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First Lieutenant John C. Smith

First Lieutenant John C. Smith

First Lieutenant John C. SmithJohn Clay Smith was born in Portsmouth, Ohio on 11 February 1920. Joining the Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet in 1942, he graduated with Class 43-D at Luke Field, Arizona on 4 January 1943.

Sent initially to Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma with the 2nd Photographic Group, on 10 July Lieutenant Smith was transferred to the Southwest Pacific where he joined the 433rd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group at Amberly Field, Australia. Moving to Dobodura, New Guinea on 14 August 1943, Smith scored his first victory on 2 September when he shot down a Zeke and was credited with a Dinah as a probable..

On 15 and 17 October the 475th beat back massive attacks on Oro Bay, winning a Distinguished Unit Citation. Smith's share of that scoring was an Oscar on the 15th and two Zekes on the 17th. Six days later he became an ace with the destruction of another Oscar over Rabaul and completed his scoring with a Zeke downed southwest of Rabaul on the 29th.

On 9 November, John Smith was killed in action when he and Danny Roberts collided while chasing a Zeke over Alexishafen. Both are buried in the Military Cemetery at Manila, in the Philippines.

Tally Record:
6 Confirmed
1 Probable 

Distinguished Flying Cross
Purple Heart
Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters 

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