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Service:United States Army Air Forces
Date of Birth:19 May 1911
Place of Birth:Caro, Michigan, USA
Date of Death:11 May 1984 (Aged 72 years)
Decorations:Medal of Honor
Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
Units:423rd Bombardment Squadron, 306th Bombardment Group, USAAF

US Air Force / Fold3


15 May 1984Buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.


Medal of Honor:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. The aircraft of which Sgt. Smith was a gunner was subjected to intense enemy antiaircraft fire and determined fighter airplane attacks while returning from a mission over enemy-occupied continental Europe on 1 May 1943. The airplane was hit several times by antiaircraft fire and cannon shells of the fighter airplanes, 2 of the crew were seriously wounded, the aircraft's oxygen system shot out, and several vital control cables severed when intense fires were ignited simultaneously in the radio compartment and waist sections. The situation became so acute that 3 of the crew bailed out into the comparative safety of the sea. Sgt. Smith, then on his first combat mission, elected to fight the fire by himself, administered first aid to the wounded tail gunner, manned the waist guns, and fought the intense flames alternately. The escaping oxygen fanned the fire to such intense heat that the ammunition in the radio compartment began to explode, the radio, gun mount, and camera were melted, and the compartment completely gutted. Sgt. Smith threw the exploding ammunition overboard, fought the fire until all the firefighting aids were exhausted, manned the workable guns until the enemy fighters were driven away, further administered first aid to his wounded comrade, and then by wrapping himself in protecting cloth, completely extinguished the fire by hand. This soldier's gallantry in action, undaunted bravery, and loyalty to his aircraft and fellow crewmembers, without regard for his own personal safety, is an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces.

Burial Details

Grave:Section 66, Grave 7375


S/Sgt Maynard H. Smith being presented with the Medal of Honor by Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson

External Links



U.S. Army n.f.d. Find a grave. Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 28 December 2017 from <http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Explore/Find-a-Grave>.

Record updated on 28 December 2017.


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