ROBERT H. SMITH, CAPT, USN
Robert Smith '20
Date of birth: August 8, 1898
Date of death: January 21, 1943
From the 1920 Lucky Bag:
Career & Loss
Robert Holmes Smith, born at Harrellsville, North Carolina on 8 August 1898, was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy on 6 June 1919. After duty in various surface ships, he served with the Submarine Service for 17 years.
He commanded Bonita (SS 165), was an instructor at the New London submarine school, a member of the Naval Academy staff, Submarine Gunnery Officer with the Bureau of Navigation, Navigation Officer in Pennsylvania (BB 38), and Chief of Staff for Submarine Division, Atlantic Patrol Force.
Following promotion to captain, he commanded Sperry (AS 12) in the Pacific from May 1942 to January 1943, and was Commander of Squadron 2, Pacific Submarine Fleet, when he died in an airplane crash in California on 21 January 1943.
Robert is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Legion of Merit
From Hall of Valor:
(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Captain Robert Holmes Smith, United States Navy, was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States.
USS Robert H. Smith (DM 23) was named for Robert; she was the lead ship of her class of destroyer minelayers.
Robert English '11, Donald Godwin '11, John Crane '26, Francis Black '26, William Myers '26, John Coll '27, and George Stone '31 were also lost in the crash of Pan Am Flight 1104. Eight of the ten passengers were Naval Academy graduates.