Jill M. Rohrbach
Happy Birthday Gen. William Orlando Darby!
Celebrate the 100th birthday of this Fort Smith native and World War II hero on Feb. 12 at the Fort Smith Museum of History. The birthday party will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will include birthday cake and punch in the museum’s soda fountain. Admission is free.
Darby was the founder of Darby’s Rangers, the First Ranger Battalion during World War II. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, “
Darby received many awards, including two Distinguished Service Crosses, a Silver Star for “Gallantry in Action,” a Purple Heart, and a Combat Infantry Badge, as well as the British Distinguished Service Order.
“Darby’s life is celebrated in many ways. Named for him are the USNS General William O. Darby, a U.S. Army troopship, which is now retired, as well as streets in many places. Cisterna, Italy, has a Darby School, and in his hometown of Fort Smith, the sister city to Cisterna, the senior high school he attended is now called the William O. Darby Junior High. Many army posts have training or airfields named after him.
“Darby was originally buried in a military cemetery outside of Cisterna, Italy, but on March, 11, 1949, his body was returned to Arkansas and reinterred at the Fort Smith National Cemetery, just a few blocks from his boyhood home.”
or call 479-783-7841 for more information on the birthday event.