Lt. Leonard D. Smutz, USAAF, Comanche County, Kansas Hosted by RootsWeb, the oldest & largest FREE genealogical site. Click here to visit RootsWeb.
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Lt. Leonard Donald Smutz, USAAF

A P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft of the type flown by Lt. Leonard Donald 'Don' Smutz, USAAF, World War II.

"No man was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- Calvin Coolidge

The Western Star, September 29, 1944.


Leonard Donald Smutz.  Scan of photo from Comanche County History book courtesy of Bobbi Huck. Mrs. Myrtle Smutz of Protection received a few days visit recently from her son, Lieut. Leonard D. Smutz, who had been sent to the Army hospital in Topeka following an airplane crash in the European theater of war.

Donald, as young Smutz is known at home, has been the pilot of a P-51 Mustang fighter plane protecting U. S. Flying Fortresses and Liberators in their missions over Germany and France. He was a member of the U. S. Ninth Air Force.

Lieut. Smutz was wounded last April while on a mission but managed to bring his plane back to the home landing field before it crashed into a grove of trees. The crippled plane was split in two by the impact, throwing the pilot out onto a pile of wood. The plane was so badly damaged that the A. A. F. inspectors could not determine what had happened to him or his plane on the mission.

Donald suffered a severe brain concussion and a fractured shoulder blade and collar bone, besides receiving several cuts on his face and being shaken up in general. He was in various hospitals in England for four months before being able to be brought back to the States.

He landed at Charleston, South Carolina August 13, coming over on a hospital ship and a week later entered Winters hospital at Topeka. He later received a 15 day sick leave and spent three and a half days in Protection with his mother before going to Wichita to look after some of his business there.

Donald reported back to the hospital in Topeka August 22 and after remaining there two weeks was scheduled to his reassignment there. He has asked to be sent back into combat. He is wearing several Oak Leaf Clusters and is to receive the Purple Heart Award.

Mrs. Smutz has another son in the service. He is Dale LeRoy Smutz, Ships Cook Third Class. He enlisted in the Navy in May, 1943 and took his boot training at Farragut, Idaho. After a 15 day leave home he was assigned to a mine sweeper and has been on one ever since.

In one of his letters he said that he had not been in a U. S. port since he left a year ago in July. He hopes to get another promotion before long. He received his present rating last March, less than a year after his enlistment.

He was in the Pacific for five months and is now clearing the way for Allied ships in the eastern and northern Atlantic.

Lt. Smutz's Crash in a P-51 Mustang Aircraft, 28 April 1944.

"440428 SMUTZ, LEONARD D. P-51 43-6822 AAF STA 413 363"

The Protection Post, September 26, 1952.

Don Smutz Killed In Jet Explosion

Lieutenant Don Smutz was killed last Friday when the jet plane he was flying in Japan exploded in mid-air. Word was received by relatives here Saturday.

Don had been recalled to active service with the outbreak of the Korean War and had been seen front line duty in Korea, besides test piloting in Japan. He was due to return home within a few weeks.

No particulars regarding the tragic accident have been received here. His death came as a surprise to this community since he had previously been "grounded' and was expected home soon.

Relatives have stated his body will be brought back to Protection for burial.

Don's loss is the first Korean was casualty from Protection. His wife, three small sons, mother, brothers, and relatives have the sincere sympathy of the community.

Lt. Smutz Died in An Aircraft Accident, 20 Sept 1952

F-84 Thunderjet.
F-84 Thunderjet

SMUTZ, Leonard D., 1st Lt., USAF, Remains recovered (474th Maintenance Squadron). Date of Loss: 520920 (Sept. 20, 1952). Tail Number: 50-1207. Aircraft Type: F-84E. Wing or Group: 49th Fighter-Bomber Group. Squadron: 8th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. Circumstances of Loss: Engine exploded, aircraft dove out of control and crashed. Source: KORWALD Loss Incident Summary

Leonard Donald Smutz is buried in Protection Cemetery

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news articles to this web site!

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