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Glenn H. Smith ( Winthrop 1940 )

posted: Jan 14, 2010

Glenn, 73, died of natural causes in Tucson, Arizona, March 28, 1988. He was born June 1914 in Paden City, West Virginia, and moved to California during the 1920s. Glenn graduated from Garden High School in 1934. During high school he suffered an eye injury in a basketball accident and lost the sight in his left eye.
In 1934 he made his first exhibition parachute jump at Gardena Valley Airport in South Los Angeles with Frank Derry as spotter. He joined Frank's group and became a barnstorming parachutist. Glen worked in the local oil fields and also in the Derry Parachute Service Shop. Glenn and Frank jumped airshows from Mexicali to Arizona.
When the contract was awarded for the experimental parachute program in 1939 Glenn went north with Frank. Although he was hired primarily as a parachute rigger for the project, he was injured on his 2nd jump preventing him from further jumping in the project.
In 1940 Glenn was hired by the Chelan NF as a "Smoke Jumper-Rigger."
The forest also hired the Derry brothers, George Honey, Francis Lufkin and Dick Tuttle. After training at Winthrop Glenn and the Derry brothers went to Seeley Lake to train the Region 1 jumpers. Glenn and Virgil returned to Region 6 after the training. On August 10, 1940, Glenn and Francis Lufkin made the first fire jump in Region 6.
1941 found him being hired by Region 1. There was a large amount of paperwork and administrative problems dealing with hiring a smokejumper with one eye—but he was hired. From 1942—44 he was a civilian employee of the Army Air Force in AZ and CA. He returned to smokejumping in May 1944.
1946—51 found Glenn working as a Foreman, parachute technician in Region 1. In November 1951 he resigned from the FS and transferred to the CIA as a GS-11, Administrative Assistant. He worked in Japan from 1952—55, and Okinawa 1958—61. Glenn moved to Marana, AZ in 1963 where he was loft foreman for Intermountain Aviation until about 1967.
Glenn made his last parachute jump in 1964 on his 50th birthday at the Marana Air Park. His two sons Ben (MSO-64) and Mike (MSO-69) were also smokejumpers.