- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2004

Click D. Smith Jr., 73,retired Air Force general

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Click D. Smith Jr. died Jan. 12 of cancer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District. He was 73.

Gen. Smith was born in Lumberton, N.C. He received a degree in aeronautical engineering from Michigan State University and master’s degrees in business and international affairs from George Washington University.

Gen. Smith served in the Air Force from 1951 to 1985 and then worked for the Logistics Management Institute. He lived in the Washington area for 24 years.

After flying 50 missions in Korea as navigator in RB-26s, Gen. Smith was cited for bravery and returned to the United States for pilot training, graduating first in his class. He then attended the Air Force Test Pilot School, where he again placed first.

As a new test pilot, he was assigned to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio in 1956, where his boss was Col. Joe Cotton, the renowned XB-70 pilot. During this assignment, Gen. Smith was rated as an aircraft commander in a variety of fighters, bombers and cargo aircraft.

He graduated with honors from the Air Command and General Staff School and was a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College.

Gen. Smith was wing commander of the 436th Eagle Wing flying C-5s at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. During the final stages of his military career, he was responsible for planning and executing air, land and sea strategic movement of U.S. forces to contingencies anywhere in the world. He also was head of the CX Task Force that led to the development of the C-17.

His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force), Legion of Merit with oak-leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with four oak-leaf clusters, Air Medal with 16 oak-leaf clusters, and the Purple Heart.

After retirement, Gen. Smith pursued a degree from the Capital Bible Seminary. He was elected to McLean Bible Church’s Board of Elders in 1987, serving as its chairman for 10 years and playing a leading role in acquiring the National Wildlife Foundation property in Vienna, Va., to accommodate more than 10,000 worshipers.

Gen. Smith was chairman and chief check pilot of Mercy Medical Airlift, an organization dedicated to providing air transportation without charge for patients and families needing medical care far from home. He flew 10,000 hours for MMA and accumulated a total of 30,000 hours, virtually unprecedented for a military or general aviation pilot.

Survivors include his wife, Iris of Alexandria; a son, David Smith of Arlington; a daughter, Debbie Szabo of Fairfax; and two grandchildren.

A service and reception will be held at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 11 at McLean Bible Church, 8925 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, followed by interment at the Arlington National Cemetery at 3 p.m.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the McLean Bible Church building fund, P.O. Box 9300, McLean, VA 22102, or Mercy Medical Airlift, P.O. Box 1940, Manassas, VA 20108.

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