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Captain Luther H. Smith, U.S. Army Air Forces Post Office

Rep. William Lacy Clay

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Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 4547) to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 119 Station Road in Cheyney, Pennsylvania, as the ``Captain Luther H. Smith, U.S. Army Air Forces Post Office''.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

(a) Designation.--The facility of the United States Postal Service located at 119 Station Road in Cheyney, Pennsylvania, shall be known and designated as the ``Captain Luther H. Smith, U.S. Army Air Forces Post Office''. (b) References.--Any reference in a law, map, regulation, document, paper, or other record of the United States to the facility referred to in subsection (a) shall be deemed to be a reference to the ``Captain Luther H. Smith, U.S. Army Air Forces Post Office''.

Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Clay) and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Garrett) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Missouri.

Rep. William Lacy Clay

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Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks.

Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Missouri?

There was no objection.

Rep. William Lacy Clay

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I now yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 4547. This legislation will designate the facility of the U.S. Postal Service located at 119 Station Road in Cheyney, Pennsylvania, as the Captain Luther H. Smith, U.S. Army Air Forces Post Office.

Luther Smith was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, a highly decorated World War II prisoner of war, and a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal. One of the first African Americans to become a licensed pilot, Captain Smith began his military career in 1943. He flew 133 combat missions with the 332nd Fighter Group as a combat fighter pilot over Europe. He was severely wounded on his last mission in October 1944 and spent the next 7 months in enemy hospitals and prison camps before being liberated in May of 1945 by the Allied forces.

During his distinguished military career, Captain Smith destroyed two German aircraft in aerial conflicts and 10 aircraft in ground strafing attacks. Captain Smith was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with six oakleaf clusters, the Purple Heart, the Prisoner of War Medal, and eight European Theater Campaign Ribbons.

After retiring from the U.S. Army Air Forces, Captain Smith earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering at the University of Iowa. He was hired by General Electric, where he was involved in projects for the Air Force, the Navy Submarine Command, and NASA. His work included missile and jet engine design, and he published numerous papers and was awarded two patents.

Following his retirement from GE in 1988, Captain Smith was active in support of local civic causes, serving as the vice chairman of the Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, school board, and the board of the Delaware County Community College in Pennsylvania.

He also was instrumental in preserving the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. He and two other Tuskegee Airmen were featured in the 2006 documentary, ``On Freedom's Wings: Bound for Glory--The Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.'' He also designed the plaque, dedicated in memory of the Tuskegee Airmen, in Arlington National Cemetery.

In May of 1995, he was selected by President Bill Clinton to represent the U.S. Air Force for the 50th anniversary celebration of VE Day, and he accompanied President Clinton and Vice President Gore to Europe.

Captain Smith was a pioneer in American military and aviation history and left a lasting legacy for future pilots and engineers.

Mr. Speaker, H.R. 4547 was introduced by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Representative Joe Sestak, on January 27, 2010, and was reported out of the Committee on Oversight by unanimous consent on March 4, 2010. This legislation enjoys the support of the entire Pennsylvania delegation.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 4547.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Scott Garrett

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I do rise today in support of H.R. 4547, designating the facility of the U.S. Post Office, located at 119 Station Road in Cheyney, Pennsylvania, as the Captain Luther H. Smith U.S. Army Air Forces Post Office.

Luther H. Smith was an original of the now legendary Tuskegee Airmen. His accomplishments, as already set forth, during World War II truly speak for themselves but deserve to be mentioned here on the floor.

Mr. Smith was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with six oakleaf clusters, the Prisoner of War Medal, and eight European and Mediterranean Theaters Campaign Ribbons.

It was on October 13, 1944, while he was flying a mission over Hungary, that Mr. Smith's P-51 Mustang fighter plane was hit, caught fire, and he was forced to bail out. Saved then only by a parachute, Mr. Smith lost consciousness as he drifted towards Earth, snapping his hip in two places when he crashed into a tree. Later, there were some German soldiers who found him, and he was placed in a German hospital and then, after that, a prison camp for 7 months until the war ended. Wounded and starving, the exuberant and now talkative man, affectionately nicknamed Quibbles by his Airmen friends, withered to a mere 70 pounds during his internment.

After returning home from the war, Mr. Smith received an engineering degree from the University of Iowa. He went on to spend the next 37 years as an aerospace engineer for General Electric, leveraging his experience to hold two U.S. patents; a testament, I think, to his creativity and his innovation.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Smith's life is an inspiration, and his tremendous sacrifices and a clear willingness to place himself in harm's way for this Nation are worthy of commendation. I ask our colleagues to support this resolution so that his life story will continue to inspire generations of Americans to serve their country.

Having no further requests for time, I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. William Lacy Clay

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Mr. Speaker, again, I encourage my friends from both sides of the aisle to join me in supporting H.R. 4547. Mr. Smith certainly led an exemplary life which we can all be proud of.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Clay) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 4547.

The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the bill was passed.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.