Monday, May 14, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Silver Star hero Howie Smith, 34th Infantry Division

Captain Howard Smith led an artillery unit in the 34th Infantry Division from Algeria to Italy.
Howard A. Smith, Jr. never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on May 14, 1918 in New York. His parents Howard and Emily were also both born in New York. His father worked as a fireman and later was the treasurer for American Express and was the president of the Ridgewood Country Club. Howard, who went by Howie, had a younger sister and two younger brothers. He was captain and star of the football team in high school. He attended college at Princeton University and graduated in 1941 with a degree in economics.

He likely had some ROTC experience from college and became an artillery officer in the summer of 1941. He became the executive officer an artillery battery in the 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division. He took part in the first combat against the Germans in Algeria in November 1942 and the fighting that continued into Tunisia. He was transferred to the 168th IR Cannon Company and also was part of the Italian campaign from Salerno to Naples to Casino. He rose to the rank of Captain.

In October 1943 he earned the Silver Star ...

... for gallantry in action in October 1943 in the vicinity of Italy. When the attack of this 2nd Battalion, Infantry was stopped on low ground, observation upon enemy positions was nil except in places covered by enemy automatic weapons fire. 

In the absence of an artillery observer, Captain Smith, with utter disregard for his own safety and on his own initiative went forward and established an observation post. He exposed himself to enemy machine-gun fire to secure the much-needed observation and brought the fire of his Cannon Company to bear on the enemy position, neutralizing their fire. Later, when one platoon was making an attack upon enemy positions, Captain Smith went forward through intense enemy machine gun, small arms and mortar fire to gain better observation. 

By doing this, he was able to locate several enemy machine gun emplacements, direct the fire of his Cannon Company on them and destroy them. Captain Smith's initiative, courage and devotion to duty were exemplary and are a credit to the Armed Forces of the United States.

On November 1, 1943, while his unit was engaging the enemy at Prata, Captain Smith left his command post to establish an observation post and was killed by a bomb fragment during an air raid.

His grave is at Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah, New Jersey

Thank you Howard for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Howard.

Last year on this date I profiled King Gunther, who was among over 1,300 men killed by a German cruise missile that sunk the HMT Rohna. This is a story few people have read even though it claimed more lives than the sinking of the USS Arizona. You can read about King here.

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:

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WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

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