Guys war


This website is dedicated to my Grandfather, Guy D. Smith, who not only has made a great contribution to the study of soil science in his life, but also documented/filmed much of the construction of the Ledo Road in WWII.


Dr. Smith was the recipient of many honors and awards, Some of the more notable ones are the Department of Agriculture's Distinguished Service Award in 1962, and the Soil Research Award from the American Society of Agronomy in 1964. He was president and an honorary member of the Soil Science Society of America and a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy. He was awarded the degree Doctor of Science by the University of Ghent (Belgium) in 1968.

Dr. Smith held the Francqui Chair at the University of Ghent, Belgium in 1964 65 for collaboration with European soil scientists in the development of Soil Taxonomy. After retirement, be consulted widely on the application of the system, including service as Correlator in Trinidad for the Organization of American States (1973 74~, Carrelator for the Centro Nacionat de Investigaciones Agropecuarias in Venezuela (1975 76), and as Soil Scientist for the Soil Bureau of New Zealand (1976 77).




My Grandfather, Dr. Guy D. Smith, was former director of the Soil Survey Investigations Division of the Soil Conservation Service (1973), and a distinguished international soil scientist. He was a native of Iowa and a graduate of the University of Illinois. After receiving his Master's degree in 1934 from the University of Missouri, he worked in Illinois for 2 years for the Resettlement Administration. From 1935 until 1942, he was a professor of agricultural science at the University of Illinois. In 1940, he received his Ph.D. Degree from the University of Illinois.

My Grandfather served with the Army Air Forces in the China Burma India (CBI) theater during World WarII. He then joined the Soil Conservation Service in 1946 and worked in Iowa as a soil correlator. In 1950 he moved to Washington, D.C., and became the Director of Soil Survey Investigations in 1952.
He is the author of numerous publications on soil science. Four of his many publications are noted as outstanding contributions that characterize the development of his career. His study of claypans and the translocation of clay in soils, published as Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station Research Bulletin 210 in 1934, brought him recognition as a pedologist. His stature as a soil scientist was firmly established by his landmark study of pedologic interpretations of the properties and distribution of Illinois loess, published as Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 490 in 1942. This became a model for studies of soil genesis in the Midwest. His role as soil correlator for the Soil Survey is characterized by the article "Prairie Soils of the Upper Mississippi Valley" in Advances In Agronomy, 1950, of which he was senior author. Finally, Soil Taxonomy published in 1975 as Agriculture Handbook 436 was the culmination of 23 years of his leadership of a project to develop a new comprehensive system of taxonomic soil classification. That work brought him international recognition, perhaps more wide spread than that of any pedologist to this time.

In addition to his outstanding contributions to soil science and the Soil Survey, he was a well liked and respected individual by all of those who knew him. It has been said that at times he stood alone in receiving harsh and undeserved criticism regarding the development of Soil Taxonomy. From the beginning, he realized that the task was too large for one person to handle and that he needed the cooperation of soil scientists throughout the United States and the world. His quiet, patient fostering of scientific attitudes and cooperation gave him the strength to complete such a monumental task.

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About Guy Smith

authorGuy D. Smith, was born in 1907, in Atlantic City Iowa, where his father was the local city engineer.

Guy graduated from college in about 1929, just as the depression hit, and worked his way through graduate school. He received his PhD in the study of soil science in the late 1930’s.

By the time Pearl Harbor was bombed he had three children and a wife (he was 34 years of age). He enlisted the next month into the Army Air Corps (January 1942). The Air Force was not yet a separate branch of the service.

His first posting was to an air base in San Antonio, Texas and he was shipped overseas in 1944. He traveled from Florida across Africa and then the Middle East, at last arriving in India. He then traveled from Calcutta to Ledo, where he was based.

Guy retired from the US Department of Agriculture in 1972 as the director of the US Soils Conservation Service. He traveled extensively throughout the world documenting soil samples for the US government throughout much of his career. On August 22, 1981 he passed away in Ghent, Belgium, where he held a professorship at the University of Ghent.