Charles Clarence Smith, Jr

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
31 August 1949 - 18 April 1969
Saugus, CA
Panel 26W Line 004



Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Charles Clarence Smith, Jr

11 May 2001


The night you died the world lost a wonderful person and a hero. Another California Boy with California Dreams of making it back to the world and making something good happen in your life.

But that was not to be ... you died a hero, by doing more than what was required of you. But then the requirements of battle and survival can't be defined exactly, can they?

I'm going to attach a newspaper clipping my mom cut out of the local paper that explains everything. Your memory will live on, and stand as a example that war is terrible and should never happen again.

Please know that you are missed. And you are loved.

See you around some day!


The following newspaper article published by "The News" newspaper in June, 1969 addresses the heroism of Charlie Smith.

Buddy Tells About Young Soldier's Death as Hero

Army Specialist Four Charles C. Smith of Saugus, California, died a hero during an enemy attack near the Demilitarized Zone in the Vietnam War, a comrade-in-arms wrote in a letter to The News.

Specialist Four David H. Harris of Gardenia who was serving in the same unit with Smith at the time of the attack related the details of Smith's heroics.

Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Clarence Smith of 27536 N. Camp Plenty Road, was killed while trying to repair a .50 caliber machine gun on an armored carrier. He had been in Vietnam for 47 days. He was 19.

Harris said in his letter that Smith has been recommended for the Bronze Star with "V" device.

The News reported Smith's death on April 25, giving the best details at the time.

Here is the letter from Specialist Harris:

Please, please reread your article published on the front page of Friday, April 25, 1969, concerning Specialist Four Charles C. Smith.

Specialist Four Smith was killed on the night of April 18, 1969, approximately two miles south of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), and was a well liked member of Charlie Troop, Third Squadron, Fifth Armored Cavalry in the Ninth Infantry Division.

On the night of April 18th, Charlie Troop had set up a night-time defensive position on order of the company commander. At approximately 8:30 p.m., the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) attacked the perimeter in a mass attack.

Specialist Four Smith along with the rest of the mortar section provided illumination for the perimeter of Charlie Troop. After all mortar rounds were expended, Specialist Four Smith left the mortar track and crossed to the other side of Charlie Troop's perimeter to help.

Three tracks were on fire. The armored personnel carrier 31 was burning and thought destroyed. Tracks 32 and 66 - Charlie's command track were in about the same condition. Many casualties were being taken, and Specialist Four Smith, under enemy fire, mounted armored personnel carrier 35.

Specialist Four Smith then upon finding the crew disabled and killed by an enemy grenade proceeded to try and repair the track's mounted .50 caliber machinegun. Specialist Four Smith was killed in that attempt.

All of us in Charlie troop are proud to have known Smitty and we will remember him. Specialist Four Smith has been put in for a Bronze Star with a "V" device for valor.

We the mortar section would especially appreciate your paper, The News, to republish your article about our fellow crew member and devoted friend Specialist Four Charles Smith. Thank you so much.

Specialist Four
David H. Harris


The 3rd/5th Cavalry was dismounted in February, 1943, and re-organized under Infantry Tables of Organization and Equipment. It was re-organized wholly as Infantry in July, 1945, but retained its Cavalry designation. After Korea, the 3rd/5th Cavalry was de-activated in 1958. In 1966, it was activated for duty with the 9th Infantry Division "Old Reliables". Upon arrival, the Black Knights joined in the Division's first major contact of the war -- Operation Colby in 1967.

After the grim Tet attacks (1968), General Westmoreland reassigned Troops A, B and C, 3rd/5th Armored Cavalry to the DMZ to bolster armored firepower there.

The 9th Division unit was sent to Wunder Beach, 15 miles south of the DMZ, making it the northern-most 9th Division unit. For tactical purposes, the Cavalry units were under the operational control of I Corps. Unique is the fact that the bulk of the 9th Division remained in the Mekong Delta south of Saigon.

While the men wore the 9th Division patch, they fought with many other divisional elements in the northern provinces, including the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions, the 5th Infantry Division, the 101st Airborne, and the 1st Air Cavalry.

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index S
CA State Index . Panel 26W

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009