Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News
  
 Search
  9911 Seminole Blvd. Seminole, FL 33772       Ph. 727-397-5563   View TBN's FREE e-Edition today!  
Click here to learn more
Beach Beacon Facebook Twitter
WWII vet marks 99th birthday at VFW Post 4256
Article published on
  Print E-Mail
 
[Image]
Mel Smith is flanked by his daughter, Barbara Wright, left, and great-granddaughter, right, as friends and fellow veterans celebrate his 99th birthday at the Madeira Beach VFW.
MADEIRA BEACH – Mel Smith, a U.S. Navy World War II veteran, celebrated his 99th birthday May 23 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4256.

Smith joined the Navy in 1944 and served on an LST (a large combat landing craft) throughout the Pacific, including Okinawa, New Guinea and the Philippines. On Jan. 9, 1945, Smith’s LST was among a group of three such landing craft from which Gen. Douglas MacArthur waded on to a beach in triumphant return to the Philippines.

Prior to joining the Navy, Smith was a civilian welding contractor at Pearl Harbor. On Dec. 7, 1941, he found himself in the midst of the Japanese attack and vividly recalled seeing the attacking planes up close.

“They were coming right at us and we all hit the ground,” he said in a press release from the VFW post. “They were so low that I could see some of the pilots in the cockpits.”

Smith continued, “Though they looked like they were coming right at us, their targets were our ships in the harbor about a mile away.”

Smith left the Navy in 1946, and, using his service experience with diesel engines, worked for a truck leasing company for 23 years. In 1964, he bought 40 acres of land in Wisconsin. “There, I chopped down oak trees and, with that wood, built a house,” he said.

Smith, a widower, has three children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Currently, Smith volunteers at the Bay Pines VA Hospital, staffing the information desk at the facility’s outpatient entrance. Since 2001, he has logged more than 7,400 volunteer hours.

Asked what his secret to life is, Smith said, “Believe in yourself.”
Article published on
Copyright © Tampa Bay Newspapers: All rights reserved.
Printable Version E-mail article
Featured Print Advertisers
Florida Center for Back & Neck Pain
Dr. Greg Hollstrom
11444 Seminole Blvd.
Largo
(727) 393-6100

Web site        View Ad
:)
Tarpon Springs Recreation Division
2017 Sunset Beach Concert Series
Web site        View Ad
:)
Custom Couture of Tarpon Springs
208 East Tarpon Ave.
Tarpon Springs
(727) 238-7194

Web site        View Ad
:)
Oakhurst & East Bay Medical
13020 Park Blvd., Seminole
(727) 393-3404
3800 East Bay Dr., Largo
(727) 539-0505

Web site        View Ad
:)
Flooring America
9012 Seminole Blvd., Seminole
(727) 397-5509
100 Patricia Ave., Dunedin
(727) 733-1356

Web site        View Ad
:)
Abbey Carpet & Floor of Largo
13120 66th St. N.
Largo
(727) 524-1445

Web site        View Ad
:)
Tampa Bay Newspapers
Online Advertising
For information, e-mail
webmaster@tbnweekly.com
:)
Advertisement
Online Services Directory
MEDICAL DIRECTORY   ONLINE DINING GUIDE
MEDICAL DIRECTORY ONLINE DINING GUIDE
AUTOMOTIVE GUIDE REAL ESTATE GUIDE
AUTOMOTIVE GUIDE REAL ESTATE GUIDE
Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News