Dr. Yates Curtis Smith

Lt. Yates C. Smith, June 1945, Tinian Island
Lt. Yates C. Smith, June 1945, Tinian Island
Recent Address: 4115 Nottingham Trail, San Angelo, TX 76901
E-mail Address: yatesc85@gmail.com
Family Info: Parents: Hugh and Mary; Siblings: Robert, Betty
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Date Entered Service: March 1, 1942
Service Number: 14102007
Bomb Group: 468th
Squadron: 794th
Location of Unit: Smokey Hill Air Base, Salina, KS; September 25, 1943
Missions Flown: 30
Hump Missions: 11
Targets: Bangkok, Rangoon, Pangkalanbrandon, Georgetown, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Cam Ran Bay, Nagasaki, Anshan, Omura, Shanghai, Mukden, Hankow, Kobe, Nagoya, Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Chi Chi Jima, Tomioka, Omuta, Toyohari, Kure, Utsumomiya
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Unit Badge with 3 OLC, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars, China Defense Medal, Air Offensive Japan Medal, India-Burma Campaign Medal, Air Combat Palembang Medal, American Theater Medal, WWII Victory Medal
Service Schools: Primary Flight School, Coleman TX June-Aug 1942; Bombardier Training, San Angelo, TX Oct. 1942 - Jan. 1943; Navigation Training, Monroe, LA Feb. 1943 - May 1943
MOS: Aerial Observer (Bombardier), Aerial Observer (Navigator)
Rank Upon Discharge: 1st Lt
Crew Type: Flight crew
Airplane Serial No.& Name: 42-6284 The Challenger, 42-24893 Li'l Organ Annie
Where You a POW?:
POW Location:
Where You a Interned?:
Internment Location:
Date Transferred from the 58th: July 1, 1945
Date Discharged: December 31, 1946
Post WWII Service:
After I returned to the States in August of 1945 I was assigned to Ellington Army Air Field, Houston, Texas to Skeet and Small Arms Range. On February 26, 1946 I was assigned as a Squadron Training Officer in the 3543rd basic training squadron for training recent inductees. I remained on active duty until December 31, 1946 when I was placed on inactive duty.
I remained active in the Army Air Corp Reserve Program. On August 2, 1952 I was on active duty for two weeks at Lowery Air Force Base, Denver, Colorado attending an Aerial Photography course. On July 9, 1953 I was promoted to Capt. In the Air Force Reserves. I was on active duty at Patrick AFB, Florida from October 1, 1962 until October 15, 1962. On December 10, 1960 I was promoted to Major in the Air Force Reserves. On February 1, 1969 I completed my 20 years of service in the Air Force Reserves and was placed on Retired Reserve status.
Post WWII Civilian Occupation(s): In January 1947, I enrolled in the University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri. I graduated in June 1949 with a BS in Agriculture with a double major in Soils and Chemistry. From the Fall of 1949 until December of 1950, I was an Agricultural Instructor with Senath Independent School District at Senath, Missouri. From June 1950 until August 1953 I was in charge of the Soil Conservation office at La Grange, Texas. September 1953 until August 1958 I was a salesman for Mathieson Chemical Co., at Lubbock, Texas. August 1958 until June 1963 I was a graduate student at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. I finished a Master's Degree in June 1961 in Soil-Water-Plant Relationship and a PhD degree in Soil Physics in June 1963. From April 1963 until June 1992 I was employed by the Tennessee Valley Authority. I had the responsibility of development and introduction of new and experimental fertilizers in the States of Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. I also helped to implement a TVA software program to assist the fertilizer industry in these three states, to formulate fertilizer mixtures. I retired in June 1992.
Thoughts About the 58th:
As you can see I have referred to the 58th as the 58th Test Wing. When I attended our reunion at Valley Forge, PA, I was talking to Col. Jim Edmundson. Told him I thought the 58th Bomb Wing was a misnomer, it should have been called the 58th Test Wing. Our entire service in India and China was to test the limits of the B-29 under all types of conditions. Col. Jim agreed with me wholeheartedly. I have also come to the conclusion, I don't think it is a healthy situation to fly an A model of any airplane. The B-29s we took to India were not even designated A models. Most crews had less than 50 hours of flight time in a new airplane, that had not been tested or proven, but somebody had to do it.
I would not take anything for the experience of flying in the B-29, but would not suggest it for long life. I believe data would show we had more losses from mechanical failure, than we did to combat. I believe the results of our testing the plane meant the B-29 crews who followed us to Saipan, Tinian and Guam had greater success with less problems.
Never thought when I joined the B-29 outfit in Salina, Kansas, I was going to have the opportunity of getting to have a round the world trip. Have had the opportunity of flying in a B-29 in the Commemorative Air Force, but have declined it.
The opportunity of seeing so much of the world has given me an entirely different perspective of life in many different countries of the world.
Comments: Dr. Smith passed away on April 1, 2016.
Esther & Yates Smith, May 3, 1997
Esther & Yates Smith, May 3, 1997

58th Bomb Wing Veterans Index
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