James Albert Smith

Staff Sergeant
United States Marine Corps
18 November 1934 - 18 August 1965
Warsaw, Kentucky
Panel 02E Line 061

Purple Heart, USMC Good Conduct, National Defense, Korean Service, Vietnam Service, UN Service, RoK War Service, Vietnam Campaign James A. Smith

The database page for James Albert Smith

28 Sep 2004

Services Held Friday For S-Sgt Jas.
A. Smith, Victim of Viet Nam Action

Veteran Of 14 Years Service

Funeral services were conducted Friday, August 17 for S/Sgt. James Albert Smith, Warsaw native, who was killed in action in Viet Nam on Wednesday, August 18. His body was flown to Greater Cincinnati Airport from South Vietnam.

Services were conducted from the Second Consolidated Baptist Church with burial in the Odd Fellows Cemetery with Carlton Funeral Home in charge of the arrangements.

S/Sgt. Smith, 32, a career Marine, had been in service for fourteen years and in Viet Nam approximately six months.

S/Sgt. Smith attended elementary school in Warsaw and was graduated from Lincoln Institute near Shelbyville.

He was home last Spring on leave for the last time. The Sergeant had been overseas twice before his Viet Nam assignment. According to reports, Sgt. Smith suffered a fatal head wound when taking part in an assault to capture an isolated Viet Cong outpost.

S/Sgt. Smith is survived by his wife, Thelma Brown Smith; two children, Jimmy and Valerie; his mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. George A. Smith; a brother, William Gayle Smith and three sisters, Rhoda Mary Dodds, Katie Smith, and Maybelle Nevilles.

S/Sgt Smith was buried with military honors at the Odd Fellows Cemetery. A Cincinnati Marine unit, commanded by Capt. [illegible] was in charge.

From the Gallatin County (KY) News
02 Sep 1965

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 2nd Bn, 4th Marines (2/4) arrived in Chu Lai in May 1965, but initial contacts with the enemy were minimal. OPERATION STARLITE, the first regimental-sized battle for American forces since the Korean War and the first major engagement for 2/4, was an assault against the 1st Viet Cong Regiment's positions on the Van Tuong Peninsula, 15 miles south of the Chu Lai airstrip. Three Marine battalions (2nd Bn 4th Marines, 3rd Bn 3rd Marines, and 3rd Bn 7th Marines) and supporting units were involved.

On 18 August 1965 Mike 3/3 approached the area on foot, while the remaining forces were landed by amphibious and heliborne assault. Hotel 2/4 was landed in the middle of the Vietcong 60th Battalion's position and immediately surrounded. Two miles north India 3/3 was heavily engaged by another VC battalion. 18 August cost the lives of 50 sailors and Marines, but set the stage for decisively defeating the 1st VC Regiment, killing 614 Viet Cong.

Hotel 2/4 lost 16 men as a result of the day's fighting:

  • GySgt Albert H. Raitt, Neptune City, NJ
  • SSgt James A. Smith, Warsaw, KY
  • Sgt Jerry D. Tharp, Kemp, TX
  • Sgt Peter C. Towne, Morris, CT
  • Cpl William W. Nickerson, Sarasota, FL
  • LCpl James R. Brooks, Anderson, SC
  • LCpl James P. Dewitt, Fruita, CO
  • LCpl Eddie L. Landry, Gonzales, LA (Silver Star)
  • LCpl Joe C. Paul, Dayton, OH, DoW 08/19/65 (Medal of Honor)
  • LCpl Mitchell C. Short, Canoga Park, CA
  • LCpl Kenneth D. Stankiewicz, Buffalo, NY (Silver Star)
  • Pfc Bruce J. Henrich, Detroit, MI
  • Pfc Henry C. Jordan, New York, NY
  • Pfc Harry L. Kaus, Dunkirk, NY (Silver Star)
  • Pfc James H. Sawyer, Morgantown, WV
  • Pfc John B. Tette, Rochester, NY

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009