News Zone

Recent News

Military works on landmine removal operation at White Horse Hill in advance of resuming the remains excavation project

Military expands scope of the excavation area in the DMZ

White Horse Hill battles had some of the largest casualty numbers of all Korean War battles

Military started road maintenance to resume the remains excavation project in the second half of this year

Soldiers asked to carry out their duties safely while wearing protective gear


210609 유해발굴 앞둔 백마고지 지뢰제거 구슬땀 최한영


Reports are that there has been good progress on preliminary work ahead of the resumption of the remains excavation project at White Horse Hill in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the second half of this year. White Horse Hill is believed to hold the remains of more than 10,000 persons who died in the Korean War.


“Having worked on the removal of landmines since the opening ceremony on April 5, ahead of the resumption of the White Horse Hill remains excavation project in the second half of this year, we already discovered two sets of remains, as well as landmines and explosives, during road maintenance. The preliminary work is making good progress,” an official from the 5th Infantry Division of the Army said in a statement on June 8.


During the Friday visit to White Horse Hill, the ‘White Horse Hill remains excavation project TF’ team, involving soldiers from the Hwangso Squadron of the 5th Infantry Division, the Special Maneuvers Support Brigade belonging to the Ground Operations Command, and the 6th Engineer Brigade, was in the middle of landmine removal operation all over White Horse Hill. The work is required to help soldiers safely carry out operations and to pave a road for the traffic of at least medium-sized buses, ahead of the resumption of the remains excavation project in the second half of the year.


The soldiers from the 6th Engineer Brigade were busy operating PRS-17K·Schonstedt mine detectors, air blowers, and brush cutters, and wore protective gear that included mine protection helmets, mine protection suits, and mine combat boots, weighing more than 20 kilograms altogether. Their work is expected to be difficult and sweaty under all that protective gear, particularly in the mid-summer.


“The operational environment is challenging, but I try to urge our members to carry out their duties safely by following the required procedures,” said Captain Go Young-in, leader of the Hwangso Squadron.


“I wake up at 4:30 A.M. and head toward (White Horse Hill) before the other units. I need to always be watching the north side, standing at attention,” said Kim Min-je, a private first class belonging to the Bima Squadron of the 5th Infantry Division, who has been deployed to the security operation. “Despite the challenging operational environment, I am determined to work on the security duty, keeping in mind the fact that soldiers before me sacrificed themselves to defend the country in which we stand now,” he added.


From October 6 to October 15, 1952, the Korean 9th Infantry Division was engaged in 12 fierce battles with three divisions of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army.


After seven repeated attacks and counterattacks to hold the hill, the 9th Infantry Division finally seized full control of White Horse Hill. About 275,000 bombs of various kinds were dropped on the hill during the attacks. Afterwards, the hill looked like a threadbare white horse when viewed from the air. Since then, it has had the name of Baengma, meaning white horse.


The Battle of White Horse is among the Korean war battles that had the largest number of casualties. It is presumed that a large number of remains are still buried at White Horse Hill, as the casualties on the Korean and Chinese sides, including soldiers listed as missing, reached about 3,500 and 10,000, respectively.


“I have high hopes, as the remains excavation project that will be resumed within this year has been expanded to White Horse Hill,” said Major General Lee Sang-cheol, commander of the 5th Infantry Division and head of the DMZ remains excavation project task force team, stressing that “all the soldiers of the 5th Division, as well as the TF team, will do their best to allow the work at Arrowhead and White Horse hills to continue to serve as both a best practice and a milestone in the DMZ remains excavation project.”

By Han-young, Choi < >

<Copyright ⓒ The Korea Defense Daily, All rights reserved>


  • (Presentation and Follow-on discussion)