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Every Veteran has a Story - Marcus Smith


Staff Sergeant, United States Army, World War II
90th Infantry Division “Tough ‘Ombres”
Silver Star Recipient
The Silver Star is the third highest military decoration for valor that can be awarded to any person serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States. Only the Distinguished Service Cross (Army), Navy Cross (Navy/Marines) or the Air Force Cross and the Medal of Honor rank higher.
Staff Sergeant Marcus Morman Smith of Timpson, Texas was awarded the Silver Star for heroism while serving with the 90th Infantry Division in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. 1Headquarters, 90th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 2107 (1945).
Marcus was born into a large family of four brothers and four sisters along with six half siblings on February 17th, 1917. 2His father Thomas Adkins Smith, Jr. (1859-1919) was first married to Dora Mae Walker who passed in 1899 and he then married Marcus’ mother, Elizabeth (Lizzy) Gertrude Bussey (1878-1970) on Christmas Day, 1900.
He was a member of Company D, 144th Infantry Regiment when it was mobilized on November 25th, 1940. 3On January 3rd, 1941 fifteen army trucks picked up the Timpson, Texas soldiers and equipment and transported them to Camp Bowie, Fort Worth, Texas for training. 4The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 8, 1941, the regiment moved to Fort Lewis Washington to guard the West Coast against possible Japanese attack. 5Company “D” was assigned to Petaluma, California and he along with two other Shelby County boys, Corporal Dalton Clark and Sergeant Henry Porterfield came home on a 15-day furlough in November, 1942.
At some time after his furlough Sergeant Smith was transferred to the 90th Infantry Division, nicknamed “Tough ‘Ombres” by General George Patton. 4The 90th landed in England on April 5th, 1944 and trained until June 4th. First elements of the division saw action on D-Day, 6 June, on Utah Beach, Normandy with the remainder entering combat June 10th, cutting across the Merderet River to take Pont l'Abbe in heavy fighting. After defensive action along the river Douve, the division attacked to clear the Foret de Mont-Castre (Hill 122), clearing it by 11 July, in spite of fierce resistance. In this action the Division suffered 5000 killed, wounded, or captured, one of the highest casualty rates suffered in WW II. His unit also fought in the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 and liberated the 1500 prisoners left behind by the SS at Flossenburg Concentration Camp.
6On April 21st, 1945, Mrs. Lizzy Smith received word that her son, Marcus had been wounded in action on the 8th. She also received the Silver Star Medal that he had been awarded. The General Order read “Under the provisions of Army Regulation 600-45, the Silver Star is awarded for Gallantry in Action to: “Marcus M. Smith, 20810966, Staff Sergeant, United States Army. The gallant courage and aggressive devotion to duty displayed by this soldier in combat reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States”. By Command of the Commanding General.
At wars end Marcus received his honorable discharge from the United States Army and returned home. 7On April 16th, 1946, just one year removed from the chaos of war he and Miss Sarah Mills were united in marriage at the Baptist Church with the Rev. W. A. Dollahite officiating. Sarah, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Mills was a 1942 graduate of Timpson High School.
After returning to civilian life I am not sure what his vocation was but I believe his wife Sarah and son Kenny were in the insurance industry. I do know that in 1953 he was a member of the Timpson American Legion and Assistant Boy Scout Master of Troupe 113. In 1963 he was a member of Cecil’s Hotrods Bowling Team. Marcus passed on April 3, 1984 at the age of 67 and is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Timpson, Texas.
All soldiers of the 90th Division were given a certificate of tribute from General George S. Patton dated July 13th, 1945. It read “Sometimes I think you don’t know how… … good you are. You are the best soldiers in the world. It was a great honor to command you.” It is also my honor to reveal Sergeant Marcus Smith’s story and heroism to his fellow Americans.
As always if you can add to the story please contact me at 936-598-2976 or email:
Sources: 1Military Times Hall of Valor, 1/2017; 2Family, 1/2017; 3Timpson & Tenaha News, 5/6/2004 David Pike;, 1/2017; 5Timpson Weekly Times, 11/13/1942; 6Timpson Weekly News, 1/30/1945; 7Timpson Weekly News, 5/3/1946; Photo courtesy of Boyd Smith, 1/2017.

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