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First Name: Lance

Last Name: Smith

Birthplace: Akron, OH, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: L.

Date of Birth: 18 September 1946

Rank: General

Years Served:
Lance L. Smith

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Lance L. Smith

General, U.S. Air Force

Lance L. Smith was born on 18 September 1946 in Akron, OH. He was a native of Virginia and a graduate of Virginia Tech.

Smith was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in 1970 after completing Officer Training School. He has more than 13 years in command during war and peace. He commanded two fighter wings and led two air expeditionary force deployments to Southwest Asia: AEF III and the 4th Air Expeditionary Wing. He served as the Commander of 7th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces; Air Component Commander, ROK and U.S. Combined Forces Command Korea; and Deputy Commander U.S. Forces Korea.

He also served two tours at the Pentagon and was Commandant of the NATO School at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe; Commandant of the Air War College; and Commander of the Air Force Doctrine Center. He was also Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command, MacDill AFB, FL. 

On 7 November 2005, Smith was promoted to the four-star rank of General and assigned as Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation, Norfolk, VA. 

As Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command, he is responsible for maximizing present and future military capabilities of the U.S. by leading the transformation of joint forces in the areas of joint training, joint interoperability, and joint innovation and experimentation.

As Combatant Command Authority for Air Combat Command, Fleet Forces Command, U.S. Army Forces Command and Marine Forces Command he holds operational control over almost 1.19 million U.S. military forces in his role as the force provider to the other combatant commanders.

As Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Smith leads the transformation of NATO's military structures, forces, capabilities and doctrines to improve interoperability and military effectiveness of the Alliance and its partner nations. He also leads individual NATO training development and, in collaboration with Supreme Allied Commander Operations, executes training programs for Coalition forces deploying to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo.

General Smith retired from the Air Force on 1 January 2008. During his service, Smith flew more than 165 combat missions in Southeast and Southwest Asia in the A-1 Skyraider and the F-15E Strike Eagle. A Command Pilot, he has over 3,000 hours in T-33, T-37, T-38, A-1, A-7, A-10, F-111F, F-15E and F-16 aircraft.


1969 Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg
1978 Master of Arts degree in Business Management, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant
1982 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL
1990 Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA
1994 Advanced Executive Program, J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL


1. June 1970 - June 1971, student, undergraduate pilot training, Columbus AFB, MS.
2. June 1971 - September 1971, A-1 combat crew training, Hurlburt Field, FL.
3. October 1971 - October 1972, A-1 pilot, 1st Special Operations Squadron, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB, Thailand.
4. October 1972 - July 1973, Instructor pilot training, Randolph AFB, TX.
5. July 1973 - September 1977, Instructor Pilot and Chief, Check Section, 96th Flying Training Squadron, Williams AFB, AZ.
6. September 1977 - January 1979, Staff Officer, Air Staff Training Program, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, the Pentagon, Washington, DC.
7. January 1979 - August 1981, student, A-7 Corsair conversion training, A-7D Aircraft Commander, Flight Commander and Assistant Operations Officer, 76th Tactical Fighter Squadron, England AFB, LA.
8. August 1981 - June 1982, student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, AL.
9. June 1982 - July 1986, Air Staff Officer, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations; Project Checkmate Analyst for Interdiction, Europe and Southwest Asia; Air Force Team Chief, Joint Assessment and Initiative Office, and Executive Officer to the Air Force Director of Operations, the Pentagon, Washington.
10. July 1986 - July 1989, Chief of Safety, later, Assistant Deputy Commander for Operations, 354th Tactical Fighter Wing, Myrtle Beach AFB, SC.
11. July 1989 - June 1990, student, Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA.
12. June 1990 - August 1992, Commandant, NATO School, SHAPE, Oberammergau, Germany.
13. August 1992 - September 1993, Vice Commander, later, Commander, 27th Fighter Wing, Cannon AFB, NM.
14. September 1993 - June 1995, Assistant Director of Operations, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, VA.
15. June 1995 - July 1997, Commander, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, NC.
16. July 1997 - August 1998, Vice Commander, 7th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Korea, and Chief of Staff, Combined Republic of Korea and U.S. Air Component Command, Osan AB, South Korea.
17. September 1998 - December 1999, Commandant, Air War College, and Vice Commander, Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL.
18. December 1999 - November 2001, Commander, Air Force Doctrine Center, Maxwell AFB, AL.
19. November 2001 - October 2003, Deputy Commander, United Nations Command; Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces Korea; Commander, Air Component Command, Republic of Korea and U.S. Combined Forces Command; and Commander, 7th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces, Osan AB, South Korea.
20. October 2003 - November 2005, Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command, MacDill AFB, FL.
21. November 2005 - 1 January 2008, Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation, Norfolk, VA.

Promotion Dates

Second Lieutenant - 18 May 1970
First Lieutenant - 11 November 1971
Captain - 18 October 1973
Major - 4 December 1978
Lieutenant Colonel - 1 February 1982
Colonel - 1 July 1989
Brigadier General - 1 July 1995
Major General - 1 April 1998
Lieutenant General - 1 January 2002
General - 7 November 2005

Medals and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal (3 Awards)
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal (3 Awards)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2 Awards)
Distinguished Flying Cross (3 Awards)
Purple Heart
Meritorious Service Medal (4 Awards)
Air Medal (10 Awards)
Aerial Achievement Medal (2 Awards)
Air Force Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Combat Readiness Medal
National Defense Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with 1 Bronze Star
Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korea Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Air and Space Campaign Medal
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
NATO Meritorious Service Medal
Canadian Meritorious Service Cross, Military Division
Honor Cross of the Bundeswehr Medal (Republic of Germany)
Order of National Security Merit Gukseon Medal (Republic of Korea)
Order of National Security Merit Cheonsu Medal (Republic of Korea)
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Commemorative Medal of the Minister of Defence (Slovak Republic)

Honoree ID: 843   Created by: MHOH




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