Camp Bonifas is a military post belonging to the UN military command. Its current location is 400 meters south of the southern border of the Korean demilitarized zone. However, it was previously 2,400 meters south of the border between North Korea and South Korea. The camp returned to the territory of North Korea in 2006. Initially, the camp was referred to as Camp Kitty Hawk. The name was then changed to the current name on August 18, 1986. The name change was in honor of the US captain Arthur Bonifas. Together with Lt Mark T Barrett, he was killed by North Korean soldiers in an incident commonly known as “Ax murder incident”. The incident occurred in Panmunjom. The two soldiers were watching the civilians who were cutting a tree in the Joint Security Area (JSA). Suddenly they were attacked by the North Korean Force. The killing was very inhuman involving bats, knives, grab handles and axes.
Camp Bonifas hosts the United Nations Command Security Battalion; also called JSA. Camp personnel provide full-time security for UN command officers. The main mission of Camp Bonifas military personnel was to strengthen the application of the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. Their briefs are in English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. In addition to Korean soldiers, US soldiers also interact with soldiers from other countries such as Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand and Poland. The JSA is composed not only of US Army soldiers, but also of the Republic of Korea army with a ratio between 40% and 60%.
They also offer protection to 800-900 callers in the joint security area. They monitor movements in and out of the base and perform regular checks at certain intervals. The inhabitants of the village of Tae Song Dong are also protected by the same staff who supervise the internal activities taking place in the village. For those who visit Panmunjom, soldiers act as tourist guides. Civilians can also visit Camp Bonifas. On average, the camp receives more than 100,000 tourists each year. Camp Bonifas also has a gift shop where soldiers sell JSA and DMZ souvenirs to visitors.
Mine fields are present on three sides of this field. There is also a golf course which is a 3 hole and consists of an Astroturf green. The hole is popularly called “the most dangerous hole in golf”. At one time, a blow caused an explosion on a gold mine. Thus, the golf course is a defense mechanism used by military officers. Furthermore, in the field around some buildings, triple reels of barbed wire were also used to provide additional protection from intruders.
The men of the UNCSB base in Panmunjom have been freedom fighters for more than 45 years. Because they are the most reliable military group in the region, they regularly fight against aggressive forces to ensure that the Korean peninsula remains united and peaceful.