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Lt. Col. Fred E. Smith - Fallen

Rockford, IL
County: Ramsey
World War I - Fallen
Date of Loss: September 29, 1918 / Age: 45
Branch of Service: Army
Company/Division: 308th Infantry

Killed in action on Sept. 29, 1918.

Buried, Grave 18, Row 7, Block A, Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Meuse, France.

Name included on the All Veterans Memorial at State Capitol in Bismarck ND.

Information found in Volume 4, page 3006 of the Official Roster of North Dakota Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.

Not a registrant, enlisted prior. Born, Rockford, Ill., March 29, 1873, of (nationality of parents not given). Occupation - student. Appointed from civil life to the United States Military Academy, West Point, N. Y., on (date not given). Graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, N. Y., on Fe. 24, 1889. Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Feb. 24, 1899. Promoted: Captain, (date not given). Assigned to 15th Infantry, to July 12, 1918; 308th Infantry, to death. Promoted: Major, Aug. 3, 1917; Lieutenant-Colonel, Aug. 29, 1917. Overseas from April 25, 1918, to death. Engagements: Offensives: Oise-Aisne; Meuse-Argonne. Defensive Sectors: Baccarat (Lorraine); Vesle (Champagne); Foret-d'Argonne (Lorraine). Principal stations: Syracuse, N. Y.; Fort Thomas, Ky.; Camp Meade, Md.; AEF. Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty, in action with the enemy near Binarville, France, Sept. 28, 1918. 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, Lieutenant-Colonel Smith personally led a party of two other officers and ten 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 own danger, drew his pistol and opened fire on the German fun 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 atack on the enemy emplacements. As he was attemping to ascertain the exact location of the nearest nest, he again fell, mortally wounded. Awarded the French Legion d'Honneur (officer), by Presidental Decree of May 5, 1919, and French Croix de Guerre with palm, under Order No. 16,043 "D," dated April 13, 1919. General Headquarters, French Armies of the East, with the following citation: "An admirably courageous and devoted officer. On Sept. 29, 1918, the liaison between the advance post of command of his regiment and that of the attacking battalion having been cut by enemy patrols armed with machine guns, he took command of a group of two officers and ten men for the purpose of reestablishing the communications. Coming face to face with the enemy detachments he advanced several times in front of his group, killing several adversaries with his revolver and endeavoring to discover the locations of the others, until he was severely wounded." Awarded the Italian Croce di Guerra.

Medals and Honors

Medal of Honor