Campus Life

61st World War I Gold Star Aggie Recognized

November 9, 2017

1912-1913 Bugle Corps
Joseph Louis Smith ’15 was recently identified as an Aggie who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War I. He was a member of the 1912-1913 Bugle Corps at Texas A&M University.
By Greg Bailey, Texas A&M University Libraries

An additional former Aggie student, Joseph Louis Smith ’15, was identified by the Brazos County World War I Centennial Committee as making the ultimate sacrifice during World War I, bringing the total number of known Aggie casualties to 61.

Smith was born in McKinney, Texas, on Jan. 8, 1894. He attended Texas A&M from 1912 to 1913 as part of the two-year agricultural program, during which time he was a member of Company K and the Bugle Corps. After leaving college, he purchased 510 acres of government land in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, where he raised cattle, mules and hogs. Smith was inducted at Camp Bowie, near Fort Worth, on May 29, 1918, and he was assigned to Company L, 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th U.S. Division. Following his training, Smith departed for France on July 18, 1918, aboard the Dante Alighieri. He fought at St. Mihiel and St. Etienne before succumbing to pneumonia. He died on Oct. 31, 1918. Initially buried in France, Smith was reinterred at Pecan Grove Cemetery in McKinney in 1921.

Flag Honoring Aggies Who Served In WWI Returns To Texas A&M Following Ceremony In Austin

Smith was identified by Bill Page ’76, Texas A&M library associate, and confirmed by Tara Jirinec, information services manager for The Association of Former Students, while they were working on a project to identify all Texas Aggie casualties in U.S. conflicts.

On Memorial Day earlier this year, the committee honored and announced the discovery of five students who died during the First World War, but whose names also were never included on any memorial. They include John W. Butts ‘10, Herbert R. Florence ‘11, Joseph Z. Sawyer ‘16, Ira W. South ‘17 and George W. Splawn ’17.


Media contact: Greg Bailey, Texas A&M library archivist and curator, at 979-845-1951 or; or Elena Watts, marketing and communications specialist, at 979-458-8412 or

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