David Smith’s Military Career
Colonel David Smith, USMC (Retired)
Colonel David Smith graduated from Texas A&M University in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) program. After attending The Basic School, he proceeded to NAS Pensacola, Florida, for flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1984.
In 1991, Smith attended Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, Virginia, and in 1992, he returned to Camp Pendleton, California, and reported to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Special Operations Training Group (SOTG) as the detachment Air Officer. During this tour he coordinated multiple cycles of training in the Urban Environment (TRUE) for deploying Aviation Combat Element (ACE) squadrons. Because TRUE training events, such as Close Quarter Battle (CQB) training for hostage rescue, urban live-fire sniper and Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) required close coordination with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, he flew regularly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Los Angeles Police Department aviation units.
In 1993, Smith returned to HMLA-367 for a second time and served as the squadron Administrative Officer. In 1994 he deployed to Okinawa, Japan, as the HMLA-367 detachment Officer in Charge assigned to HMM-262, 31st MEU(SOC) and sailed aboard the USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3). During this deployment he also participated in the 50th anniversary celebration and remembrance of the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippine Islands. His detachment of UH-1N helicopters provided transportation for SecDef, SecNav and CJCS and also sailed aboard the USS Germantown (LSD-42).
Colonel Smith flew over 4,600 mishap-free flight hours during his career. His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, with one gold star, the Meritorious Service Medal, with two gold stars, the Air Medal with combat “V” and Strike Flight numeral 2 and gold star, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Other notable decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy Unit Citation and the Marine Corps Unit Citation, as well as the Sea Service Deployment ribbon, with silver star, representing a total of six deployments overseas.