VETERAN OF THE MONTH—OCTOBER
The Ohio County Veterans Museum has announced its Veteran of the Month for October and Sgt. E-5 Dannie Smith, US Army has been chosen. He will be honored with respect and gratitude for his service to our country with a special exhibit at the Museum during the month.
Mr. Smith was born in the Dundee area of Ohio County in 1946 to Fred and Bernice Duke Smith. He attended Ohio County schools, graduating from Hartford High School in 1964 and was inducted in April 1966 through the Local Draft board #78 in Hartford with basic training being taken in Fort Knox.
This was followed by Jungle Warfare training at Fort Polk, La., then to Vietnam in October 1966, serving with the 1st Infantry Division, 28th BTN. Co. B. reaching the rank of SGT E-5 While stationed at Laikia, as a result of an ambush in the battle known as “KIA Operation Billings” near the Cambodian border, he received shrapnel wounds and other more permanent injuries. He recuperated “in country”. In all, his squad lost nine soldiers with 20 wounded, while over 200 of the enemy lost their lives. After carrying some shrapnel for apx. 48 years, the last piece successfully exited his arm this year. His service in Vietnam ended in August 1967, after 10 months. He was honorably discharged in April 1968 from active duty at Fort Meade, Md.
Sgt. Smith was awarded the following decorations: Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Expert Rifle M-14 Badge with O.S Bar, Army Commendation Medal, Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device, Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Service stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation Badge, and Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Citation Badge. Smith stated that as bad as it was in Vietnam, he feels like the WWII soldiers had it much worse. (Spoken like a true patriot).
In 1968, he married Mary Sue Westerfield and they became the parents of Jeffrey Smith and Amy Danielle Smith (Holt), After his service years, he was engaged in farming in the Citrus Industry in Florida as a superintendent, retiring in 2008. He and his family are “snow-birds” sharing their time in Ohio County with Florida. Their grandchildren include Andrew Whittaker, Nathan Smith, Kyle, Kurt, and Kali Holt. Dannie is a member of the Ohio County VFW, LaBelle, Fla VFW and a member of the 28th Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment (Black Lions).
His exhibit will remain during the month and can be visited at the Museum, 415 Mulberry St. Hartford Saturdays from 9 to 3. There are no admission charges, but donations are most welcomed for the upkeep of the museum which is staffed with volunteers from the Ohio County Historical Society.