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1st Lt. Willard Eugene Smith
Born Feb 17 1929 | Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas
Willard was born in Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas to True Thelmer and Pearl Irene Vinson Smith. He and his family lived in the East Point Community of Pope County. He was an only child.
He graduated from London High School, London, Pope County, Arkansas in 1947 and enlisted the U. S. Army in November, 1947.
Willard married Jimmie Lou West August 29, 1952 in Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas.
Willard first served in Korea as an enlisted man, before the war broke out. He arrived in 1948 and remained until 1949 when he was transferred to Hawaii.
On March 23, 1950 he was commissioned in the field and took over command of a rifle platoon.
On August 6, 1950 he earned the Silver Star for gallantry in action when, at the Mason perimeter, he led a machine gun platoon. One squad was cut off from the rest of the platoon and Lt. Smith went alone through the enemy lines and brought the squad back to the main body of troops. The decoration was presented to him September 26, 1950 near Seoul by the Regimental Commander at a formal parade.
He returned to Korea after the outbreak of war, and received his battlefield commission March 23, 1951 as 2nd Lt.
His battalion received a Presidential Unit citation when they moved to Chinju as Taejon was about to fall. The battalion pulled the enemy towards its side of the line as its contribution to the action.
2nd Lt. Smith returned to the United States June 2, 1951 after 21 months in Korea, including the first ten months of the war.
As 2nd Lt., He was a member of the 5th Regimental Combat Team on Korea's west coast and participated in the action in that section.
He returned to Korea to his old unit in October, 1952 and was assigned as commander of the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon. He was made commander of Company B. Willard was a 1st Lt. when he was killed in battle March 25, 1953. His tour was supposed to be over in April and he was going to be stationed in Japan. His body was not returned for burial until June, 1953. He was buried in the East Point Cemetery, Pope County, Arkansas on June 14, 1953 with military honors.
Information provided by Willard's cousin, Marilyn Price Morris June 2012