Smith, Alfred James, CPL

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
11B30-Infantry Squad/Section Leader
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1967-1967, 11B30, 188th Aviation Company
Service Years
1966 - 1967


One Overseas Service Bar

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Dunellen, NJ
Last Address
Dunellen, NJ

Casualty Date
Aug 30, 1967
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Binh Duong (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Resurrection Cemetery - Piscataway, New Jersey
Wall/Plot Coordinates
25E 072

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans MemorialNew Jersey Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family Registry
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2019, New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2019, The National Gold Star Family Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Aviation Badge (Basic)

 Unit Assignments
269th Aviation Battalion1st Aviation Brigade
  1967-1967, 11B30, 188th Aviation Company
  1967-1967, 11B30, 269th Aviation Battalion
  1967-1967, 11B30, 12th Aviation Group
  1967-1967, 11B30, 1st Aviation Brigade
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1967-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)
  1967-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (1967-68)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

He was formerly an employee of Art Color Printing Company.  Smith was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Moore, and his three siblings.

After being activated at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in November 1966, the 188th Aviation Company (Air Mobile Light - AML) trained with elements of the 101st Airborne Division until deployment to the Republic of South Vietnam. Arriving in four separate groups, during the end of April 1967, the unit set up base camp in the Western III Corps Area of Operations. We would be living within the Michelin Rubber Plantation, one of the largest in Vietnam, at a place called Dau Tieng. It was also known as Camp Rainier, home of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.


On May 2, 1967 the 188th was assigned to the 269th Combat Aviation Battalion (Black Barons) headquartered at Chu Chi. Aim High was the battalion motto. The 269th was under the command of the 12th Aviation Group (Black Jack) located in Long Binh.

Excerpts from 

This story is a tribute to Door Gunner Alfred J. Smitty Smith who was killed in action during an emergency re-supply mission in the Horseshoe and my close friend Crew Chief Bill Sondey, who was wounded in action while trying to save the 4/9 Manchus that were critically wounded in the hot LZ. Sondey was the only enlisted man in the 188th Assault Helicopter Company Black Widows to be awarded the SILVER STAR Medal. Bill took his own life in February 1987, leaving a wife and three children.

Whenever the Black Widows and Spiders strapped in for another day on the job they lived with the reality that blind luck dictated who got hit and who didn't who lived or who died. There was an old saying that we always joked about, That any landing you could walk away from was a good landing. 

The following battle took place in the southern reaches of the Iron Triangle; a no mans land and free fire zone, during the 25th Infantry Divisions Operation Barking Sandsa Search and Destroy operation, conducted by the 1st Brigade, in southern Binh Duong Province. Running beneath the Iron Triangle and most of the western III Corps AO (Area of Operation), was a vast underground maze of interconnected tunnel systems, which extended for miles in a generally north-south direction. This particular tunnel complex, later identified as the main infiltration route through the Iron Triangle, took three full days and nights to traverse and wouldnt be discovered by the 25th Infantry Division until Operation Atlanta (November 18-December 23, 1967). These tunnels would be the VCs ace in the hole...

...As Alpha 6 again requested #16222 to pick up three more critically wounded grunts and one E-6 near the northeast corner of the forested area, Sondey was seriously wounded in the buttocks and Smitty critically wounded in the right shoulder. Spearman and Hayes asked Sondey and Smitty if they were OK to pick up the second group of wounded. They replied, Yes sir. As the slick maneuvered out in the open, Smitty was hit a second time. Reaching the designated spot, Sondey, in pain and weakened from loss of blood, left his position behind his M60 and assisted the grunts with loading the three wounded and one non-wounded E-6 on his side of the slick. Several of the wounded Manchus tried desperately to help Smitty, who was bleeding badly and slumped over his M60. Undaunted by the sheer volume of enemy fire, Sondey remained calm and quickly moved back to his position behind the M60. With the wounded finally on board Spearman found it necessary to hover the overloaded slick to the middle of the paddy in order to pull a maximum power, circling take off. The pilots, nine wounded and one very shaken up E-6 miraculously survived and made it out of the Horseshoe.... 


...The grunts watched in horror as enemy fire rocked the aircraft and shattered most of the Plexiglas windshields, side windows and chin bubbles, as the Miracle Chopper lifted off. Thats what the Manchus were calling the crew of #16222. Alpha finally had something positive to cheer about, so they cheered and yelled like hell, knowing that their wounded buddies were safely away. Captain Al Baker, watched with tears in his eyes, as the Miracle Chopperlifted up and out of the Horseshoe. In his three and one half years in country Bravo 6 never witnessed a more heroic act....

...Pushing the envelope at 120 miles per hour and trying to stay ahead of a moving wall of monsoon rain, WO Spearman made a beeline to the 12th Evac, while WO Hayes worked the radios trying desperately to no avail to reach the 12th Evac. Hayes was later informed that the 12th Evac had indeed received all of his calls but that he wasnt receiving them. Enroute Sondey, to the best of his ability, continuously attempted to aid the wounded. Just as the full fury of the storm struck, the shot up slick made a straight in approach and landed....

...Once on the ground, WO Hayes and Spearman waved frantically for the medics standing by to help them unload the nine wounded. WO Spearman shut the slick down and entered the emergency room where the mud-soaked grunts, crew chief and door gunner were being cared for. WO Hayes stayed with the slick in case it needed to be moved. While waiting, Hayes washed the stretched out and blood filled nylon cargo seats and the cargo bay floor with rainwater from the monsoon storm. WO Hayes counted a total of 43 hits, 42 during the ammo/medevac mission and one from WO Restivos first lift.  WO Spearman could hear the cries from Smitty as the doctors and nurses worked feverishly to save his life. After locating Sondey, who was lying face down on his stomach, on top of a gurney and OK, he left the mud-filled 12th Evac. Forty-five minutes later, one of the doctors who had cared for Smitty approached WO Spearman and informed him that Smitty had died from his massive wounds and loss of blood. Not long after that WO Hayes and Spearman mounted up and made what had to be the longest and quietest flight of their Army aviation careers back to Dau Tieng. WO Spearman and Sp/4 Bill Sondey were awarded the Silver Star. WO Hayes was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and PFC Alfred J. Smith was promoted posthumously to corporal and awarded an Air Medal with V device for Valor. In the authors opinion the entire crew deserved a Silver Star for putting themselves in harms way, hovering out in the open for an unforgivable length of time, all the while being hammered by automatic weapons fire from fortified positions, was definitely way above and far beyond the call of duty. They saved the lives of seven Manchus, who may not have made it otherwise, while suffering one wounded in action and one killed in action. Smitty and Mark Hayes deserved more....

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