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Robert Burr Smith
Nickname Smitty
Born (1924-05-02)May 2, 1924
Died January 7, 1983(1983-01-07) (aged 58)
Place of birth Tacoma, Washington, United States
Place of death San Diego, California, United States
Buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1942–1945
1960s–1980s (Reserves)
Rank US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel
Unit 101st Airborne Division
Special Forces

World War II

Vietnam War

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Burr Smith (May 2, 1924 - January 7, 1983) was an American Army Officer. He was famous for his service for Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II. Smith was one of the 140 Toccoa men of Easy Company. Smith's life story was featured in the 2009 book We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from Band of Brothers.

Youth[edit | edit source]

Smith was born in May 2, 1924 in Tacoma, Washington. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was seven.[1] Smith was sent by his grandmother to Brown Military Academy in Pacific Beach, California because he acted as German soldiers and yelled 'Heil Hilter!' for fun with his friend.[2]

Military service[edit | edit source]

Smith enlisted in the army at Rochester, New York in August 18, 1942 and volunteered for paratroopers.[3] He was sent to Toccoa, Georgia for training and befriended Warren 'Skip' Muck and Donald Malarkey. William Guarnere in his biography said that Smith 'was a nice boy, so you blamed him for the devilment, because nobody believe it'.[4]

Smith made his first combat jump on D-Day into Normandy. He was originally with Plane 66, but was transferred out of the plane right before it took off as it was omvercrowded by Richard Winters[5] Plane 66 was later shot down by German artillery, killing everyone on board, including Easy Company Commander Lieutenant Thomas Meehan. Smith landed in an apple orchard in Normandy. He met with Robert Rader, Frank Perconte and others to engage in minor firefight with some Russians. They joined with Easy Company at dawn.[6] Smith was later wounded in Carentan.

Smith also fought in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge. In January 13, 1945, Smith was wounded in Foy, Belgium and was evacuated to the hospital.[7] He met Perconte and Malarkey and the three rejoined Easy Company in Germany before the end of the war.[8]

Later years[edit | edit source]

After the war, Smith returned to Los Angeles. He married a woman named Mary Jane and they had three children. He became a lithographer by trade. Smith stayed active in the Army Reserves and rose to Major.[9]

In the 1960s, Smith became a Green Beret after receiving Special Forces training.[10] He was then recruited by the CIA to be a paramilitary specialist for action in Laos during the Vietnam War.[11] He continued to perform his Army Reserve duties at this period and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.[12] Smith returned to the States in 1974 and became the CIA liaison officer to the Delta Force.[13] In 1980, Smith participated in the failed mission to free American hostages in the US embassy in Tehran, Iran.[14]

Smith retired from the CIA after a hang gliding accident.[15] He was later diagnosed with lung cancer. He died in January 7, 1983.[16]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. p.251, Brotherton
  2. p.251, Brotherton
  3. p.251, Brotherton
  4. Location 743, Guarnere
  5. p. 79,Winters
  6. p.254, Brotherton
  7. p.254, Brotherton
  8. Location 2721, Malarkey
  9. p.255, Brotherton
  10. p.255, Brotherton
  11. p.255, Brotherton
  12. p.256, Brotherton
  13. p.257, Brotherton
  14. p.257, Brotherton
  15. p.257, Brotherton
  16. p.259, Brotherton

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Ambrose, Stephen E. (1992). Band of Brothers: Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7434-6411-6. 
  • Robyn Post, William Guarnere and Edward Heffron (2008). Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends). Berkley Trade. ISBN 0425224368. 
  • Winters, Major Dick, with Cole C. Kingseed. Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters. 
  • Sgt Don Malarkey and Bob Welch (2009). Easy Company Soldier, the Legendary Battles of a Sergeant From World War II's "Band of Brothers". St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0-312-56323-3. 

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