Smith, Walter Bedell (05 October 1895–09 August 1961), military officer, ambassador, and government official, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of William Long Smith and Ida Francis Bedell, who earned a comfortable living as silk buyers. A relative had fought in every American war since the Revolution, and all that Bedell, as he was called from childhood, ever wanted to be was an army officer. An exceptionally bright but indifferent student who trained as a machinist at vocational high school, he lacked the influence to secure an appointment to West Point. The day he turned sixteen, therefore, Smith enlisted in the Indiana National Guard. Within a year he was made company sergeant, and in 1916 he accompanied the expedition to Mexico....
Richard H. Immerman
Walter Bedell Smith Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-93383).