Jack R. Smith
U. S. Army
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 1940 - 10/1945
ammo passer in a tank

As a boy he worked five-and-a-half days a week, carrying water to workers in the fields. In his spare time, Jack played baseball, rode horses, went hunting for o'possums by night and deer by day. He was born in Hortman, Louisiana, and graduated from Cotton Valley High School in 1940. He attended McNeese State College in Lake Charles briefly, and then returned and joined a National Guard unit of anti-aircraft artillery. On January 13, 1941, the unit was sent to Camp Hulen near Palacios, Texas, where he met his future wife, Faye. On January 13, 1941, he was sent to San Diego and set up an anti-aircraft defense around Consolidated Aircraft Corporation, where Faye later worked. "I sat there twenty-seven months," he says. He and Faye came home to Minden, where they married, then both returned to San Diego. He was brought back to Camp Hulen for retraining, and then was sent overseas as a replacement in the Sixteenth Tank Battalion in the Third Army. He recalls spending fourteen days in a convoy zigzagging across the Atlantic, en route to LaHavre, France. Jack served as an ammo passer in a tank. He remembers helping to liberate Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, part of the Sudetenland that Hitler had annexed to Germany before the war. There he watched local citizens running German soldiers through a gauntlet. "Now we'd never seen hatred like hatred over there," he says. "It was pure hatred." After achieving seventy-five points, Jack came home was discharged at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Mississippi in October 1945. After the war he worked on the railroad, first as a firemen, then as an engineer. He retired in 1985.