• Abous us
  • Search database
  • Resources
  • Donate
  • Faq

Hamilton Edward Smith

Edward Smith Hamilton
Lieutenant Colonel
Serial Number:
90th Infantry Division
Date of Death:
US Military Academy at West Point, New York
Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, 3 Purple Hearts, Leg

Edward Hamilton was born on 20 March 1917 in Dallas, Oregon. He graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1939 and entered the US Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. Hamilton went ashore at Utah Beach on 8 June 1944, two days after D-Day. His unit of the 90th Infantry Division saw considerable action throughout the summer on its march through France. On 23 June 1944, he took command of the 1st Battalion of the 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division. His unit of approximately 800 men took part in the capture of Denneville, Saint-Lo d’Ourville during June 1944 and then of Saint-Jores on 4 July 1944. Also, in the difficult and fierce battle for Le Plessis-Lastelle (Beaucondray) from 5-12 July 1944. On 14 July 1944 his unit participated in the liberation of Gonfreville, where he strategically supported the terrible battle of Seves Island. On 27 July 1944, the 357th Infantry Regiment conducted reinforcement operations in support of the 83rd Infantry Division and liberated the villages of Raids, Saint-Sebastien de Raids, and Saint-Martin d’Aubigny. For his coordination of the defense of a key bridge in France on 5 August 1944, Hamilton was awarded the Silver Star. In early September 1944, Hamilton and his men were in Meurthe-et-Moselle, where they liberated the town of Briey on 7 September 1944. On 8 September 1944, Hamilton led a surprise raid on German positions at Avril, France, that disabled four tanks and led to the capture of 17 enemy soldiers. For his daring assault and his heroism under fire during the battle, Hamilton received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's second-highest commendation for valor. It was two days later, on 10 September 1944, that the tragedy that ended Hamilton's military career occurred. While the 27-year-old lieutenant colonel climbed to the attack of the coast of the vineyards that dominates Hayange, a burst of shells shattered his skull. A splinter entered at the right front of his forehead, causing him to lose his left eye. He was immediately evacuated to Neuchef, where he established his headquarters at the Renaissance Café. He received first aid at the café before being transported to the hospital. His terrible wound forced an end to his brilliant military career. In recognition of his heroism, the people of Hayange christened Hamilton, "The Liberator of Hayange." After recuperating from his wounds, Hamilton returned to his hometown of Dallas, Oregon in 1946 to open an insurance agency. In 1950, as the Korean War was heating up, he was lured back into action as a CIA officer in Taiwan, working with the Chinese nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek. Nicknamed the "One-Eyed Dragon," Hamilton led combined American and Chinese guerrilla units in clandestine attacks against communist forces on the Chinese mainland. His role in the covert actions conducted along the southeastern coastline of China is detailed in the book "Raiders of the China Coast," by Frank Holober. Hamilton was in Taiwan from 1950 to 1954 before he was transferred to Washington, DC. In 1956, he was sent to Germany as an undercover officer working in counterintelligence in East Germany and Turkey. He left the CIA in 1959 and took a position as operations officer with the old Civil Defense Administration. He retired in 1973. In January 2005 the French government awarded Hamilton the Legion of Honor. Colonel Hamilton returned many times to Periers, Hayange, as well as his other battlefields, before his death on 30 June 2006 in Annandale, Virginia. Colonel Hamilton’s remains are buried in the cemetery at the United States Military Academy at West Point. According to his will, a bundle of his ashes was put to rest in his beloved Periers and Hayange.