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Archive Record

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Collection Albert Franklin Smith
WVM ID Number WVM Mss 678
Object Name Archive
Title Papers, 1939-1946.
Year Range from 1939
Year Range to 1946
Event World War II
Description Papers of Albert Franklin Smith, a fighter pilot who served with the 71st Fighter Squadron in Europe during World War II. Smith, who signed letters with his middle name, flew a P-38 Lightning in support of bombing runs. The collection contains a large number of letters that he wrote home to his sister, Marian Smith, during his service. The letters, which reveal an intelligent and thoughtful young man, describe his flight training and his service in Europe. The last letter is dated June 8, 1944 just three days before he went missing during a mission. After being listed as missing in action for one year, he was declared dead by the Army. Two letters from Marian to Smith are also found in the collection. A good summary of Smith's service is found in his military papers that include orders, training materials, flight logs, and medical records. Letters and forms sent to his parents provide an overview of the process by which the government informed family of MIA status, how they dealt with the personal effects of MIAs, and how they finally declared persistent MIAs to be dead.
Extent and Medium of Description 0.4 linear ft. (1 archives box)
Subjects Soldiers -- Wisconsin -- Wittenberg -- Correspondence.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Missing in action -- United States.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Casualties.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American.
Lightning (Fighter plane)
Flight training -- United States.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations, American.
Soldiers -- Family relationships.
United States. Army Air Forces. Fighter Squadron, 71st.