FIRPO'S WALL OF FAME
GERALD DAVID "FIRPO" SMITH
With his mother's written consent at the earliest opportunity when he turned 17, Firpo enlisted in the Navy February 1944. By May, Firpo was serving in the Western Pacific on LST-268 (Landing Ship Tank), which over the next year would be responsible for carrying first-wave assault troops into Saipan, Tinian, Peleliu Island, Luzon, and Okinawa. LST-268 was considered a "large slow target" and after Luzon, it had a close call when its convoy was attacked by a formation of Japanese Kamikaze fighters; one Kamikaze plane was shot and exploded seconds before it would've crashed into LST-268. Firpo was struck by part of the plane's propeller, though he was not seriously injured. After Okinawa, LST-268 returned to San Francisco to be overhauled before the invasion of the Japanese homeland and it had returned back to Okinawa before the Japanese surrendered. Firpo achieved the rank of Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class and was honorably discharged December 12, 1947. Firpo was one of 20 crewmembers to attend the first LST-268 reunion in Port Huron, Michigan in 1980 and he later attended two more reunions. Firpo's service to the United States during World War II was his single proudest individual endeavor.
WALL OF FAME INDEX
Firpo served in the U.S. Navy
Feb 29, 1944 - Dec 12, 1947.
Firpo's WWII Service Medal ("Freedom from Fear and Want / Freedom of Speech and Religion").
Firpo served on LST-268 and was one of the youngest guys
on the ship and he still had not turned 21 when discharged.
"Love to mom from Gerald"
Thought to be 1947-1948 in Fort Scott.