The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Captain Ronald E. Smith, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as an A-1 Tactical Fighter Pilot in Southeast Asia from 1 June 1972 to 2 June 1972. During this period, Captain Smith was on-scene commander for an extremely hazardous and complex search and rescue mission to recover an American crew member in the heavily fortified Red River Valley. In his efforts to locate the survivor, Captain Smith deliberately and repeatedly exposed his slow-moving aircraft to intense anti-aircraft fire to mark and pinpoint the survivor’s location. After directing air strikes to silence the threatening hostile forces, he led the vulnerable rescue helicopter to a safe and successful recovery of the downed crew member. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Captain Smith reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Received his Air Force commission in 1965… Also earned two Silver Stars in Vietnam… Retired as colonel in 1989