- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2003

Emory C. Smith, 92,lawyer, Navy captain

Emory Clark Smith, a career Navy judge advocate general and civilian lawyer, died of prostate cancer Aug. 7 in Gettysburg, Pa. He was 92.

Capt. Smith was born in Denton, Texas, to a family with a strong educational and military background. Both his grandfathers served in the Civil War, with one being wounded three times in battle.

Capt. Smith received his bachelor’s degree from North Texas State University at age 18 in 1929, his master’s degree from the University of Texas in 1933 and law degree from Southern Methodist University in 1937. He was admitted to the Texas State Bar Association that year and was later admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court bar. He received his law degree from George Washington University in 1954.



As a young man, he was an assistant principal in Huntsville, Texas, and practiced law in Oklahoma City before entering the military.

Capt. Smith spent 32 years in the armed services, starting off in the Texas National Guard Cavalry in one of the last horse-cavalry units, which patrolled the Mexican border. He joined the Navy during World War II, first serving as an aviation gunnery officer on torpedo bombers teaching marksmanship tactics to naval aviators.

He later became one of the first JAG officers and, as part Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff, was selected to the U.S. Court of Military Appeals and prosecuted World War II Pacific war crimes without ever losing a case.

Capt. Smith was one of the first two captains to be selected within the JAG Corps of the Navy and earned several awards, including the Legion of Merit. He served in many duty stations, including the Philippines and Italy over the years, but he always came home to Washington.

He later served as director of the Naval Petroleum & Oil Shale Reserves, creating and protecting the strategic reservoirs of oil in northern Alaska from other desired uses.

Capt. Smith retired in 1972 from the Navy and specialized in international law at Foster Associates in the District.

In the 1970s and ‘80s, after his retirement, Capt. Smith taught international law and law of the sea as an adjunct professor at American University and Georgetown University.

He lived in the District on and off from 1952, residing in the Palisades community. In 1968, Capt. Smith purchased a farm in Gettysburg and commuted from his Northwest Washington home to spend weekends at his farm, “Bell Arrivo” (“Beautiful Arrival” in Italian).

Capt. Smith was honored with selection in Who’s Who in Government throughout the 1970s, was nominated in 1972 by the Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee for the Justice Tom C. Clark Award, which goes to the lawyer in government who had contributed the most to the development of public law.

Services have been held.

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