Plymouth County

T/Sgt. Walter J. Smith




Sgt. Walter J. Smith from Camp McClain, Miss., arrived Thursday afternoon on a furlough visit with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. H. Smith. Sergeant Smith just missed seeing his youngest brother, Kenneth Smith, who left last week for Camp Farragut, Idaho, and his oldest brother, Petty Officer 3/c Marvin R. Smith of Davisville, R.I., who was here on a short furlough the latter part of June.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, July 15, 1943


LeMars, Iowa—Among LeMars service men who are spending furloughs with their relatives and friends here are Sergeant L. Featherston, son of Mr. and Mrs. Greg Featherston, Sergeant Walter Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Smith, Corporal Dick Crayne, Cadet Henry Koch, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Koch, Corporal Albert Olson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ole Olson of Seney, Seaman Dale Rienking, brother of Mr. Arthur Berkenpas, Corporal Bevo Reynolds, son of Mrs. C.A. Reynolds, Lieut. Albert Wiltgen, son of Mr. and Mrs. N.W. Wiltgen and Lieut. Bob Kempker, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Kempker.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, July 22, 1943


Marvin R. Smith, S.F. 3/c, writes his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. H. Smith, from Recuperation Center, Camp Parks, Calif., stating that he is recovering from a back injury sustained some time ago. The outfit to which he was attached had been shipped out, and until his complete recovery he will be confined to Camp Parks. Another son, Sgt. Walter J. Smith, who has been stationed at Camp McCain, Miss., wrote a few days ago that they were being shipped out, destination unknown.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, August 16, 1943

Letter To Parents Here Gives Little Information

Sgt.  Walter J. Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Smith of this city, has notified his parents by letter that he is back in the hospital again in China, receiving treatment for gun shot wounds in both feet.

The letter gave little information about his condition or how he was wounded.  He merely states that there is nothing to worry about and that he is getting around or along pretty good now.

Sgt. Smith entered the army in 1937, serving an enlistment at Fort Lincoln, Bismarck, N. D. He enlisted again soon after Pearl Harbor, and was sent to Camp Rucker, Ala., and later to Camp McClain, Miss., from where he volunteered for service in the Burma-India-China sector and has been overseas about 10 months.

He was in the hospital in China some time ago for an appendicitis operation.

Another son, Marvin E. Smith, who is a member of a Sea Bee unit, is reported in a Naval hospital in the South Pacific.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, June 29, 1944

[Note: The left side of the copy page was obscured. Some of the words on the left margin are not seen or readable. A blank line will be typed, indicating missing word/s.]


Mr. and Mrs. Chas. H. Smith of _____ have received a letter from their son, S/Sgt. Walter J. Smith informing them that he ________ living in former Jap ______ somewhere in China. _______ dated August 10, and _________.

_______ rain is coming  ______ day and I’ve got such a _______ ________ I can hardly talk. It’s _________ _______mp now for some time.  _______ season, you know.

I am living now, in a former ______ barracks, far from where I used to live. I have a Jap ______ and the gold off a Jap’s ________. I’ll send them home as soon as I find some more things.  It took me half a day to make me a bed. Boy, this wood is sure hard wood. I just made the frame work, then strung my jungle hammock over it, and you would be surprised how soft it is. I’m just wondering how Ken like his hammock.

I’m Supply Sergeant now. Sure like my new job, and by the way the first of August I was made Staff Sergeant.

Enclosed you will find (I hope) one Jap insignia of rank, and ¼ Rupee. I haven’t been able to find out what the 3 stars stand for yet. I got these things and a tooth off the Jap myself.

I’ve done a lot of interesting things since I’ve been at the new place, that I can’t tell about, but what you might soon read about in the daily papers.

P.S. The Censor and I both received our promotions the same time.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, August 31, 1944

LeMars Soldier in China

(Shown above with a Chinese soldier, displaying a captured Japanese flag, is S. Sgt. Walter J. Smith, 26, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Smith, of LeMars, Ia., who is serving in the China theater.)

Y-Force Operations Staff, China Theater—S. Sgt. Walter J. Smith, 26 son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Smith, LeMars, Ia., is serving as supply sergeant with a Y-force liaison group in southwestern China.

Smith, who attended school in Ida Grove, Ia., was a truck driver for a lumber company at Scotia, Cal., before entering the Army in January, 1937. He served at Fort Crook, Neb.; Fort Lincoln, N.D.; Camp McCain, Miss.; and Camp Rucker, Ala.

About three months after arriving in India in October, 1943, Smith was flown across the Himalayan “hump” to China, where he joined Y-Force, the American military mission which trained, equipped and supplied the Chinese expeditionary force for its successful Salween campaign.

Smith crossed the Salween in the early months of the campaign with one of the Y-Force liaison groups which gave technical advice and medical assistance during the eight-month offensive which succeeded in linking up the old Burma road with the new Ledo road, thereby restoring to China its overland supply route, blocked by the Japanese since 1942.

Furnishing supplies to the Salween combat area in western Yunnan province, one of the most rugged and inaccessible in the world, required much ingenuity and planning. Airplanes, trucks, pack animals, including cows and horses, and even coolies were employed in the process.

To groups in the more remote regions, including reaches of the 12,000-foot Kaolikung mountain range, a spur of the Himalayas, supplies were air dropped. In many of these operations, Smith played an important part, often within the range of strafing from Jap planes as well as enemy small arms fire.

For his service with Y-Force in China, Smith, who was promoted to staff sergeant in August 1944, is entitled to wear a bronze star on his Asiatic campaign ribbon.

Two brothers are serving in the armed forces, Marvin R., with the Seabees in the South Pacific, and Kenneth C., with the Navy.

Source: The Sioux City Journal,, March 19, 1945 (photo included)

A radiogram from their son, T/Sgt. Walter J. Smith was received by Mr. and Mrs. Chas. H. Smith, in which he stated he was leaving China and was on his way home.  Sgt. Smith had spent over two years in China.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, October 22, 1945