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William E. Smith (1917-1987) rose in rank from private to sergeant while serving 22 months in the European Theater during World War II. He oversaw the tactical employment and coordination of a team in charge of a 155mm gun (howitzer) in the “C” Battery, 174th Field Artillery Battalion of the United States Army. During the war the battalion, along with Smith, saw action in Normandy, the Rhineland, Northern France, Central Germany, and the Ardennes. His battalion was connected to General Patton’s 3rd Army that liberated Luxembourg and fought at the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Silver Service Star for participation in the Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe, Normandy, Northern France and Rhineland Campaigns.
The collection contains both archival material and artifacts relating to the European Theater during World War II. Some of the artifacts were taken from Nazi occupied positions and brought back to the States for remembrance purposes. Material in the collection represents the areas William E. Smith traveled through while part of the 174th Field Artillery Battalion that landed at Normandy and cut through France on its way to Germany.