GM3c Edward Smith

Edward Smith in front of anchor USS Arizona

GM3c Edward A. Smith

Four men from rural Greene County, Illinois 60 miles north of St. Louis died aboard the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, including Edward Smith.

The four lived just eight miles apart and knew one another.

Mr. Smith, born May 26, 1917, was from White Hall and graduated from high school there in 1937. The town had a 1940 population of 3,025.

White Hall was also the home of Joe Otis McGlasson. They were the same age, but Mr. McGlasson left school after the 8th grade to work and help his family.

The other two Greene County men killed aboard the Arizona were Lloyd Glenn Bryant and his best friend from boyhood, Vincent “Tommy” Duron Thomas. They were from Hillview, population 544. But they graduated from high school in nearby White Hall, in 1938, because the school in their town didn’t include the 12th grade.

Mr. Bryant and Mr. Thomas enlisted together on Oct. 4, 1939, and Mr. McGlasson followed five days later. Mr. Smith enlisted on Dec. 5.

news clipping of Edward smith

Memorial stones at the Veterans of Foreign Wars cemetery in White Hall honor Mr. Smith and Mr. McGlasson. The American Legion Hall in Hillview was named in memory of Mr. Thomas and Mr. Bryant. 

Mr. Smith was a gunner’s mate and petty officer third class.

His father, Charles Franklin “Frank” Smith, was a carpenter, and his mother, Vallie Coy Smith, a homemaker. The couple knew great sadness even before Edward was killed. A daughter died as an infant in 1912, a son at about age seven in 1915, and an adult son in 1936. They had three other children, including Hal C. Smith and William Howard Smith, who served in the Army in World War II and Korea.


Sources: Photo provided by relative Rebecca Terpening. Other sources include: Terry Kruckeberg of the Greene County Historical and Genealogical Society; Jacksonville Journal Courier; Navy muster rolls, grave markers; U.S. Census. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

NOTE: If you are a family member related to this crew member of the U.S.S. Arizona, or have additional information, pictures or documents to share about his life or service to our county please contact us through our FAMILY MEMBER SUBMISSION FORM