Task Force Smith - The Lesson Never Learned
Conclusions from a Monograph by Major John Garrett *
In the case study of Task Force Smith, the truth has been hidden by a series of revisionist historians, such as Fehrenbach, with agendas to serve. There are no conspiracy theories here, and many of the historians generally believed that what they were reporting was the truth.
They however have done an injustice to the men that served and their fellow soldiers who need to understand the reason’s why.
Uncovering the truth is only the first step. Once the truth is clearly revealed, it must be examined to determine what can be learned.
In the case of Task Force Smith and the 24th Infantry Division, the message that stands out is that soldiers cannot be employed without the intellect of the leaders being engaged beforehand.
The army must learn that readiness of an army is more than equipment and manning, it is the readiness of the leadership to learn the military and operational art of the profession before the first shot is fired. Since, in the end, the arrows drawn on the maps in headquarters represent young men who will never become grandfathers, because the leaders were not ready for battle.
That is the lesson of Task Force Smith. (emphasis added)
* Infantry School of Advanced Military Studies
United States Army Command and General Staff College
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Second Term AY 99-00
September 19, 2000, Page 42.
The Taro Leaf, Vol 64(1) Winter 2010, pg. 12.