1943 — Italy
"Bobby's Story" The story of one of our unknown Heroes. Flight Officer Robert H Smidt, "Bobby" was born in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho on 27 Sept. 1921. On Pearl Harbor Day, 7 Dec. 1941, Bobby had just turned 20 years old. Bobby was already "ready" as he enlisted on 6 July, 1940, so was "In the Army Now!" He must have been destined to be an unsung Hero, as so many were, in the overall effort to win this War against the Evil in the World. Oh, and win it we would, but the cost was high indeed.
On 19 August, 1943, Bobby would be a P-38 Lightening Fighter Pilot assigned to watch over the B-25 Mitchells of the 310th Bomb Group, the 380th Bomb Squadron out of N. Africa. Bobby was with the 82nd Fighter Group, the 96th Fighter Squadron. His Ship was a P-38 #43-2514 / #43-30542. Bobby along with his Flight Leader, Lt Allen R "Bob" Kennedy (and the rest of the Escort) saw a B-25 hit the water and they made decision to guard them with their lives. The Medium Bomber sank fast but all of the Men got out. Flight Leader Lt Kennedy drank some of the water from his Canteen, (so it would float) then tossed it to the Men below. They circled the B-25 Men in the raft for HOURS, then flew away most probably for gas, Bobby was likely the 'last' to leave, and more "out of gas" than the others....away he went and Bobby was never seen again. This amazing young man had stayed too long ? Ran out of gas ? Ran into fighters, became confused and went the wrong way ? ? ? We will never know.
Last Known Activity (By Bob Craft)
FO Robert (Bobby) Smidt disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea in August 1943. Bobby was piloting one of the P-38 Lightnings from the 96th fighter Squadron that was escorting B-25 bombers from the 310th Bombardment Group on the way to bomb Salerne, Italy. One of the bombers went down in the Mediterranean and Bobby was circling over a rubber dingy that the bomber crew was in. No one knew whether Bobby was low on fuel and left or just crashed in the sea. Read some of the documents posted for more details.Please see the LINK under the Map for Bobby's Main web-site. Bob Craft is dedicated to the memory of all of our Heroes, some still here, many gone above. Bobby was a cousin to Bob Craft's Mother.
PLEASE see the LINKS under the MAP for Bobby's main web-site and that of his relative Bob Craft and many-MANY other Heroes that Bob has placed. Men and women from all services, and all theatres so that they should be remembered for always. Bob Craft's dedication is inspiring to all.
Robert H. Smidt Flight Officer, U.S. Army Air Forces Service # T-186611 96th Fighter Squadron, 82nd Fighter Group Entered the Service from: Idaho
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at North Africa American Cemetery
Carthage, Tunisia Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart
Barbi Ennis Connolly, 57th Bomb Wing Historical Researcher PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com