Specialist 3d Class | Infantry
First to leave the United States for commitment in the Korean crisis was the 2d Division, with the 9th Infantry leading. First to be committed to the front line on arrival in country was the regiment's 2d Battalion, to whom the Division's motto "Second to None" applies without question.
To add to firsts, E Company was on line before the others when the 9th Infantry landed in August 1950. Aaron Collinsworth was one of the 150 GIs to raise arms along the Naktong line fresh from America. They had not even stopped in Japan on the way, and boots that had marched off from Fort Lewis now ground into Korean soil.
Of eight children born to William and Alice Collinsworth, Aaron was the youngest of the children who were each born about two years apart in Ivyton, near the eastern border of Kentucky. By 1940 the family had moved over 400 miles north to White Pigeon, Michigan, where Aaron's father maintained his job as a farmer. Eight years later, the family business was shoe repair, owned by his two closest brothers, Dennis and Burnis. Aaron, however, worked at Superior Tr Company out of Indiana until enlisting at South Bend in the autumn of 1948.
For the next year and a half he served at Fort Lewis with the 4th Regimental Combat Team. The unit was slated to move to Alaska, but was picked for replacements to fulfill the needs of the 2d Division when they were called on for the Korean crisis, and sailed with the 9th RCT from Tacoma on July 17, 1950. Even though staff at the highest level of division were unsure of their ultimate destination, most officers were convinced that the regiment would land in Japan first for staging and brief training or orientation. The enlisted personnel, perhaps more realists than the officers, felt they would be committed to Korea as soon as they reached the Far East.
They proved their theory on July 31 when the 9th RCT landed in Pusan and moved immediately to Kyongsan. One week later, they moved to the front and prepared for combat along the Naktong, relieving the battered 24th Division. E Company dug in at Obong-ni ridge, the evidence of previous engagements was unsettling. The next morning, they attacked, the 9th RCT was officially in combat against the North Korean Army.