Perry M. Smith is a teacher, speaker, TV, and radio commentator, and best-selling author. A retired major general, Smith served for 30 years in the U. S. Air Force. During his career, he had a number of leadership experiences, including command of the F-15 fighter wing at Bitburg, Germany where he provided leadership to 4000 personnel. Later, he served as the top Air Force planner and as the commandant of the National War College.
Smith’s total number of flying hours as a pilot (mostly in fighter aircraft: F-84, F-100, F-4, and F-15) is 3400. He flew 180 combat missions in the F-4D aircraft over North Vietnam and Laos during the Vietnam War. He was a member of the following fighter squadrons, 10th, 615th, 612th, 555thand the following fighter wings: 50th, 401st, 432ndand 36th. Smith is the recipient of two distinguished flying crosses, ten air medals, and the bronze star. Other awards include the distinguished service medal, defense distinguished service medal, and two legions of merit.
A graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, he later earned his Ph.D. in International Relations from Columbia University. His dissertation earned the Helen Dwight Reid award from the American Political Science Association. At West Point, he played on the varsity lacrosse team—earning All American honors (second team) his senior year.
Smith’s published books include Rules and Tools for Leaders, Assignment Pentagon, and Courage, Compassion, Marine: The Unique Story of Jimmie Dyess. The latter book is a biography of the only person to have earned America’s two highest awards for heroism, the Medal of Honor and the Carnegie Medal.
With more than 350,000 copies in print, Rules and Tools for Leaders is his most popular book. After he was interviewed on the Today Show, this book reached #2 on the amazon.com bestseller list. Assignment Pentagon, the only substantive guide on how to operate in the Pentagon, is also in its 4thedition. Jeff Foley and Dan Gerstein are co-authors of recent editions of Rules and Tools for Leaders and Assignment Pentagon respectively.
Since 2015 Smith and videographer Mark Albertin have produced four DVDs: Twice a Hero: The Jimmie Dyess Story. When Duty Calls: The Life and Legacy of Don Holleder. Dr. Hervey Cleckley: A Man for All Seasons. and Flying Combat with the Triple Nickel.
Smith’s seven-year relationship with CNN ended on June 14, 1998, when he resigned over an issue of integrity (CNN’s egregious special accusing the U. S. Air Force of using lethal nerve gas during the Vietnam War). Later he served as a military commentator for NBC TV, CBS TV, and CBS radio.
In 2011, The General Perry Smith Parkway near the Augusta Regional Airport was dedicated.
In 1959 Smith married the talented Connor Cleckley Dyess, the daughter of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Dyess. Connor was eight years old when her father was killed in the Marshall Islands in February 1944. The Smiths have two children, McCoy and Serena, and four grandchildren, Dyess, Porter, Perry IV, and Jacob.
Smith’s website is genpsmith.com.