Academic journal article Military Review

Spare Not the Brave: The Special Activities Group in Korea

Academic journal article Military Review

Spare Not the Brave: The Special Activities Group in Korea

Article excerpt

SPARE NOT THE BRAVE: The Special Activities Group in Korea Richard L. Kiper, Kent State University Press, Kent, Ohio, 337 pages

This book provides a detailed account of the Special Activities Group (SAG), a little-known special operations unit during the Korean War. The author, Richard L. Kiper, has conducted extensive research of U.S. Army historical records and also met with surviving SAG members, to include first-hand accounts of the unit's short-lived tenure. In the book, the author chronicles the authorization and formation of the unit, its deployment from Japan in 1950, the constant challenge it faced due to a lack of proper resources, and its battles against North Korean and Chinese forces during harsh winter weather conditions.

The Special Activities Group was activated for only eight months, from August 1950 through 31 March 1951, before it was deactivated and its members were reassigned to other units or returned to Japan for reassignment. Through the author's research and witness interviews, the book describes everything from the mundane day-to-day operations, such as straightening out newly assigned soldiers' pay, to harrowing accounts of being low on ammunition and surrounded by enemy forces during winter combat. In essence, it provides readers with an understanding of what it takes for units to operate while deployed to combat zones.

Of particular interest is the author's discussion of the continuous struggle by higher commands to determine the unit's exact purpose and mission. Originally constituted as a descendant of the World War II Marine Corps Raiders (Special Forces) concept, the SAG and its subordinate companies were originally conceived to be a ship-to-shore, littoral raiding force that conducted behind-the-lines operations. …

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