Monday, July 18, 2011

A Hero's Cry Is Heard


Uncle Howard

Private Howard Leroy Smith was born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts on April 1, 1925 to Malcolm Leroy and Mary Ann Smith.  He enlisted at Fort Devens in Massachusetts on March 29, 1943, two days before his 18th birthday, and entered into active service on April 21, 1943.  He joined Company L 134th Infantry APO #35, as a Rifleman 746, an M-1 Rifle Marksman.  He is described as 5'6", blue eyes, blonde hair weight 135 lbs. 

He was engaged in the battle of Normady, France where on July 30, 1944 he was shot in the leg with an MG-42 German machine gun, the most powerful and fastest gun in existence, its' nickname was zipper.  Howard lay there in pain, his leg shattered, with dead soldiers all around him as bullets threatened to strike him again.  He cried out, Ma, for he thought he was about to die.

His mother, Mary Ann, was in Florida visiting her other son Robert who was in the navy and stationed in Cocoa Beach, Florida. She went there to visit him and his wife Elsie, who was expecting their first child in September. Mary Ann felt she was going crazy for she could hear her son Howard calling out to her. She was compelled to go for a walk by herself, haunted by his call. She later learned that her son had been seriously injured and she really was hearing his voice crying out to her.

Howard was rescued that night after dark.  He was transported to Staten Island, New York and admitted to the Halloran General Hospital. The surgeon recommended amputation, but Howard and his mother both said no.  Here he stayed until his discharge twenty-six months later on November 8, 1946 along with a certificate of disability that discharged him from the military. He returned to Massachusetts and entered the Veterans Hospital in Framingham.  Here is where he met his future wife, Pasqualina Virginia Fazzari, known as Pat.  Howard was hospitalized for a period of three years and underwent a total of twenty surgeries. He wore a metal brace for the rest of his life. He died of cancer on Jan 2 1961, at the age of 36 leaving a wife and five small children.  The cancer began in this injured leg. 

Howard was awarded the Purple Heart, WWII Victory Ribbon, American Theatre Campaign Ribbon, and the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon with 1 Battle star. 


1 comment:

  1. Very nice but also very sad story with Howard ultimately passing on at 36 yrs old with so much more to live for.

    ReplyDelete

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