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Schmitt fought in World War II

MADISON – Warren S. Schmitt Sr. was inducted into the U.S. Army Air Corps in November 1943.

The next month, he reported for duty and served until January 1946. Schmitt reached the rank of Staff Sergeant.

He reported to Miramar Beach, Fla. for basic training. His training continued for Aerial Gunnery at AAFGS in Harlingen, Texas and B-24 Heavy Bomber Transitional Flight at Tonopah, Nev.

Schmitt saw combat in Cerignola, Italy with 456 Bomb Group, 15th Air Force. He served in the North Appenninea campaign in Po Valley, Rhineland.

“As a nose gunner on a B-24 bomber, I completed 13 bombing missions from December 1944 until May, 1945 when Germany surrendered. Targets included bridges, railroad yards, factories and refineries located in Po Valley, Italy, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia Hungary, Austria and Germany,” Schmitt said.

For his bravery in Germany, Schmitt received the Purple Heart. He was flying in his bomber over Germany when his plane received anti-aircraft fire. Some of the flak (or shrapnel) penetrated the cockpit and nose turret where he was manning the guns. Schmitt and the co-pilot were injured.

His other honors include American Theater Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Ribbon (three bronze stars), Good Conduct, Air Medal, Victory Medal, Aerial Gunnery Wings, and Marksmanship Medal.

Born in New Orleans in 1925, Schmitt lived across the eastern United States. In 1956, he moved from Birmingham to Huntsville for job opportunities in the Space Program.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Alabama and worked as a technical writer/editor for Hayes Aircraft in Birmingham and Teledyne Brown Engineering in Huntsville. His wife, the late Edith Wiggins Schmitt, worked as an executive secretary for Huntsville City Schools.

Their sons are retired optometrist Dr. Warren S. Schmitt Jr of Orlando, Fla. and David P. Schmitt, a sales manager in electronics, of Huntsville.

Warren Schmitt Sr. participates with Huntsville Community Chorus; Forever Young Senior Veterans; volunteering at Huntsville Hospital; and Madison American Legion, Post 229. He sings in choirs at First Baptist Church, Huntsville.

Schmitt’s interests include computer work, reading, singing in choirs, veteran activities and stained glass projects. 

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