On the 8th of May, 2019, the Navy Honor Guard conducted a memorial for retired SCPO Robert Winfield Smith and his wife Lois Inez Smith. The service was held at the R.L. Scott family cemetery in Kenly, NC.
SCPO Smith was born the 1st of October, 1920, in Bowmanstown, PA. He graduated from Palmerton High School and enlisted into the US Navy in 1938. After training at both Ft. Meade, Maryland and Ft. Hoyle, Maryland he was sent to the Naval Training Station in Rhode Island in January of 1940. From July 1940 to May 1943 he served aboard the U.S.S. Denebola, a Denebola-class stores ship, which served in the Pacific Theater of WWII. From May 1943 to April 1945 he joined LTA (Lighter Than Air) Lakehurst, NJ where he totaled 1600 hours of flight time and qualified as Gunnery and having the “most dangerous assignment”: torpedo recovery. He then attended USN Preflight School in Ottumwa, Iowa before separating from active duty, June 1946.
May of 1947 Robert reentered active duty in Allentown, Pa and spent three months attending Fire Control School in San Diego, CA prior to being assigned to the U.S.S. Norris. At one point witnessing the “Spruce Goose” while pulling into port.
October of 1949 Robert was assigned to the US Naval Operating Base, Subic Bay, Philippines and serving aboard the U.S.S. Collette, Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer which saw action during the Korean War, to include the Battle of Inchon and Wolmi Do Island. November 1950 saw the U.S.S. Collette return to San Diego for repairs and the following March Robert reenlisted while aboard. He was then transferred to the U.S.S. Dixie, a destroyer tender. (Specific date is unclear).
From February to December of 1952 Robert served with FT “B” School as a Fire Control Technician. August to October of 1954 he was then assigned to the FT “C” School for Fire Control Technician’s Electronics.
February of 1956, Robert reenlisted while at the Naval Receiving Station in Washington, DC. It was around this time where he met his wife, Lois, on a blind date.
Robert was discharged then reenlisted February of 1957 and once again was assigned to the Fire Control Technician’s Electronics School, October 1959 to April 1960.
Upon retirement from active duty, the 6th of February, 1963 Robert entered civilian service as an Engineering Technician. (GS-11)
Robert then retired from civil service (GS-12) with 20 commendations for performance, the 1st of April, 1975.
Robert was also was a member of the Joined Fleet Reserve Association with over 60 years of continuous membership.
Robert was 98 years old when he passed away in January of this year while residing in Florida. His wife passed at the age of 85 in November of 2011. They were the parents of four, grandparents of 11 and great-grandparents of 14.
There were three active duty Navy personnel on hand to perform the folding of the flag ceremony which was handed to Robert and Lois’ daughter, Wanda Smith Perez. The Cpl. Suzi Sannes Detachment #1262 of the Marine Corps League was asked to perform the ceremony of firing the Three Volley salute. Marines on the firing line were David Sannes, William Blackmon, Pat Milligan and Rick Thomason of 1262 out of Rocky Mount, NC, Marines Keith Shearin and Taine Pyle of the Gold Leaf Detachment #1267 out of Wilson, NC and Marines William Dunn and Robert Long of the Carry-On Detachment #1236 out of Johnston County, NC.