Retired July 1, 1964. Died Jan. 5, 1998.
Major General Dale O. Smith was born in Reno, Nev., in 1911, and attended Reno schools and the University of Nevada there for two years before being appointed to the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated from West Point in 1934 and spent the summer on a midshipman cruise to Europe aboard the battleship Wyoming. Returning to the United States he went to flying school at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas.
He requested pursuit training (as fighters were termed in those days) and began transition work in the old A-3. Unfortunately the A-3 had no rudder adjustment and Smith's long legs (he is 6' 7" tall) were rather cramped. On his initial ride the airplane began to taxi in a circle while Smith struggled unsuccessfully to straighten the rudder. He says, "Before I could reach down to straighten out that rudder bar with my hand, I had been transferred to bombers.
"But that didn't end my fighter career. In flying school I managed to get considerable time in the old P-l. In Hawaii, as a test pilot I flew the P-12, P-26 and P-36. During World War II, I scrounged a P-47 to observe my Fortress formation work and also checked out in the P-51. During my tour on Okinawa I commanded two jet fighter wings and managed to fly over 100 hours in the F-100."
After completing flying school in B-4, Keystone bombers, General Smith was assigned to Hamilton Field, Calif., where the sleek B-10s and B-12 bombers were being tested by the Air Corps. At Hamilton he was among the group of officers who assisted in the development of the technique of bombing with the Norden bombsight.
In 1938 Smith was assigned to Luke and Hickam fields in Hawaii, where he served as engineering officer and test pilot. Leaving Hawaii in 1940 he went to Langley Field, Va., where he flew the early Flying Fortress models while assigned to the 2nd Bomb Group. At the outset of the war, Smith was commanding one of the squadrons of the 2nd Bomb Group, the 20th, and was placed under Navy control with his squadron to hunt submarines. He continued on this type of work under the Navy until the summer of 1943, holding successively positions as group executive officer, group commander, and assistant chief of staff of the Army Air Forces Anti-Submarine Command.
From 1943 until late 1944 Smith commanded a B-17 group in England, the 384th. He was credited with 31 combat missions and was awarded the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross with three clusters, and the Croix de Guerre with palm. His group was cited twice as a Distinguished Unit.
Smith spent the last six months of the war in the Pentagon as chief of the Bombardment Branch, Requirements Division of the Army Air Forces. Shortly after V-J Day he was transferred to March Field, Calif., where he was the director of operations until being sent to the Air University at Maxwell Field, Ala., in 1946.
At Air University the general (then a colonel) was appointed chief of the Research Division. This office assumed the tactical and strategic functions of the former Army Air Forces Board and was charged with investigating and recommending tactical doctrine for the Air Force. In this capacity he was responsible for completion of "Air Force Leader," an official manual which is still used in the U.S. Air Force.
From the summer of 1947 to the summer of 1948, Smith attended the Air War College as a student. While there several of his papers on strategy were published and received national recognition. Following this assignment he was sent to Stanford University for additional study in education and leadership. He graduated in January 1951 with a master of arts and doctor of education degrees.
Following his graduate schooling, Smith was assigned to the faculty of the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base and was transferred in November to Headquarters Air University as deputy director of education. On May 1, 1952, he was appointed director of education and was promoted to brigadier general in October 1953. On July 1, 1954, he was assigned to the staff of the Operations Coordinating Board, Washington, D.C.
The Operations Coordinating Board was an inter-departmental body chaired by the undersecretary of state which was charged with coordinating the action on policies of the National Security Council. As special assistant to the executive officer of OCB, General Smith sat on the NSC Planning Board as acting OCB adviser.
In 1956 the general returned to the Pentagon where he was assigned as chief, Policy Division in the Plans Directorate of DCSIO, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. During this period he played a significant role in preparing the U.S. position for negotiations carried on with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Dhahran Airfield.
When King Saud visited the United States in February 1957, General Smith was the military representative in the talks held between officials of the U.S. and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In March 1957 he was sent to Saudi Arabia as the Department of Defense representative for further technical discussion in connection with the new Dhahran Airfield Agreement. On July 1, 1957 he assumed command of the 2nd Air Division (U.S. Air Forces in Europe) at Dhahran Airfield and the U.S. Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia.
Upon completion of his mission to Saudi Arabia, Smith was transferred to the Far East. On Jan. 8, 1958, he assumed command of the 313th Air Division (Pacific Air Forces) on Okinawa.
The 513th Air Division comprised all the U.S. Air Force forces in the Ryukyuan Islands, with headquarters at Kadena Air Base, one of the largest U.S. Air Force installations overseas. Among other units at Kadena was the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing armed with F-100s. Another active base of the 313th Air Division was at Naha where the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing protected the "Keystone of the Pacific" with F-102s and F-86D fighters. The all-jet 313th Air Division was one of the most formidable fighting units in the world at that time and was involved in the Taiwan Straits Crisis of 1958.
In March of 1959 General Smith participated in the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization maneuver "Air Progress" held in Thailand, with six nations taking part. Smith was the aggressor commander in this exercise.
Smith was promoted to major general June 30, 1959. On June 30, 1960 he departed Okinawa with his family for the United States. His new command was the 64th Air Division with headquarters at Stewart Air Force Base, N.Y.
Although headquarters of the 64th Air Division was in New York, the command was located in Canada and Greenland. All the Arctic radar stations and Greenland bases, Thule and Sondrestrom came under the 64th, together with the great Ballistic Missile Early Warning (BMEWS) radars, the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line, the Goose Air Defense Sector in Labrador and Greenland, and some of the Pinetree Line stations. The 64th was equipped with F-102 supersonic fighter intereeptors based at Thule, Goose and Harmon air bases.
On July 20, 1961 General Smith was again assigned to Washington, D.C., this time as special assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Arms Control. In this capacity he was charged with assisting the JCS on all matters pertaining to disarmament.
After two years this post rotated to the Army and General Smith was reassigned on July 8, 1963, as the Air Force Member of the Joint Strategic Survey Council. The JSSC, sometimes referred to as "The Three Wise Men," was organized in 1942 by General Marshall in an effort to establish a small group of joint strategists who would be divorced from day-to-day pressures and allowed to examine the world scene as a whole and the role of the U.S. forces. The JSSC advises the Joint Chiefs of Staff and consists simply of three officers of two star rank, one from each service, together with three colonel-captain level officers and secretarial help. The tour of duty is two years.