Barrett, Mark T., 1LT

Fallen
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1976-1976, United Nations Command (UNC)/UN Joint Security Area (US JSA)
Service Years
1974 - 1976
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Cold War Certificate

Infantry

First Lieutenant


 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
South Carolina
South Carolina
Year of Birth
1950
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SGT Bruce Murr to remember Barrett, Mark T., 1LT.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Columbia
Last Address
Columbia

Casualty Date
Aug 18, 1976
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Intentional Homicide
Location
Korea
Conflict
Cold War Incident - Hatchet Incident (Korea)
Location of Interment
Greenlawn Memorial Park - Columbia, South Carolina
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord


 Unofficial Badges 

Joint Security Area Panmunjom


 Military Association Memberships
In the Line of Duty
  2015, In the Line of Duty

 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award

Parachutist (Basic)

 
 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1970, (Select in Colleges) (ROTC)
 Unit Assignments
United Nations Command (UNC)/UN Joint Security Area (US JSA)
  1976-1976, United Nations Command (UNC)/UN Joint Security Area (US JSA)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1976-1976 Cold War Incident - Hatchet Incident (Korea)
 Colleges Attended 
University of Florida
  1970-1974, University of Florida
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

On Wednesday 18 August 1976 at 1040 hours in the morning, a United Nations Command (UNC) work force of five Korean Service Corps (KSC) personnel accompanied by and UNC security force, including the Joint Security Force (JSF) Commander, Captain (P) Arthur G. Bonifas of Newburgh, New York, First Lieutenant Mark T. Barrett of Columbia, South Carolina, and one Republic of (South) Korean Army (ROKA) officer started to prune a large tree in the vicinity of UNC Check Point #3. 

This tree partially obscured the view between UNC Check Point #3 and UNC Check Point #5. In addition the unpruned tree was also blocking the view of the "Bridge of No Return" from "Freedom House." Shortly after the KSC work force arrived at the tree and began to cut it back, (North) Korean People's Army (KPA) personnel appeared at the work site. 

For a short time, the KPA security force observed the pruning without apparent concern. Suddenly, the KPA security force commander demanded that the JSF commander cease pruning or there would be trouble. Captain Bonifas did not order the operation stopped. Senior Lieutenant Pak Chul of the KPA, seeing that he was losing control, took off his wristwatch, wrapped it in his handkerchief and put it in his pocket. Another North Korean rolled up his sleeves. 

Lieutenant Pak then shouted "MI KUN UL CHU KI GI CHA." Translated, it means, "Kill the U.S. Aggressors."; the UNC security force was attacked by a superior force of 30 KPA guards wielding pick handles, knives, clubs, and axes. 

Senior Lieutenant Pak jumped on Captain Bonifas from the back forcing him to the ground where Bonifas was beaten to death. 1LT Barrett was also attacked. The KPA soldiers used the mattox and axes the tree trimming detail was using prune the tree as weapons. The North Korean attack was broken up when a UNC soldier drove his 2 1/2 ton truck into the fight and over Captain Bonifas to protect him. 

The UNC Security Force then withdrew but not before two American Army Officers were murdered and, a ROKA officer, three Korean Augmentees to the US Army (KATUSA) and four US enlisted men were wounded. 

The following day a Military Armistice Commission (MAC) meeting was held, at which time the senior MAC member, Rear Admiral Mark P. Frudden, delivered a strong protest and demanded assurance from the KPA that this would never happen again. It was also the first time at a MAC meeting that a UNC representative defamed the Communists as ??savage.??

According to Major Wayne Kirkbride, who wrote a book about the ax murders and the operation to cut down the tree, ??for three days that tree stood as a challenge to free men everywhere.?? A UNC crisis team was formed at Yongsan and Operation Paul Bunyan was developed. Kirkbride pointed out that it was developed to ??establish the right of movement in the JSA and to generate sufficient combat power to accomplish the mission.??

On the 20th, the bodies of Capt. Bonifas and Lt. Barrett were taken to Kimpo Airport for return to the States. At the airport, a ceremony was held during which Bonifas was promoted posthumously to major, and he and Barrett likewise were awarded Purple Heart and Joint Service Commendation medals.

The Barrett Readiness Facility (BRF) is located inside the JSA and houses the Battalions north mission platoon. In 1986, the BRF was named for 1LT Mark Barrett, killed during the 1976 Axe Murder incident. 

   
Comments/Citation
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