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Date Posted: Wed, April 19 2006, 12:50:40
Author: Jeff Northridge
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Subject: Re: SP4 Kenneth J. Smolarek
In reply to: John Herrold 's message, "SP4 Kenneth J. Smolarek" on Tue, April 18 2006, 17:51:32

Howdy John;

SP4 Kenneth James Smolarek's Army Serial Number is RA 386501115 (which means that he enlisted). Notice that there are nine digits in the number instead of the usual eight which means that the numerical portion is probably SP4 Smolarek's Social Security Number as well since the Army was switching over to the use of SSNs exclusively starting in early 1969. His MOS was 11B2P (light weapons infantryman, airborne qualified). He was born on 8/3/50 and his hometown of record is Detroit, MI. His tour of duty in Vietnam commenced on 10/19/69 and he was assigned to K Company, 75th Infantry Regiment (Rangers), 4th Infantry Division. He was KIA on 12/27/69 in Pleiku Province (the Central Highlands of Vietnam) due to "Hostile, Ground Casualty, Other Explosive Device" (which means a booby trap or anti-personnel mine). His body was recovered, his religious preference was Roman Catholic, and he was single.

It looks like SP4 Smolareck was an Airborne Ranger. These guys are the best of the best. In order to get into the 75th Rangers, one has to volunteer and go through Ranger School and Jump School without washing out. The 75th Rangers were busted up into one or two companies assigned to each Army division in Vietnam with K Co. being assigned to the 4th Inf. Div. The Rangers' missions entailed infiltrating small-man teams deep into enemy-held territory for the purpose of gathering information (commonly referred to as Long Range Reconnaisance Patrols or LRRPs). This is dangerous work because if you're discovered, there are no friendlies nearby who can come to the rescue within a reasonable length of time.

There is a tribute to SP4 Smolarek posted on the Virtual Wall Memorial at http://www.virtualwall.org/ds/SmolarekKJ01a.htm by a fellow Ranger, but they don't seem to known each other. I could find no remembrances posted by buddies or relatives anywhere. You could try leaving a message in the guestbook of the 75th Ranger Association at http://www.75thrra.com/ and see if there's anybody who remembers SP4 Smolarek.

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