Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War I - U.S. Army

Fred E Smith

  • Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
  • Conflict/Era: World War I
  • Unit/Command:
    308th Infantry,
    77th Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: September 29, 1918
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Binarville, France
When communication from the forward regimental post of command to the battalion leading the advance had been interrupted temporarily by the infiltration of small parties of the enemy armed with machine guns, Lt. Col. Smith personally led a party of two other officers and 10 soldiers, and went forward to reestablish runner posts and carry ammunition to the front line. The guide became confused and the party strayed to the left flank beyond the outposts of supporting troops, suddenly coming under fire from a group of enemy machine guns only 50 yards away. Shouting to the other members of his party to take cover, this officer, in disregard of his danger, drew his pistol and opened fire on the German gun crew. About this time he fell, severely wounded in the side, but regaining his footing, he continued to fire on the enemy until most of the men in his party were out of danger. Refusing first-aid treatment, he then made his way in plain view of the enemy to a hand grenade dump and returned under continued heavy machine-gun fire for the purpose of making another attack on enemy emplacements. As he was attempting to ascertain the exact location of the nearest nest, he again fell, mortally wounded.
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Bartlett, Ramsey County, North Dakota
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: February 9, 1919
    Chaumont, France, presented by Gen. John J. Pershing
  • Born: March 29, 1873, Rockford, Winnebago County, IL, United States
  • Died: September 29, 1918, France
  • Buried: Meuse-Argonne Cemetery (MH) (A-7-18), Romagne Meuse, France

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