Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


Lou Smith | 9th Regiment, 3rd Division - Marines

4:09   |   Lou Smith was evacuated from Iwo Jima to Saipan, then to a hospital in Hawaii. That was tough duty, recuperating with the swimming and the girls. One thing haunts his sleep, though, until this day. He had been throwing enemy grenades back the way they came when he was wounded, and this is key to his nightmares.

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Keywords   :     Lou Smith    Iwo Jima    Saipan    hospital    Quonset hut    Red Cross    Salvation Army    Aiea Heights Hospital    Hawaii    The Royal Hawaiian    black sand    USS Maryland    Newport KY    grenade    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)    dream

Videos ( 6 )
  • Lou Smith  |  WWII  |  F Company, 2nd Battalion, 21st Regiment, 3rd Division  |  4:48

    He had to play a little game with the paperwork, but Lou Smith got his mother to sign so he could join the Marines at 17. He was disappointed to be assigned to guard duty in Norfolk after training, but he still did the best he could. He wanted to get in on the action in the Pacific.

  • Lou Smith  |  WWII  |  F Company, 2nd Battalion, 21st Regiment, 3rd Division  |  5:31

    On Guam, Lou Smith was made a scout because he was from Kentucky. He wasn't too sure about that but he learned the job and set about mopping up the enemy on the island. He is still shaken to this day by what happened when a Japanese soldier blundered into the almost deserted camp and everyone went for their rifles.

  • Lou Smith  |  WWII  |  9th Regiment, 3rd Division  |  3:12

    They were training for the next operation after securing Guam without knowing what it would be. Marine Lou Smith was a scout but he wanted something else. After a last skirmish line across the island to flush out the final holdouts, he got his wish.

  • Lou Smith  |  WWII  |  9th Regiment, 3rd Division  |  3:16

    One morning the Marines got breakfast made to order, so they knew they would have to saddle up very soon. B-29 pilots had been telling them that where they were going, they could walk right in after the pounding they had delivered. Lou Smith and the rest of those men had a ring side seat, waiting just off shore at Iwo Jima and watching as that prediction was proven very wrong. On the fourth day, they joined the battle.

  • Lou Smith  |  WWII  |  9th Regiment, 3rd Division  |  4:56

    Heading inland on Iwo Jima, Marine Lou Smith dug in and waited for morning. Advancing across the air field, he got his first taste of machine gun fire and then an artillery barrage for good measure. The next day, as he crouched behind a knoll, a grenade trailing smoke landed right there. Part 1 of 2.

  • Lou Smith  |  WWII  |  9th Regiment, 3rd Division  |  4:59

    It took a while to find the aid station on Iwo Jima after a long night in a foxhole. Lou Smith's left side and hand were peppered with shrapnel and he set off on what turned out to be an epic search for the aid station. Comfortable at last on a hospital ship, he witnessed an emotional and stirring burial at sea. Part 2 of 2.

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