Changing of the Guard
General W. Y. Smith, USAF (Ret.)
General W. Y. Smith served for 35 years in the USAF, rising from jet fighter pilot to four-star rank. Upon his retirement in 1983 he was selected as a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution. Subsequently, he became President of the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded research and development center. He retired from that position in 1991.
General Smith graduated from West Point and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. He saw combat in the Korean conflict and was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Purple Heart, among other decorations. He was assigned to the National Security Council staff at the White House under President Kennedy, and served as Military Assistant to two secretaries of the Air Force and as Assistant to three Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
General Smith became President of the Air Force Historical Foundation in 1996. During his tenure the Foundation's financial condition improved markedly. He took great pride in introducing "jointness" into the Foundation's biennial symposia, for example the May 2002 symposium, "Coalition Air Warfare in the Korean War, 1950-1953," and the recent joint symposium with the Royal Air Force Historical Society on "Anglo-American Cooperation in the Twentieth Century.". General Smith guided publication of the illustrated history, Air Force.
General Smith plans to stay active through his participation on various boards and panels.
Lt. Gen. Michael A. Nelson, USAF (Ret. …