Smith, Wint (635th)

Wint Smith 1Wint Smith

The following information was gathered from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress and Kansas National Guard Museum websites with additional research by our staff.

Biography: Wint Smith was born on October 7, 1892, in Mankato, Kansas. He was the son of William H. Smith and Ella M. Chilcott and attended public school, graduating from Mankato High school.

On December 28, 1912, he married the former Blanche Glennis Kingsley who had been born in Grenola, KS, and was the daughter of George Washington Kingsley and Ida May Chase.

Wint joined the Kansas National Guard and saw action in the Mexican Boarder Campaign. On May 11, 1917, he entered WWI would ultimately become a combat infantry officer. He left active service on September 4, 1919.

After the war, he continued his education by attending the University of Kansas in 1920, and then Yale Law School in 1922. He passed his bar exam and began to practice law in Kansas City, Kansas. By 1934, he was allowed to practice in all federal courts. he served as assistant attorney general from 1931 to 1940. He also served as the attorney for the Kansas Highway Commission from 1932 to 1940.

Wint served as director of the motor vehicle inspectors until the formation of the Kansas Highway Patrol in 1937, as well as being chief of the legal department of the Highway Commission,

During the WWII, Wint commanded the 635th Tank Destroyer Battalion, which had been established December 15, 1941, at Camp Robertson, Arkansas. They were converted from the 35th Infantry Division Antitank Battalion (Provisional) and trained within the U.S., at a number of military facilities. They shipped out from the New York port Arrived Liverpool, England, on February 9, 1944, and arrived on the 19th.

Wint Smith 2

The unit trained for an additional four months in the U.K. and then boarded transports, landing at Omaha Beach on June 8th. They advanced through northern France and Belgium and operated in Roetgen-Aachen sector and Hürtgen Forest during autumn. The 635th transferred to Belgium on December 22nd, during Battle of the Bulge and then returned to the Aachen area in January, supporting the drive toward the Rhine River near Cologne. They transferred to the Seventh Army and almost immediately to Third Army on April 1, 1945. Crossing the Rhine at Mannheim, they advanced through central Germany to Austria.

The 635th received credit for five campaigns, including Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. Wint had spent twenty-two months overseas and then continued his military service in the Kansas National Guard. He retired in 1953, at the rank of brigadier general.

Wint resumed the practice of law and then went into politics. He was elected as a Republican to the 80th United States Congress and to six succeeding Congresses from January 3, 1947 to January 3, 1961. After leaving office, he returned to his home in Mankato and to his other interests of farming and ranching.

Wint passed away on April 27, 1976, and he was buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Mankato, KS. Thank you to Richard Soash for the use of the grave marker photo.

Wint Smith 3