William T. Smith – Major General, United States Air Force

From a contemporary press report

Died Friday, July 10, 1998 at the Army Residence Community. A native of Detroit, Michigan, he was a 1939 West Point graduate, and did his Army Air Corps Flight Training at Randolph AFB.

He was a B-17 bomber pilot in the Pacific Theater during World War II, and was a 32 year career Air Force officer. From 1956 to 1961, he was the Commanding Officer at Andrews AFB, outside Washington, DC, where he often met with Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, and other heads of state on trips in and out of the Nation's Capital. He retired in 1969, and served a second career as a vice president with the Computer Sciences Corporation in Arlington, VA. He has resided in the San Antonio area since 1979.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Nina Crews Smith; his son, Bill Jr. of Jacksonville, FL; his daughter, Patricia of Chantilly, VA; his sisters, Mary Frances Jensen and Elizabeth Owen, both of Grosse Pointe, MI; his brother, Paul Smith of Sarasota, FL; and four granddaughters. He was predeceased by his brother, Arthur Smith of Richmond, VA and his sister, Alice Fine of Grosse Pointe, MI.

Inurnment Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium on Thursday, August 20 at 1 p.m. Please assemble at the Administration Building at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Health Care Center Fund of the Army Residence Community, San Antonio, TX 78239.

Courtesy of the United States Air Force

Retired Aug. 1, 1969, Died July 10, 1998

William Thomas Smith, chief of staff, Air Force Communications Service, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., was born Aug. 19, 1913 in Detroit, Mich. He attended the Detroit public schools, graduated from Eastern High School in 1930, and attended the University of Detroit.

In 1932 he joined the Michigan National Guard and three years later won a competitive appointment to the U.S. Military Academy from the National Guard. He graduated from West Point with a bachelor of science degree in 1939 and attended flying school. General Smith earned his pilot wings upon graduation from the Air Corps Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, in June 1940.

He was initially assigned as a flying instructor at the Air Corps Basic Flying School, Randolph Field, Texas. During the next three years he served as flight instructor and check pilot at several primary flying schools and as director of training and operations of the Basic Flying School at Courtland, Ala. After this he became assistant deputy chief of staff for operations and then deputy chief of staff at Headquarters Army Air Forces Eastern Flying Training Command at Maxwell Field, Ala. Following the cessation of hostilities in Europe, the general joined the redeployed 8th Air Force at Okinawa in 1945, and later moved to Headquarters 5th Air Force in Japan where he served as assistant chief of staff for operations. In December 1947 he returned to the United States.

During January of 1948, General Smith was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, first as chief of the Congressional Liaison Branch and then as executive officer in the Directorate of Legislation and Liaison. Two and a half years later he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force Security Service, Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, and in 1951 was named chief of staff of the Security Service.

He attended the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., from 1953 to 1954. During 1954 he was named commander of the 1804th Airways and Air Communications Service Wing, headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. In that capacity, General Smith commanded all AACS, units in the Alaskan Theatre and was responsible for operating and maintaining all AACS facilities in Alaska and Western Canada. This responsibility included point to point and air to ground communications, plus radar and radio navigational aids which insured the safe flight of military aircraft. In that assignment he completely modernized the global communications stations at Elmendorf, Eielson and Ladd Air Force bases and improved air traffic control procedures.

General Smith relinquished his Alaskan Command in June of 1956 and served as commander of Andrews Air Force Base, Md., from July 23, 1956 to Aug. 28, 1961.

On Aug. 29, 1961 the general was assigned as chief of staff for the Air Force Communications Service, a major air command established to provide adequate, reliable and secure communications, flight facilities and air traffic control service primarily to the U.S. Air Force, and to other agencies, government or civil, national or foreign, as designated by the chief of staff, U.S. Air Force.

The general is a command pilot. He was promoted to brigadier general March 3, 1961. His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal and the Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters.

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