Photo by Sgt. 1st Class John Queen Soldiers of the 2nd Engineer Battalion, take up a defensive fighting positions as the battalion reenacts the Nov. 30, 1950, Korean War battle of Kunu-Ri during "Burning of the Colors" ceremony at Camp Dehdadi II in Northern Afghanistan. During the historic battle 60 years ago, more than 5,000 American soldiers were killed, wounded or captured by Chinese forces. When the battle was over, all but one officer of the battalion had been captured or killed. To prevent the colors from becoming a war trophy for the enemy, the command set it ablaze.

“CAMP DEHDADI II, Afghanistan – Soldiers of the United States Army’s 2nd Engineer Battalion, currently deployed to Camp Dehdadi II near Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan, conducted their unique, annual commemoration of the Korean War battle of Kunu-Ri Nov. 30.

Like most ceremonies that recognize a unit’s accomplishments, this one also pays tribute to an event that became a low point in the Battalion’s history – the burning of its Battalion Colors.

“We do it to honor the courage and sacrifice of our veterans – to commemorate their actions and acknowledge their place in history and the role they played in shaping the history of the 2nd Infantry Division and that of Korea,” said Lt. Col. Christopher M. Benson, commander of the 2nd Engineer Battalion. “We must never forget our history, nor the legacy our veterans left to us to maintain.”

As part of the ceremony, a scene is staged with Soldiers and equipment set to resemble the final moments leading up to the order to burn the flag.”

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Story by SFC John Queen

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