Task Force Smith Trail hike, Memorial, and Museum

Task Force Smith was the first US ‘unit’ to see action during the Korean War.  Comprised of about 550 soldiers pulled from occupation duty in Japan and led by Lt Col Charles Smith, the force was to stop or slow down the North Korean advance.  Their first encounter with the enemy was on some small hills between Osan and Suwon.  The site of the battle is marked by two monuments and a museum.

The Task Force Smith Trail is a Korea District project to encourage Boy Scouts to learn the history of the unit.  Stretching from the memorial to the city of Busan in the south, the 85 mile-long Trail approximates the route taken by Task Force Smith after it arrived in Korea. The trail is divided into seven segments; hiking at least 10 miles and visiting the memorial earns a Scout the basic patch, and hiking each segment earns a separate patch for that segment.

Troop 86 hiked a 13 mile-long route from Osan Air Base to the memorial that covered two of the segments, the Rabbit and the Turtle.  (The others are the Fish, Snake, Tiger, Goat, and Dragon).

Some poppies along the Jinwi river

Taking a break, not quite halfway through

A garden between some houses

Duh!  Where else would it be made???

I think they mean the city rather than the base, but we appreciate the sentiment anyway!

Part of a park in Suwon

A book club, no doubt!

I would’ve stopped here, but it was on the wrong
side of the street.  (That may sound weak, but we’re about the
12-mile point, and any extra walking is scrupulously avoided!)

In front of the memorial are the flags of all the nations that participated in the war

The Task Force Smith Memorial

One of the commemorative plaques on the memorial
Up on the hill behind the memorial are some of the original trenches occupied by Task Force Smith.  It’s amazing how people who have just walked 13 miles can still make it up there!

Another view of the memorial from up by the trenches

Getting their patch and segments (for a closer view, click here).

The UN Forces First Battle Memorial museum opened earlier in 2013

Among other displays is this tribute to the members of Task Force Smith

Here, visitors can leave messages, usually of appreciation.  Many of them have notes of thanks for the current military as well.

Across the road is the original Task Force Smith Memorial

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Last updated 29 July 2013