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Donald A. Smith Oral History


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Biographical Information:

Donald A. Smith was born on January 30, 1924, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In August 1943, Smith volunteered to serve in the Army as an engineer. He was sent to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, for basic training and then to Camp Gordon Johnson in Florida. In February 1944, he and his engineer company deployed to Europe and then, after the defeat of Germany in May 1945, to the Pacific theater. He was discharged from service 18 months later. Donald and his wife Florence had four daughters: Sharon, JoAnn, Karen, and Janice . Smith died on March 16, 1995 and buried at Fort Snelling Cemetery in Minneapolis.

Transcript Summary:

Donald A. Smith described his experience as an engineer in the United States Army during World War II. He explained why he volunteered, as well as remembered training at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. He discussed his company’s journey from Camp Gordon Johnson in Florida to England aboard the USS Andromeda in February 1944. Smith detailed his journey across Utah beach after D-Day and moving through active fighting at Sainte-Mere-Eglise in order to reach Granville, France. At Granville, he helped rebuild the port destroyed by the retreating German Army. Smith recounted his interactions with German prisoners and their attitudes toward him and other United States Army soldiers. Smith recounted his experience at the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, including an explosion that caused a truck he was driving to topple over. Smith described being in Kassel, Germany on V.E. Day in May 1945. The interview concluded with his memories of being sent to the Philippines in the Pacific theater after shipping out from Europe.

Interview by David Overy


Image ID: 14291

See additional files below for full transcript.

14291_transcript.pdf (182 kB)
Donald A. Smith oral history interview transcript

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