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2012 Edition: Lt. Steven C. Smarsh, 95th Bomb Grp, 412th Bomb Sqd


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To all,

The following pictures are of the latest addition to my very small U.S. collection. The research is still a work in progress but this is what I have so far.

Birth: Jul. 22, 1921


Franklin County

Illinois, USA Death: Jan. 15, 2009


Cook County

Illinois, USA

Stephen Smarsh was born in a small coal mining town named Buckner in Southern Illinois. His father was a coal miner, and was working to make enough money so he could take the family back to Europe. One day while Steve's father was away at work and his mother was outside doing laundry, Steve and his brother, Frank, started playing with fire. They lit small pieces of paper on fire then ran around the house with them. The fire had caught the house and the house started to burn. Steve's mother looked up and saw the smoke coming from the windows, she ran inside and grabbed the children. She ran into the street yelling "There's a fire!" She ran to the church across the street to ask the priest for help in getting some belongings from the house, for all their money was in a trunk in the house. The priest smashed a window in a just pulled the trunk out of the house. But it was the wrong trunk, instead it was full of linens; and the house burned down to the ground. The family rebuilt and stayed in America.

His father was a coal miner and butcher in Buckner. Stephen had 8 siblings; Ignaty, Anna, Daniel, Rose, Eli, Barbara, Adam, and Frank. During the Great Depression, Stephen left Buckner and moved to Chicago and worked in the CCC's. He had just finished his work for the CCC's when WWII started. Stephen knew that he was of drafting age and might be drafted soon. So he went out and did some research and found out that it would take him 2 years to train in the Air Force. After training for a long time, he was sent to a B-17 base in Florida. In Florida Stephen was made head pilot of his bomber and crew.

Stephen's co-pilot was Ed Travers, his navigator was George Beckberger, his bombardier was Don Lett, and his engineer was James C. Smith. They all trained together in Florida and then were sent to England several months later. When they arrived in England, they were given their first mission... to Berlin. Steve said "Of all the places! All three hundred guns shooting at you from Berlin."

They made it out okay and made it safely back to England. After that mission they got better and better at what they did. But one time while on a mission over Germany they lost two engines after they were shot out, one on each side. After that happened Stephen gave out the command to dump everything over the side. When they got back to England, they got back forty minutes late. Everyone on their plane had promises that if something were to happen to Steve that in his footlocker he had his family's address and everything that belonged to him. He told me that he always told everyone that God was his co-pilot along with his other, Ed Travers. When Uncle Steve finished thirty-two missions he got back to the states.

After his service, Stephen came back to the U.S. and worked on various bases as a flight instructor.

Stephen married his beloved, Lillian Hrycyna, and had three children, grandfather of four.




Photo of Smarsh







One of his B-17's


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Here are some more scans of the medals close up.








Flight School



Additionally I am in the progress of getting his records from St. Louis to see what else can be determined. Always open to suggestions as well.


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