Korean Service
Purple Heart
     Infantry Weapons     
     THE WHOLE SITE     
     Combat Photos     

The Foundation of Freedom is the Courage of Ordinary People

History  Bert '53  On Line

Task Force Smith

The Korean War, 1950-1953

American Ground Forces Enter the Battle

Two under-strength rifle companies, inadequately reinforced, moved to face a victorious NK Infantry and Tank Division in July, 1950. The watching ROK sentry must have wondered why US Army Command thought two companies could stop a multi-division tank-infantry assault when 4 ROK Divisions could not. In fact, these brave warriors had not been given a clearly defined mission. In the absence of any coordinated plan for defending South Korea, our military and political leaders were sending them, like Lambs, to a Slaughter.

1st Units of doomed Task Force Smith enter Taejon

1st Units of Task Force Smith entering Taejon, 7/2/50

U.S. Army 24th Infantry Division Photo
D.M. Giangreco, War in Korea: 1950-1953 (Presidio Press).

Osan Bazooka team

PFC Kenneth Shadrack (right), part of 2.36 in. Bazooka Team firing on an NKPA T34 tank south of Osan. Seconds later PFC Shadrack was mortally wounded by machine gun fire.

Lt. Col. Charles B. Smith, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, led the first American troops to fight against North Korea. Task Force Smith, with only two under-strength rifle companies, B and C, and part of the 1st Battalion, supported by part of the 52nd Field Artillery Battalion, fought elements of the North Korean 4th Division and 105th Armored Division, a few miles north of Osan, on July 5, 1950.

by Bill Wyrick, former Plt Ldr, 2nd Plt, C Co, TFS

(The rostrum is located to the right front of the audience and the speaker faces essentially north. The audience is at the speaker's left and the monument and Hill 117 to his right The speaker addresses the men who were KIA, MIA, or POW [DIEH] on 5 July 1950)

Fellow members of Task Force Smith, it has now been 48 years since we deployed on this hill. We did not realize it at the time, but we were the vanguard of the United Nations Forces who came to help the South Korean people defend their freedom. Our mission was to delay the main enemy forces coming down this historic invasion route Seoul - Taejon - Taegu - Pusan.

My comrades, 53 of you were Killed In Action here on that day so long ago. 5 of you are still Missing In Action. 34 of you died in unspeakable conditions as Prisoners Of War in either South or North Korea. To you I report that we completed our assigned task with honor. The enemy had to deploy his forces in order to eject us from this hill. When the enemy's tanks reached this spot, followed by a convoy of truck-mounted Infantry many miles long, they were traveling at 20-25 miles per hour. About seven hours later the enemy's infantry was slowly occupying the high ground to my right. Afterwards, when the main body of the enemy's force continued down the road to my left they were walking at 2-3 miles per hour.

There are a number of your comrades here with me today. They marvel at the progress the Korean people have made since we arrived here so many years ago. Your sacrifice undoubtedly played a major role in the defense of their freedom.

To the Korean people assembled here today, I say thank you for honoring my comrades. Always remember that here, on the fifth day of July 1950, your people and my people became Blood Brothers.

When you explain the meaning of freedom to your children - tell them about Task Force Smith and the foreigners who died here. Tell them that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

        KOREAN WAR TIME LINE         
     Tanks and Fighting Vehicles     
               Enemy Weapons              

     Korean War, 1950-1953        
  Map and Battles of the MLR   
                 SEARCH SITE                  

Poor Leadership Can Sometimes Cause Wars
Ordinary People Always Pay For Them

-  A   VETERAN's  Blog  -
Today's Issues and History's Lessons

  Danish Muslim Cartoons  

  Guest Book