General William Y. Smith passed away on January 16, 2016, at the age of 90. General Smith led the Foundation from 1996 to 2003, and remained a staunch supporter after he left office.
General Smith was born in 1925, in Hot Springs, Ark. After graduating from high school in 1943, He spent one year at Washington and Lee University Va., then entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He graduated in 1948, among the first academy graduates commissioned directly into the newly established Air Force.
His first assignment was training recruits at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Subsequently he went through flight training at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., receiving his pilot wings in September 1949. He then served as a pilot with the 20th Fighter-Bomber Group at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.
In March 1951 General Smith was assigned to the 27th Fighter Escort Group at Itazuke Air Base, Japan, and flew combat missions over Korea in F-84 Thunderjets. He spent two months as a forward air controller with the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division. He next joined the 49th Fighter-Bomber Group and served as operations officer for combat crew training at Itazuke, then as assistant group operations officer at Taegu Air Base, South Korea, flying combat missions until hit by flak and wounded on his 97th mission.
After prolonged hospitalization, General Smith attended Harvard University for graduate study, receiving an M.PA. in 1954 and a Ph.D. in political economy and government in 1961. From August 1954 to July 1958, the general taught government, economic and international relations, and attained the rank of associate professor at the U.S. Military Academy. He attended the Air Command and Staff College from August 1958 to June 1959. He spent that summer on special assignment with the president's committee to study the U.S. Military Assistance Program, the Draper Committee, then became a planning and programming officer with the deputy director of war plans in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
In July 1961, he moved to the White House as Air Force staff assistant to General Maxwell D. Taylor who was then military representative to President John F. Kennedy. When General Taylor became chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962, General Smith worked in a dual capacity as an assistant to the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff...