U.S. ARMY CHEMICAL CORPS
Hall of Fame
Captain Frederick P. Smith
Captain Frederick P. Smith was the Assistant Division Chemical Officer assigned to Headquarter Company, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), United States Army, Pacific – Republic of Vietnam.
On 13 February 1971, Captain Smith was on a sniffer mission over Binh Thuy Providence using the E158 aerial CS clusters to disrupt enemy operations. Due to an unknown malfunction, the arming wires became loose and the E158s began detonating inside the Huey helicopter. He was badly burned by the black powder bursting charges, but was able to push all of the clusters out of the helicopter. In the confusion and blinded by the CS (commonly referred to as “tear gas”), he went out with the cluster munitions and fell 1,500 feet to his death.
Captain Smith’s quick actions saved the remaining seven crew members and the helicopter. For his selfless actions, he would receive the Silver Star posthumously.
Captain Smith’s courage, dedication and professionalism are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army Chemical Corps.