Smith, William Leo (P2, C4, L14)
Lieutenant Colonel William Leo Smith of Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, died on 27 November 1968 in an aircraft accident when the UH-1 Helicopter he was a passenger on crashed off the coast of Kangnung, Korea in the Sea of Japan while he was on extended active duty. Smith joined the Kentucky Army National Guard's Battery C of the 138th Field Artillery Battalion in Louisville in February 1949. He left the Guard in January 1954 as a Private.
Apparently after a break in service of an undetermined time he returned to the Kentucky Army National Guard and the Field Artillery as an officer and eventually went onto federal active duty. Kentucky Special Orders Number 111 separated him from the Army National Guard effective 27 November 1968, his presumed date of death, from an extra TOE position. Weather was probably a factor in the crash with flying conditions at the time described as marginal with a heavy cloud cover from 700' to 9,000'. An Associated Press story at the time states that the aircraft was returning from a routine "service mission" that afternoon. Dropped off radar at approximately 4 p.m. The aircraft, assigned to the 6th Aviation Platoon, I Corps, U. S. Army, was returning to its base at Kangnung, located approximately 100 miles east of Seoul. Search and rescue operations failed to locate the missing aircraft and were called off on 4 December.
He is listed as having died of non-hostile causes. His death occurred while the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery (Louisville, Bardstown, Elizabethtown, and Carrollton) was serving in Vietnam. It is unknown if his deployment was in any way associated with the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery.