Saturday, June 1, 2013

Task Force Smith Heritage Trail (Korea)


Aloha from Korea!   On Saturday, June 1, the Lowe Family joined Boy Scout Troop 86 on the Task Force Smith Heritage Trail.  The Scouts hiked two segments of the 86 mile trail created by BSA's Far East Council to commemorate the American Forces' entrance into the Korean Conflict.   

From this link,

Task Force Smith was the first U.S. Army ground maneuver unit to enter combat in Korea. The initial force was to make contact with the enemy and fight a delaying action. This was Task Force Smith, "that arrogant display of strength" that MacArthur hoped would fool the North Koreans into thinking a larger force was at hand. Some officers assumed that even this small force would give the North Koreans pause once they realized whom they were fighting.

Task Force Smith was named for Lieutenant Colonel Charles B. Smith, commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 21st Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. It comprised 406 officers and men: half of the battalion headquarters company, two understrength rifle companies (B and C), a communications section, a recoilless rifle platoon and two mortar platoons. In addition to its rifles, the task force had two 75mm recoilless rifles, two 4.2-inch mortars, six 2.36-inch "bazooka" rocket launchers and four 60mm mortars. Each man was issued 120 rounds of ammunition and two days' C-rations. Most of the men were 20 years old or less; only one sixth had seen combat.

The trail ends at the Task Force Smith Memorial in Suwon where the first battle between the American Forces and the North Koreans took place.   

Andrew and David pose by the original trenches on the hill above the memorial.  The troop also visited the UN Forces First Battle Memorial.   

The scouts received the trail patch plus the two segments.   Mahalo, Troop 86, for hosting scouts from Troop 97!