STORIES: Smith, Dean C.
Mail Service Began:
||May 21, 1920
Mail Service Ended:
||August 28, 1927
||College Park, Maryland
||June 10, 1920 – Bellefonte,
||July 22, 1920 – Cleveland,
||October 16, 1920 –
||January 1, 1924 –
Hazelhurst, New York
||June 10, 1924 – Maywood,
||December 1, 1924 –
Iowa City, Iowa
||January 1, 1925 –
Hadley Field, New Jersey
Airmail pilot Dean Smith is best known for a
telegram he forwarded to Air Mail Service officials after
a forced landing on May 15, 1923. "Dead sticked. Flying
low. Only place to land on cow. Killed cow. Wrecked airplane.
Smith had been forced to land halfway between
Millersburg and Guernsey, Iowa because of a stripped crankshaft.
The cow, belonging to Mr. H.A. Sheda of Victor, Iowa, was
appraised at $75, which was paid to the owner in full by the
Dean Smith was born on September 27, 1899 in
Cove, Oregon. He had 900 hours of flying time under his belt
when he joined the Air Mail Service in 1920. The early airmail
pilots could be showoffs, drinkers, smokers, jokesters and
juvenile. A dispute between Smith and another pilot made it
all the way up to D. B. Colyer, Superintendent of the Central
After being transferred out of one division, Smith apparently received gloves that belonged to fellow pilot.
Johnson wrote to Colyer on November 27, 1924,
addressing him as "My dear ‘D.B.'"
"Referring to correspondence had in
regard to my gloves, I cannot see why Dean Smith takes that
attitude, -- there is absolutely no fair reason for it.
These gloves belong to me personally, and are quite valuable,
and I need them urgently. They were taken from my locker
while I was on leave, without my permission, by clerk at
this office, on whom the result of some of Smith's
carelessness fell, -- that of gathering up his belongings
after he had left this station. If he would pay more attention
to keeping his equipment together this sort of thing would
I have nothing to do with his gloves, or whatever
it is he has lost, nor have I any idea where they are or
what has become of them. Therefore, I make the request that
my gloves be sent me without further useless and ridiculous
I would thank you to convey the above to Pilot
Dean Smith, and would appreciate whatever you do to expedite
return of the cause of all this baby-like controversy."
December 11, 1924, Colyer wrote to Smith, asking him to give
the gloves back. "My dear Dean," his letter began,
"Pilot Johnson advises that you have in your possession
a pair of gloves belonging to him. If such is the case I suggest
that you return them to him. You do not care to retain in
your possession the property of another when the second party
desires its return do you.
"As near as I can learn Pilot Johnson is
in no [way] responsible for the loss of your mittens. I think
the right thing to do is to return his property and request
the Manager at Hazelhurst to forward yours. If I can be of
any assistance in this matter please advise."