The Vietnam War came closer to Greenville General Hospital in late October, as 22-year-old Terry Smith, formerly of the Laundry staff, suffered fatal chest wounds in a minefield on his last patrol.
Slight in build, sandy-haired Terry, who made many friends throughout the hospital during his year and a half on the staff, looked younger than his years. He entered basic training at Fort Gordon, Georgia, on July 7, 1965. Four months later, he was en route to California for his assignment to join the First Infantry in Vietnam as a Browning Automatic Rifleman (BAR).
Terry wrote very little about the war in Vietnam, what he was doing, or any thoughts about why he was there, his uncle, Charlie Brown of the Housekeeping Department, reports.
But his time was about up. In his most recent letter to his mother, Mrs. Ellen Brown Smith, in Piedmont, Specialist Four Terry indicated he was scheduled to "go into the field" again. "The Sergeant has promised this will be my last patrol," Terry wrote. "I'll be home in 47 days."
On October 21, Terry was wounded in the Vietnam jungles. From his hospital bed, he dictated his last letter to his mother as a nurse penned his words: "I'll see you in two or three weeks." Terry died seven days later.
The Piedmont Methodist Church, which he attended, was filled to overflowing on Saturday afternoon, November 5, as final tribute and military honors were paid to Terry Smith. Later, a 21-gun salute boomed out over the hillside and the bugle notes of "Taps" were sounded.
Terry Lee Smith had come home.