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Smither, James (Interviewer)

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Smits, Wendall L.

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Wendall Smits was born in South Holland, Illinois in 1936. After graduating high school, a friend convinced him to join the Coast Guard Reserve at the age of 17. He completed two weeks of boot camp in 1955 at Cape May, New Jersey and became an engineman for the Coast Guard aboard various ships. He then became a chief engineman and, later, a lieutenant with a unit in Chicago before transferring to a Coast Guard unit in Gary, Indiana. After moving to Cleveland, Ohio, he was promoted to the position of warrant officer, and then to a Lieutenant Junior Grade. Smits primarily worked for port security at the various bases bases he was stationed at and also trained recruits for his Coast Guard units as a training officer. He was later awarded the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for his work rewriting engineering programs and engineering training manuals for the entire 9th district in Gary, Indiana.

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Veterans History Project collection, RHC-27

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