From a contemporary press report:
Alonzo Smith Jr., 74, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who spent most of his professional life with the National Weather Service, died of cancer November 18, 1999 at Bethesda Naval Hospital.
Colonel Smith, a Silver Spring resident, was born in Fairmont Heights. He spent part of his youth in New York. He graduated from Dunbar High School and served in the Navy during World War II as a diesel engineer aboard a destroyer in combat in the South Pacific.
After the war, he attended Howard University, where he enrolled in ROTC. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force and graduated from Howard with a degree in mathematics. Through the Air Force Institute of Technology, he studied meteorology at New York University and received a master's degree in that field from Pennsylvania State University.
He was detailed to what became the National Weather Service and later received an Air Force Commendation Medal for his contributions to the development of a computerized flight planning system.
He stayed with the Weather Service after his military retirement in 1970. He worked for the service as a civilian until retiring in 1986 as a deputy federal coordinator for meteorology. In retirement, he worked as a computer consultant and Montgomery County mathematics substitute teacher.
He was a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi social fraternity and a past president of Howard University alumni groups and the East Coast chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. He also was active in the Trinity AME Zion Church in Washington and Toastmasters International.
Survivors include his wife of 45 years, the former Betty L. Byers of Silver Spring; three children, Yvona Smith of Pittsburgh, Teresa Holley of Burtonsville and Kelly Porter of Manassas; and seven grandchildren.
SMITH, ALONZO, JR., Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.)
On Thursday, November 18, 1999, at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, beloved husband of Betty Smith; loving father of Yvona K. Smith, Teresa L. Holley and Kelly V. Porter. Also survived by three brothers, George, Elijah and Samuel Smith; two sisters, Corrine Harris and Magnolia Stroman; seven grandchildren; a host of other relatives and friends. On Tuesday, November 30, 1999, friends may visit with the family from 6 to 8 p.m. at Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church, 3535 16th St., NW, where funeral services will be held at 12 noon on Wednesday, December 1, 1999. Rev. Joseph Lamb, Pastor. Interment Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Melda Martin Financial Aid Committee.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard