Lewis Warren Smith never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on March 10, 1918 in Utah. His parents Joseph and Ethel were also both born in Utah. His father served as one of the 12 apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (better known as the Mormon Church). His great granduncle was Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church. His mother died in 1937. Lewis had six older sister, one older brother and three younger brothers (all three served in the war). By 1940 Lewis had served as an LDS missionary in Switzerland, where he became fluent in German, and was attending the University of Utah while living at home.
He was drafted into the army on March 2, 1942. At the time he was a University of Utah graduate with a degree in business. He became a staff sergeant in the 706th CIC Detachment, Central Africa Division, Air Transport Command. The men in this service mainly dealt with transporting supplies from the Americas, across Africa for delivery to India. Sgt. Smith worked in army intelligence, probably taking advantage of his skills with the German language.
In December 1944 Sgt. Smith and his unit completed an assignment in India and were ready to return to base in Western Africa. They arranged to make a detour so they could spend Christmas in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. On December 29, 1944, having concluded their visit, Sgt. Smith and the others on his plane were killed in a plane crash in Palestine on a flight that was to take them back to their base in Western Africa.
His grave is at Salt Lake City Cemetery. His father served as President and Prophet of the LDS church in the early 1970s and lived to be 95 years old.
Last year on this date I profiled Medal of Honor hero George Keathley, 85th Infantry Division. You can read about George here. Well worth reading, especially his final message for his wife.
On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!
I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100