Virginia Heroes

Charles Norman Smith

Chief Machinist's Mate, Navy

Hometown: Newport News
Entered: January 9, 1939
Served In: World War II
Casualty Date: October 25, 1944
Died In: off Samar Island, Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands
Awards: Purple Heart

Chief Machinist’s Mate Smith served aboard the USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413).

The USS Roberts was part of a Task Unit protecting and patrolling the coast of Samar in support of the U. S. Army’s landings on Leyte.  In the early morning of October 25, 1944, Japanese warships appeared on the horizon and opened fire on the U. S. ships.  Under the cover of smoke from gunfire, the USS Roberts got within 2 1/2 of the enemy fleet and fired most of its rounds.  The ship was hit by enemy fire and had to be abandoned. It sank, losing 90 of it’s sailors.  120 survivors clung to three life rafts for 50 hours before being rescued.

His name is etched on the Walls of the Missing in the Manila American Cemetery, Philippines.

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