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Gilbert Nolan Smith

Gilbert Nolan Smith
Born April 1, 1940
Died March 19. 1967
Service Branch Army
Rank Specialist 4
Rating or Job Pilot
Unit 68th Assault Helicopter Company
Military Citations  

Spec. 4 Gilbert Nolan Smith

April 1, 1940 - Mar. 19. 1967


Gilbert Smith span his boyhood on the family farm in Macon, Missouri helping grow corn and beans and raising dairy cattle and hogs.

He spent his final months in the door of a Huey helicopter, firing a machine gun at the Viet Cong.

Smith didn’t stay on the farm long. Shortly after his 18th birthday, in 1958, he joined the Army and was trained as a construction machine operator and firefighter.

When his enlistment expired in February 1962, he left the Army and settled in Durham with his family. His sister said he farmed a small tract of land there and worked in local nut processing plants.

Smith re-enlisted in the Army in February 1966. Eight months latter, he was assigned to Vietnam with the 68th Assault Helicopter Company.

On March 19, 1967, Smith’s helicopter was one of 10 carrying troops to a combat mission near Suoi Da. As they neared the landing zone the helicopters came under a barrage of rifle and machine gun fire.

Smith continued to man his gun, and after the Huey landed helped the infantrymen disembark. Just as the chopper was about to take oil, a land mine was detonated beneath it. The whole crew was killed.

Gilbert Smith left a wife and two children.

Chico News & Review, May 26, 1988



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