Remembering Task Force Smith
July 10, 2008
On a ridgeline just north of Osan City, Korean officials and US Soldiers gathered on the 4th of July to pay tribute to the members of Task Force Smith that fought and died there 58 years before. The commemorative ceremony began with remarks given by The Mayor of Osan City, Lee Gi Ha, and the Deputy Governor of Gyeonggi Province, Pyo, Chol Su. They were followed by remarks from MG Michael Kuehr; the Deputy Commander of the Eighth United States Army, who delivered remarks on behalf of the Commander of USFK, General Walter L. Sharp.
In his remarks, MG Kuehr took the time to remind both the US Soldiers and Korean attendees of the ceremony's significance, "These brave Soldiers were charged with thwarting the North Korean Forces' attempt to pass through the hills of Osan, deeper into South Korean territory," Kuehr said, "These men were ill-equipped and largely outnumbered, but their mission was clear - hold off the enemy's assault until reinforcements arrive."
The Deputy Governor of Gyeonggi Province, Pyo, Chol Su, also noted on the valiant efforts of the Soldiers that were part of Task Force Smith, "They fought courageously to halt the advance of the North Korean tanks and waves of North Korean infantry. In that battle, 181 out of 540 young Americans made the ultimate sacrifice. Almost six million Soldiers from sixteen members of the United Nations joined the American Soldiers including those of Task Force Smith in the fight for an independent Korean nation."
A moment of silence was followed by the singing of "The Song of UN Participation in the Korean War" by the Osan City Women's Choir. The ceremony concluded with distinguished guests placing flowers of remembrance at the foot of the Task Force Smith Monument.
Over a hundred troops from 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery supported the event. Maj. Clay Mountcastle who served as co-master of ceremonies, said "We needed to be here today. We needed to pay tribute to those Soldiers who were thrown into an impossible situation and fought as bravely as they could. We owe it to them to remember."