Robert Lee Smith was born on 8 June 1921 at Mohawk, Greene County, Tennessee, the son of Joseph “Joe” Maynard Smith and Bessie Lee Kesterton Smith. He had 6 sisters and 4 brothers.
Robert Smith enlisted at Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia on 14 October 1942. He served with the 83rd Infantry Division, 323rd Field Artillery Battalion and was reported wounded in action on 15 July 1944 for which he was awarded the Purple Heart a first time. He was killed in action on 16 April 1945 in Germany. T/5 Smith was buried at the American War Cemetery Margraten at Block 11, Row 8, Grave 192 and later re-buried at Block K, Row 7, Grave 8. His service number was 34377157. His brother Carl Everett Smith served in the Pacific and was discharged from the Navy Reserve on 21 November 1945.

The 323rd Field Artillery Battalion was equipped with 105mm Howitzers.  The 83rd “Thunderbolt” Infantry Division was ordered to active military service on 15 August 1942 at Camp Atterbury, IN.  They deployed to England arriving on 16 April 1944 and were stationed at Keele Hall in Staffordshire, England.   After training in Wales, the Division participated in the invasion of Normandy landing at Omaha Beach on 18 June 1944.  They participated in the recapture of St.Lo, France.  The Division continued fighting across France during the remainder of 1944.  The Division entered the Battle of the Bulge on 27 December 1944, striking at Rochefort and reducing the German salient in a bitter struggle.  In late January 1945, the Division moved back to Belgium and the Netherlands for rehabilitation and training.  On 1 March 1945, the 83rdInfantry Division advanced toward the Rhine River in Operation Grenade.  In March 1945, the Division established defensive positions on the west bank of the Rhine River.  On 29 March 1945, the Division crossed the Rhine River south of Wesel, Germany. The Division continued its march and crossed the Leine River on 8 April 1945, eventually taking Barby in the Harz Mountain region on 13 Apr 1945.  On 11 April 1945, The 83rd Infantry Division encountered a sub camp of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

  • Rank: Technician Fifth Class
  • Date of birth:
  • 8 June 1921
  • Date of death: 16 April 1945
  • County: Greene
  • Hometown: Mohawk
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Division/Assignment: 323rd Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division
  • Theater: Europe
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar I, Panel
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