Rank and organization:   Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 423d Bombardment
Squadron, 306th Bomber Group.
Place and date:   Over Europe, 1 May 1943.
Entered service at:   Cairo, Mich.
Birth:   1911, Cairo Mich.
G.O. No.: 38,
12 July 1943.
Citation:   For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action
above and beyond the call of duty. The aircraft of which Sgt. Smith was
a gunner was subjected to intense enemy antiaircraft fire and determined
fighter airplane attacks while returning from a mission over enemy-occupied
continental Europe on 1 May 1943. The airplane was hit several times by
antiaircraft fire and cannon shells of the fighter airplanes, 2 of the
crew were seriously wounded, the aircraft's oxygen system shot out, and
several vital control cables severed when intense fires were ignited simultaneously
in the radio compartment and waist sections. The situation became so acute
that 3 of the crew bailed out into the comparative safety of the sea. Sgt.
Smith, then on his first combat mission, elected to fight the fire by himself,
administered first aid to the wounded tail gunner, manned the waist guns,
and fought the intense flames alternately. The escaping oxygen fanned the
fire to such intense heat that the ammunition in the radio compartment
began to explode, the radio, gun mount, and camera were melted, and the
compartment completely gutted. Sgt. Smith threw the exploding ammunition
overboard, fought the fire until all the firefighting aids were exhausted,
manned the workable guns until the enemy fighters were driven away, further
administered first aid to his wounded comrade, and then by wrapping himself
in protecting cloth, completely extinguished the fire by hand. This soldier's
gallantry in action, undaunted bravery, and loyalty to his aircraft and
fellow crewmembers, without regard for his own personal safety, is an inspiration
to the U.S. Armed Forces.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)