C Company, 4th/47th Battalion, 2nd Brigade
Robert Smith “Smitty” July 5, 1922 – March 14, 2008 Robert Smith passed away on Friday, March 14, 2008 in the presence of his family. He fought as long as he could. He was born July 5, 1922 in Castle Hayne, North Carolina to Lizzie and Arthur Smith, the third of ten children. A career soldier for almost 30 years, he proudly served the U.S. Army in World War II, and the Korean and Viet Nam wars. Assignments, both wartime and peacetime, sent him to many locations in our country and around the world. But it was Washington which proved to be, as he often said, his favorite place. While in the military, he picked up a love for poker and pursued it with a passion after his retirement. Many laughs and tears were shared over the years with fellow players. He is survived by his loving wife Masako, their children Gregory (Marnie), Marion, Romina (Sean), Yasmin; grandchildren Nami Robin (Salvador), Tiffany, Aaron, and Daniel; Alexandria and Jorden, great granddaughters. He is also survived by relatives across the country including brothers Deames and Charles, and sister Fanny of North Carolina. He was predeceased by his parents and Bessie, Mary, William Arthur, Sarah Virginia and Council, siblings. The family extends their sincere appreciation to the staffs of HCR Manor Care of Tacoma, Lakewood Healthcare Center, and St. Joseph’s Medical Center. Services will be held at Mountain View Funeral Home Friday, March 21, 2008, 1:00 pm in the Garden Chapel. Viewing will be 2-9 pm, Thursday, March 20, 2008. His devotion to his family was well known. We will miss him terribly.
Just noticed in the Tacoma, Washington newspaper that Smitty, our cook, passed away. He was 85 years old. I remember sending Money Orders home for him from his poker winnings. His obituary said that he had a lot of family here but didn’t give an address or phone number. Anyway, I thought that somebody would be interested to know about this. This seems to be a big topic now that we are all pushing into our sixties. Talk to you later.
Joel Onstad – March 20, 2008
If you can get Sgt. Smith’s address I would like to send a sympathy card to his family.
Also, I have some good memories of Sgt. Smith. In the barracks I would sit in on some of the Sgt’s poker games as a runner. Sgt. Smith would run low on ice and he would give me the keys to the mess hall and I would go down and fill one of those big metal pitchers with ice for his “Old Grandad Bottle of Whiskey.” He would give me a couple of bucks and someone else would ask me to get them a certain brand of cigarettes and I would run out to the bay area and buy that particular brand of cigarettes for $.50 cents and again I would be paid a couple bucks as a tip by one of the Sgts. By the end of the night I would have twenty or thirty bucks and I would get in the game and promptly lose the money to Sgt. Smith. I watched Sgt. Smith play poker and he was the best. I learned from him and when I got out of the Army and went back home to Chicago I played poker with the guys I grew up with and I won thousands of dollars over the years because of Sgt. Smith.
When we would get back from patrols at Dong Tam, Sgt. Smith would ask me and a lot of others to get $100.00 money orders made out to his wife so he could send his poker winnings home without getting the Army thinking he was involved in black marketing. He also cleaned out the Navy guys on the ships when we were out on patrol.
My best memory of Sgt. Smith was in the mess hall on the ship. We would come back from patrol, take off our dirty clothes and clean our weapons, clips and ammunition, then we would get a hot shower and go to the mess hall to eat a hot meal. I remember Sgt. Smith seeing us come into the mess hall and he would tell everyone that was already in line (no matter if they were officers, navy personnel or what ever) to get out of line he would tell them “MY BOYS ARE BACK AND THEY EAT FIRST.” He even had a big spoon about 18″ to 24″ long and if they didn’t move fast enough out of the line he would start swinging at them and hit them on the top of their heads.
Jace Johnston – March 21, 2008