Garden. The United Nation Command soldiers defeated the North Korean pursuers and kept the defector safe.
CPL Jung was killed, and PFC Michael A. Burgoyne wounded during the firefight. Three North Korean guards were killed and five were wounded. Eight North Korean pursuers were captured. Jang and Burgoyne received the Bronze Star with a "V" for valor for their actions during the firefight.
After the memorial ceremony, Tharp, Beatty and Hill met with CPL Jung’s family members and expressed their condolences.