Eugene Smith, famed member of the Tuskegee Airmen who fought for his proper recognition and honor, passed away on Wednesday, November 21st, at the Harrison County Hospital in Cynthiana, Kentucky.
Eugene Smith had lived in Switzerland County for nearly 20 years, retiring to a houseboat moored at Turtle Creek Marina in Florence. He was very active in the community while residing here, including membership at Patriot Baptist Church and was a regular attendee at the Senior Mealsite in Vevay.
Born in Ohio in 1918, he was a 1939 graduate of Withrow High School in Cincinnati; and then earned his bachelor’s degree from Kentucky State University.
When World War II began, Eugene Smith volunteered to serve his country, enlisting in the Army Air Corps to become a pilot.
That’s where his unusual story of heroism begins.
Because his parents were of mixed origin with Native American ancestry, the doctor who delivered Eugene Smith listed on his birth certificate that he was “colored”, even though he was fair skinned. When he was accepted into the Air Corps and was about to begin his flight training, the Army found that his birth certificate listed his race in that way, so the Army declined to send him to flight school with “white” soldiers.
Read more at the Vevay Reveille Enterprise