2nd Ranger Battalion
Plot H, Row 21, Grave 8
Frederick D. Smith was born on November 27, 1921 in Trenton, NJ. In 1941 Smith joined the local Connecticut National Guard. When the United States entered the war, Smith’s National Guard unit became mobilized, and he became a member of the 1st Battalion of the 102nd Infantry. Before leaving for his first tour of duty overseas, Frederick became engaged to a young woman named Kathleen, who was a student nurse at St. Mary's Hospital.
On January 30, 1942, his unit was deployed to the Christmas Islands and fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal. There he was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery in action.
Following his service with the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theater, Smith enlisted with the 2ndRanger Battalion. He began his training in 1943 at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Smith and the other 2ndRangers continued their preparation for Operation Overlord in England in 1943 and 1944. During his time as a 2ndRanger, he earned the rank of staff sergeant.
The morning of June 6th, Smith and the rest of Company ‘A’ landed on Omaha Beach at the Dog Green Sector. Their objective was to exit the beach at the Vierville Draw, and to capture Pointe du Hoc via the overland route. The scene at Dog Green Beach was a slaughterhouse. ‘A’ Company of the 116thInfantry, 29thInfantry Division had a 92 percent casualty rate. Almost all in the unit were killed, wounded or missing in the landings.
Smith survived the initial landing of the beach and safely climbed to the bluffs above Omaha Beach. But while clearing out a German strong point, he was shot and killed by enemy machine gun fire.
Awards: Silver Star, Purple Heart
Frederick D. Smith is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot H, Row 21, Grave 8.