Take a look at the photo you see here. It says everything about honor, duty, and service to one’s country. That includes not only 21 years in the Marine Corps but also devotion to Marines, Sailors, and their families with three extremely generous and special gifts for the Society.
The year is 1960. The man standing in the center in his dress white uniform is Colonel Sherman Smith. To his left is his wife, Lady. The occasion? Colonel Smith is being promoted to Colonel by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General David M. Shoup.
“That was quite a day,” Colonel Smith says with a chuckle in his modest, unassuming way. Quite a day, to say the least. It was one of many high points in Sherm’s extraordinary military career. Receiving his commission in 1941, Sherm went to the Pacific theater in World War II as a combat pilot assigned to dive bombers for the Northern Solomon and Philippine campaigns. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, and the Air Medal.
At the end of the war, he served in China during the occupation. After that, it was back to the States at Stations in North Carolina, California, and Hawaii. During those years, Lady also served at the medical facilities on base caring for injured service personnel.
In the Korean Conflict, Sherm served in Washington, D.C. as Administrative Assistant and Aide to the Chief of Naval Operations, while Lady served as Vice President of the Junior Army Navy Guild Organization. Sherm was then assigned to the American Embassy in Rome as the Marine Assistant Naval Attaché. Sherm flew Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce on some of her official visits, and Lady served as Embassy Liaison. Next, Sherm attended the Armed Forces Staff College, trained as a jet pilot, and assumed the command of a jet squadron in Japan. There is much, much more to his incredible career. “But that’s not important,” Sherm says, directing attention away from himself. “The important thing is what the Society is doing for Marines and Sailors.” Sherm knows about that, too. He’s seen the Society at work.
He was serving overseas at the time. “The Master Sergeant came to the Executive Officer and myself,” Sherm says, “telling us about a corporal whose wife was in North Carolina. She was living alone and had a medical condition.” Naturally, the corporal was very concerned about his wife back home.
“I had my Executive Officer look into it,” Sherm says, “and he got in touch with the Society. The Society provided a nurse that called on his wife on a regular basis. That relieved the young man in my command of a lot of worry, and it proved to me that the Society is a fine organization.”
Over the course of his career, Sherm referred many service men and women to the Society for help, and Sherm’s wife, Lady, has done a lot of volunteer work for the Society as well. They’re both devoted to the military and to helping Sea Service members and their families.
This is why Sherm and Lady Smith have given three special gifts that will support the Society’s work for years to come. The type of gifts they’ve given are called charitable gift annuities. It provides funding for the Society while also paying an income for Sherm and Lady in their retirement.
“This type of gift is a very attractive one,” Sherm says, “not only for the extra income it provides for me and my wife, but more importantly for what it does for Sailors, Marines, and their families.” With their generosity, Sherm and Lady have made a lasting impact, funding the Society’s work today and for future generations of Sea Service members.
“We know that the Society is a wonderful organization,” Sherm says. “No one does more for young Marines, Sailors, and their families when they’re facing difficulties. We trust the Society completely. We know that the funds will be distributed carefully and with great love for the men and women serving this country. That’s why we’re happy to give.”
By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso