Shorty Estabrook: Task Force Smith

Today, actually this morning, some 63 years ago, the sun came out as usual and it was very humid in that far off land called Korea.

Task Force Smith, a group of a little more than 500 men, from the 24th Infantry Division including Artillery and Medical, spent the night of the 4th of July, 1950, hunkered down in fox holes waiting the onslaught of the North Korean Army that was steam rolling down Korea. They woke up tired and hungry and had that feeling in their stomachs.

Then, on 5 July, “ the you know what”, hit the fan.  A gallant fight followed and the Americans fought bravely even though outnumbered, out gunned and unprepared for battle.

This morning, 63 years ago, many Americans were killed in action, wounded in action and captured.  The first Americans captured in the Korean War began their long imprisonment in Korea.  Many would not make it home and are still bleaching in the sun of North Korea. These men were subjected to torture and barbaric brutal captivity.

This year we will commemorate the 60 years since the Cease Fire in Korea.

But let us not forget those brave men who met the enemy on this day 63 years ago today.  Don’t let history move the brush so quickly.

I have to think that without Task Force Smith, many good friends of mine, North Korea might have taken South Korea by storm.  Think of the implications if that had happened.

And there is no such thing as the “Forgotten War.”  Communism was dealt a death blow and now many who lived under Communism are free.

Freedom is indeed not free and that is not true in North Korea where there is no freedom at all.

We salute the men of Task Force Smith.  Brave men, who were sent into the inferno of battle, and who, deserve our praise and thanks for a job very well done.

Shorty Estabrook

July 5, 2013


  1. I am one of the ex-pow’s that was part of task-force smith. I was captured on 7/16/1950. I have read the articles in the May issue of the American Legion Magazine I just rec’d. It brought back memories of those we left behind and of the many killled by the Tiger on the Death March.

    Thank You.
    James Hunt, former 24th Inf/former Ex-Pow.

    I have a book I have written if you would like a copy.
    Contact me at

    Again, Thank You for en excellent article.

  2. jack goodwin

    james you were not task force smith task force smith were b and c co 21st inf you were in the 19th inf 24th div your pow buddie jack goodwin task force smith

  3. Roger samms

    Thanks for being Jack Samms friend and for helping him.

  4. Helen W. Hinson

    I am the namesake of my mother’s college roommate, Helen Rosser, one of the Lady Tigers. It would mean so much to me to be able to talk to Shorty Estabrook but so far I have not been able to contact him. The phone number in one of his articles turned out to be someone in Texas who had never heard of Mr. Estabrook. Can someone help me? Thank you, HELEN Hinson

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