So, there was a tree. A tree on the DMZ between North and South Korea. A tree that had, in 1976, gotten two Americans killed with axes. And the North Korean government wasn’t particularly interested in admitting that there’s something wrong about ritually killing American troops with axes – because they’re the North Korean government, which is insane.
Well, can’t have that. The tree had to go. But at the same time, you can’t have World War III, either. So… well, I’m just going to quote the next passage from Wikipedia because it is one of the few times where Wikipedia beats out Cracked.com for sheer, lucid insanity:
Operation Paul Bunyan was carried out on August 21 at 7 AM, three days after the killings. A convoy of 23 American and South Korean vehicles (“Task Force Vierra”, named for Lieutenant Colonel Victor S. Vierra, commander of the United States Army Support Group) drove into the JSA without warning to the North Koreans, who had one observation post manned at that hour. In the vehicles were two eight-man teams of military engineers (from the 2nd Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division) equipped with chain-saws to cut down the tree. These teams were accompanied by two 30-man security platoons from the Joint Security Force, who were armed with pistols and axe handles. The 2nd Platoon would secure the northern entrance to the JSA via the Bridge of No Return, while the 3rd Platoon would secure the southern edge of the area.
Concurrently, a team from B Company, commanded by Capt. Walter Seifried, had activated the detonation systems for the charges on Freedom Bridge and had the 165mm main gun of the M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle aimed mid-span to ensure that the bridge would fall should the order be given for its destruction. Also B Company, supporting E Company (Bridge), commanded by Capt. Williams, were building M4T6 rafts on the Imjin River should the situation require emergency evacuation by that route.
In addition, a 64-man ROK special forces company accompanied them, armed with clubs and trained in Tae Kwon Do, supposedly without firearms. However, once they parked their trucks near the Bridge of No Return, they started throwing out the sandbags that lined the truck bottoms, and handing out M-16 rifles and M-79 grenade launchers that had been concealed below. Several of the special forces men also had Claymore mines strapped to their chests with the firing mechanism in their hands, and were shouting at the North Koreans to cross the bridge.
Well, you know, it’s a shaped charge… no, wait, Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest son of a bitch in space.
PS: No, it totally worked. The North Koreans yielded to our and the South Koreans’ superior grasp of bugfu*k nuts crazy and backed down. Which, given that the North Korean government is typically so insane that it usually takes three days to get them to notice what dimension that the rest of us are in, is pretty damned impressive.
PS: I forgot to mention the additional troops, the Marines brought in from Okinawa, the attack helicopters, and the aircraft carrier.