It was the 27th of July 1953 when the shooting stopped in Korea. Both sides agreed to pull back an equal distance and thereby form a demilitarized zone. When the 1st. Mar. Div. pulled back they left the 1st, Bn. 5th Marines in place to monitor the divisions sector of the newly created demilitarized zone.

My company, B-1-5, walked patrols into the zone and stood guard on the trails and roads that entered the zone. One of these roads was the road to Panmunjom. That is where it rained boondockers. Brand new Marine Corps boondockers. Yes, indeed it did.

The Army MPs had a large guard shack about a mile short of the village of Panmunjom and we were posted there with orders that no Marines were to enter the zone without a pass signed by our battalion commanding officer. No exceptions!

There were two of us -- me, a corporal on one side of the road and my Pfc. on the other side. We looked pretty scruffy standing there in dungarees provided by the "changey-changey" laundry system and our worn out boots. The Army MPs on the other hand really looked great in their starched khaki, beautifully painted helmet liners with scarves around their necks and tin cans in their trouser legs to make the blouse look good. But our weapons were spotless and we had our Marine Corps emblem on our breast pocket. We sneered at them and they laughed at us...and got even for our sneering. Trust me. They did.

Hey, it was show time folks and the Chinese prisoners were doing what they do better than anyone else -- propaganda theater.

It was a hot August day when we heard our first load of Chinese prisoners coming from the South in open dump trucks headed up the road to Panmunjom for the prisoner exchange. We could hear them chanting and singing long before they rounded a curve and came into sight. Three dump trucks, each with about fifty Chinese wearing only skivvies. Hey, it was show time folks and the Chinese prisoners were doing what they do better than anyone else -- propaganda theater. To falsely show how "bad" they had been treated they had torn to rags the new clothes provided to them and were going to appear for the news people at Pannmunjom in their underwear.

The trucks stopped in front of us so that the South Korean guards could drop off their weapons. That's when it happened!

That is when the skies opened up and it rained boondockers. It all happened so fast! The Korean guards jumped back aboard the trucks, the MPs jumped into the guard shack and all the Chinese promptly threw the shoes they had been given at the two ignorant Marines standing there at parade rest. I was hit by at least a dozen shoes as I raced for the rear of the guard shack. The laughter from inside stung more than the shoes had.

After the trucks pulled away we went out on the road to see what had hit us. Yep, They were our beloved boondockers. Hundreds of brand new, soft yellow cowhide boondockers that were in perfect shape except the Chinese had slit the sole on every one of them. That was the day it rained boondockers on the road to Panmunjom. Sometime I will relate the story of Cpl. Delbert Carney and his meeting with the returning Chinese prisoners on the road to Panmunjom.

Semper Fi!