Richard Edward Smith

Dick was appointed to the Naval Academy by Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona, having completed two years at the University of New Mexico.  He adapted easily to the Academy, establishing himself as an outstanding student and a member of the Navy Swim Team.  In First Class Year, he devoted his extracurricular time as Lucky Bag Editor.


Obtaining his pilot’s license at age 16, it was natural for Dick to choose to become an Air Force fighter pilot.   After flight training, Dick flew the F-89J.  He was then selected to attend the Air Force Institute of Technology earning his MS in Astronautical Engineering.  While in graduate school, Dick met and married Caroline.


An assignment to Edwards AFB followed, where he worked as Flight Test Engineer on high priority programs, including the X-15.  Dick then completed two SE Asia tours, flying F105 Strike and F105D Wild Weasel aircraft.  Flying over 100 missions above Viet Nam, he became a proud member of the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots.  He then returned to Edwards as Deputy Director of Flight Test Engineering on the B-1 test force.  He retired from the Air Force as a Colonel in 1981, having been awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Legion of Merit and 15 Air Medals. Following retirement, he returned to Edwards with the B-2 test program.


Dick died of cancer on 7 October 2004, leaving his daughters, Pamela and Monica, and his beloved Caroline.  He was interred at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.