Monday, March 1, 2010

Brigadier General (CA) Walter S. Smith, Biography


BG Walt Smith served in the United States Marine Corps as an enlisted rifleman with KCompany, 3/3 3rd MARDIV WESPAC in 1968 and is a recipient of the Purple Heart Medal. He joined the California National Guard and completed Federal Officer Candidate School (OCS) with the California Military Academy in 1973. General Smith was selected as the Commander of Troops for the graduation, which was attended by Governor Ronald Reagan, and received the Association of the United States Army Leadership Award. Walter S. Smith is also a 1975 Distinguished Graduate from the United States Army Officer Rotary Wing Course, Ft. Rucker, Alabama. General Smith flew several years with the California Army National Guard.

Walt Smith pursued his aviation career and
joined the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1977. Walt eventually became a radar air traffic controller for BAY TRACON in
Northern California. Mr. Smith was promoted to numerous Air Traffic Managers positions including Sonoma County Airport (Santa Rosa, California); Monterey Terminal Radar Control (MRY) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

General Smith maintained his military reserve service throughout his FAA career. However, as a result of the 1981 air traffic control strike, in 1986 the FAA requested General Smith to leave the federal military reserves so he would not have a dual federal status in the event of a national emergency. It was called by the Department of Defense (DOD) as “Screening the Reserves”. Walt was a Major in United States Army Reserve (USAR) serving as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) assigned to the United States Selective Service.
BG Smith complied and joined the California State Military Reserve (CSMR) and, after completing the appropriate time in grade, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Walt directed the team which wrote the original CSMR 600-2 regulation that manages officer’s similar to the California National Guard, USAR and U.S. Army standards.

General Smith served in several key positions within the CSMR which include 2nd Brigade Commander and State Headquarters Chief-of-Staff. Walt was eventually assigned as the Deputy Commanding General and promoted to Brigadier General.
General Smith completed 30 years of military service in a number of capacities and retired in 1998. He is the recipient of the prestigious “Order of California” for his meritorious service in the California Army National Guard and the California State Military Reserve.

Walt continued his FAA career and, in addition to his work at SFO, Walter was assigned a challenging position to consolidate FAA radar facilities in Honolulu, Hawaii. This was generated by Senator Inouye to have the FAA move it’s Center Radar and Approach Facility (CERAP) from Diamond Head to Hickam Air Force Base. Working with the Hawaiian National Guard and the United States Air Force, General Smith served a key role in completing the project so Hawaii could return Diamond Head into a pristine park.
Walt also served as the Y2K Risk Branch Manager for the National Headquarters in Washington D.C. and subsequently served as a Headquarters Emergency Continuity of Government and Contingency Manager. Mr. Smith also served a key role in developing the FAA senior managers “Best Practice” Course and taught this at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma one week a month until his retirement in 2007.

General Smith, and his wife Lois, moved from California to Idaho so they could be close to their Grandchildren. Walt now works part-time with the Washington Consulting Group on International Projects. He also manages International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and FAA Safety Management System programs.

In addition, Walt teaches the “World Class leadership Seminar” for the FAA Managers Association (FAAMA) which has received significant recognition throughout the United States.

Prior to his FAA career Walt was a California State Police Officer (now part of the California Highway Patrol – CHP) assigned to the Governor Ronald Reagan Executive Protection Detail. He also flew two fire seasons as an air tanker pilot flying a PBY-6A Tanker #49 in 1969-70 for Sis-Q Flying Service on contract to the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the California Department of Forestry (CAL FIRE). Along the way, General Smith also served as a Reserve Deputy and part-time Rescue Helicopter Pilot for the Sonoma County Sheriff Office in 1979-80.