World War II Military Experience
Easley S. Smith, 1st Lt., B-24, "Liberator Pilot"
723rd Bomb Squadron, 450th Bomb Group (H), "The Cottontails", 15th Air Force
December, 1942 while a student at Virginia Tech, I enlisted in the Army Air Corps for Aviation Cadet Training.
February 19, 1943 I was called to active duty and sent to Miami Beach, Florida for Basic Training and from there to a College Training Detachment at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio.
June, 1943 I was sent to a Classification Center at Nashville, Tennessee, where I was fortunate enough to be classified for Aviation Cadet Pilot Training.
July, 1943 I was sent to Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama for Pilot Preflight Training.
September, 1943 I was sent to Lodwick School of Aeronautics, Lakeland, Florida for Primary Flight Training in PT -17's, Stearman open cockpit bi-planes where I made my first solo flight.
December, 1943 I was sent to Courtland Army Air Field, Courtland, Alabama for Basic Flight Training in BT -13's, closed cockpit, single-engine airplanes equipped with radios and instruments for night flying.
February, 1944 I was sent to Freeman Field. Seymour, Indiana for Advance Flight Training in twin engine AT -1 O's. The AT -10 was a Beechcraft airplane constructed of plywood.
April 15, 1944 I graduated from Aviation Cadets, receiving silver pilots wings and a 2nd Lt. commission in the Army Air Corps. My first assignment after graduation was Transition Pilot Training in B-24's at Smyrna, Tennessee, then on July 27, 1944 I was sent to Westover Field, Massachusetts for crew assignments.
August 11, 1944 our crew began training together at Charleston Army Air Base, Charleston, S.C. in preparation for combat assignments. Total training flight time at Charleston Army Air Base was 134 hours and 15 minutes. My total flying time in all aircraft at this time was 475 hours and 20 minutes.
October 29, 1944 our crew was transferred to Mitchell Field, Long Island, New York for combat orders, then on November 3, 1944 to Camp Patrick Henry, Newport News, Virginia for departure to overseas assignment.
November 13, 1944 we departed tram Newport News in a ship convey enroute to Naples, Italy, arriving there on November 26, 1944. We then were transferred to an old-British Liner that took us to
Taranto, Italy, arriving there on November 27th and then by truck to a reassignment depot at Gioia, Italy.
December 2, 1944 we were assigned to the 723rd Bomb Squadron, 450th Bomb Group (H) at Manduria, Italy. From this location, near the center of the heel of Italy, I flew 25 missions (39 sorties) with the 723rd Bomb Squadron, bombing the following strategic targets:
December 19, 1944 - Railroad marshalling yard at Rosenheim, Germany.
December 20 - Railroad marshalling yard at Salzburg, Austia.
December 26 - Railroad bridge, Ora, Italy, in the Alps.
December 27 - Railroad loop in the Brenner Pass, Italy.
January 8, 1945 - Marshalling yard at Linz, Austria.
January 19 - Marshalling yard at Brod, Yugoslavia.
February 1 - Moosbieroaum Oil Refinery, Vienna, Austria.
February 7 - Moosbieroaum Oil Refinery, Vienna, Austria.
February 13 - Goods depot at Vienna, Austria.
February 15 - MatzleinsdorfMarshalIing Yard, Vienna, Austria.
February 20 - Shipyards at Fiume, Italy.
February 23 - Locomotive depot at Verona, Italy.
February 27 - Marshalling yard at Sa1zburg, Austria.
March 1 - Moosbierbaum Oil Refinery, Vienna, Austria.
March 4 - Marshalling yard at Zagreb, Yugoslavia
March 9 - Locomotive depot and wagon repair shop at Maribor, Hungary.
March 13 - Marshalling yard at Regensburg, Germany.
March 15 - Moosbierbaum Oil Refinery, Vienna, Austria.
March 19 - Marshalling yard at Landshut, Germany.
March 20 - Marshalling yard at Amstetten, Austria.
March 23 - Marshalling yard at St. Polten, Austria.
March 25 -Airdrone at Cheb/Oberchon, Czechoslovakia.
April 6 - Porto Nuovo Marshalling Yard, Verona, Italy.
April 8 - Railroad Bridge at Vipiteno, Italy.
April 10 - Gun emplacements along Santerno River (Baker Area) near Lugo, Italy.
March 20, 1945 I was promoted from Second Lieutenant to First Lieutenant.
April II, 1945 I was sent to Santa Cesarea Rest Camp on the Mediterranean Coast at the bottom of the heel of Italy for five days.
May 6, 1945 I departed Naples, Italy on a troop ship and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts on May 15, 1945 (the day before my 21st birthday). I returned to the United States under orders, as a Flight Leader still assigned to the 723rd Bomb Squadron, 450th Bomb Group (H) for a 30 day leave and then to retrain in B-29's.
The war in Europe was over with the surrender on May 8th, two days after we left Naples. When we arrived in Boston we received word our orders had been changed and instead of training in B-29's, part of our ten-man crew was discharged. On arrival in the States I was sent to Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts then on May 17th was transferred to Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.
On May 19th I received a 30-day leave with orders to report back to Fort Meade, Maryland on June 20th.
June 21, 1945 I receive orders to report to Sioux FaIls Army Air Base, Sioux FaIls, South Dakota which was a redistribution depot for combat air crews returning from the European Theatre of Operations.
August, 1945, after the Japanese surrender, I was assigned to Walker Field, Victoria, Kansas as an aircraft maintenance officer.
September 29, 1945 I was separated from service at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.
October 15, 1945 my terminal leave from active duty ended.
January, 1946 I returned to Virginia Tech to continue in my sophomore studies.
I was awarded the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters for meritorious achievement in aerial flight and the European Theatre of Operation Ribbon with 5 Bronze Battle Stars for participation in Central Germany, Rome-Amo, Apennines, Po VaIley and Aerial Warfare over the Balkans.
My total flight time as pilot while on active duty was 750 hours and 50 minutes.