Veteran memorial: Lionel F. Smith

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Lionel F. Smith (from honorstates.org)

Lionel F. Smith was born June 18, 1910 in Limestone County. By 1940, he and his wife Lois Rhea Smith would live on 5th Street East in Cullman. He was an engineer with the Civilian Conservations Corp.  

Smith would enlist in the United States Army where he served in World War II as a Lieutenant Colonel attached with the 37th Engineer Combat Battalion, 29th Infantry Division. He would become the Commanding Officer of the 37th engineer combat battalion and on June 6, 1944, D-Day, as he reached Omaha Beach, a single mortar would kill him and two of his staff members.  

LTC Lionel F. Smith would receive the Purple Heart posthumously. He was also awarded the Bronze Star. He is buried at Park Cemetery, Carthage, Missouri- the birthplace of his wife.  

A monument is now on Omaha Beach commemorating the 5th Engineer Special Brigade for their actions on Omaha Beach during Operation Overlord. According to uswarmemorials.org, they “succeeded in removing the obstacles and building of roads to move supplies and troops to the beach.” LTC Lionel F. Smith’s name is inscribed on the monument.  

Monument on Omaha Beach dedicated to the 5th Engineer Special Brigade  (uswarmemorials.org)   

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com