Eugene Smith (aviator)
|Lieutenant Eugene Smith|
Franklin, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||November 21, 2012
Cynthiana, Kentucky, U.S.
|Service/branch||United States Army Air Corps|
|Years of service||c. 1940 – c. 1944|
|Unit||332nd Fighter Group|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Eugene Smith (1918 – November 21, 2012) was an American military aviator and attorney. He was a lieutenant with the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, escorting bombers in Europe, and then served as a military flight instructor. Returning to Ohio, he earned a law degree. He practiced law for over 50 years, including argument of a first amendment case before the Supreme Court of the United States and leading the efforts toward racial integration of juries.
Early life and education
Smith was born in 1918 in Franklin, Ohio. He attended Withrow High School in Cincinnati, where he ran track and played baseball, graduating in 1936. He then studied at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree.
After college, Smith enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. Because of his mixed European and Native American ancestry, his birth certificate was marked "C" (for "colored", as was common at the time), and he was assigned to serve with the African-American units known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He flew bomber escort missions during World War II in Europe with the 332nd Fighter Group and later served as a flight instructor.
After returning from military service, Smith attended Franklin College of Law in Columbus, Ohio. He practiced law in Cincinnati for over 50 years, including argument of a first amendment case before the Supreme Court of the United States. While serving as Chief Trial Lawyer in the Hamilton County, Ohio Public Defender’s Office, he led the controversial efforts to integrate juries in the county.
In the early 1990s, Smith retired to a houseboat at the Turtle Creek Marina in Florence, Indiana on the Ohio River (the border with Kentucky). He died at the Harrison County Hospital in Cynthiana, Kentucky on November 21, 2012. He is survived by three children and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
- "Eugene Smith, county resident and Tuskegee Airman, passes away". Vevay Reveille Enterprise. November 29, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-08.
- "Church Taking Tuskegee Airman To 'Red Tails'". Wagon Wheel Broadcasting dba Eagle Country. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
- "Local Member Of Tuskegee Airmen Dies At 94". Wagon Wheel Broadcasting dba Eagle Country. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2012-11-27.