Name: Richard Eugene Smith, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O4/United States Air Force
Unit: 333rd TFS 355 TFW
Date of Birth: 17 January 1935
Home City of Record: Marks MS
Date of Loss: 25 October 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 210200N 1055200E
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D, #1168
Missions: 33
Incident No: 0877

Other Personnel in Incident:

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK  from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews. Updated 2017.


SOURCE: WE CAME HOME  copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
spelling errors).
UPDATE - 02/97 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO with material provided by
"Gene" Smith.

Lieutenant Colonel - United States Air Force
Shot Down: October 25, 1967
Released: March 14, 1973

Born 1935 in Marks, Mississippi. Grew up in Tunica, Mississippi. Made Eagle
Scout at the age of 13 in 1948. (Youngest in the u.S. at the time.)
Graduated from high school in 1952 and entered Mississippi State University
where I studied Chemical Engineering. I graduated in 1956 and entered the
Air Force. I was shot down 25 October 1967 while flying out of Takhli AFB,
Thailand flying a F-105D with the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron/355
Tactical Fighter Wing. My target was Doumer Bridge in Hanoi. I was on my
33rd mission over North Vietnam.

Upon ejection, I received flak and bailout wounds to my right lower leg. I
was shot twice in my left thigh when I was captured. In the 5 1/2 yrs I was
held in captivity, I was tortured with ropes during my initial interrogation
for about 3-5 days.

I returned to March AFB after my release March 13, 1973. I recuperated in
the Las Vegas area and was assigned to TNG CMD at CAFB - operations officer
and squadron commander for T-38 Squad.

My wife's name is Rae and we have three children, Kelly, Richard, and
Stacy. She did a great job with our kids and the business while I was held.

I am sure this book will be interesting to the millions of Americans who
steadfastly supported their country and us during our long involvement in
Vietnam. Fortunately, I feel my story is very routine as far as my POW
time was concerned. I just did the best I could in some very trying
circumstances. Fortunately I had the friendship and companionship of such
fine men as Smitty Harris, John Reynolds, Mo Baker, "Masher" Mike McGrath,
and many more.

Richard Smith Jr., retired from the United States Air Force after 19 years a
Lt. Colonel. He and Rae reside in Mississippi where he pursues golf, quail
and duck hunting. He was the director for the Golden Triangle Regional
Airport, and current chairman of the Board of AFA. He has previously served
as National President of the Air Force Association.

Smith and his wife have 2 daughters, Kelly and Stacy, and a son, Rick.
Rick is an F-16 instructor at LAFB and flew on the opening day raid on
Bagdad during the Gulf War. They have been blessed with four grandsons.


Gene's wife Rae died December 23, 2003.  She died peacefully with her
family by her side after a long illness.


Columbus honors former POW

Posted 3/14/2014   Updated 3/14/2014
3/14/2014 - Retired Lt. Col. Richard “Gene” Smith, former Vietnam POW speaks with fellow Columbus Air Force Base Wingman Mark Alexander at the Memorial Wall named in Smith’s honor at Columbus AFB on March 14, 2014. Smith was a POW for five and one-half years was recognized during Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 14-06’s graduation ceremony as today marked the 41st anniversary of Smith’s repatriation. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Melissa Dublin)



Meridian Star
The POW/MIA empty chair ceremony was performed at Meridian City Hall Friday during ... who was a POW in Vietnam for 5 1/2 years, shared his story.

Name: Richard E. "Gene" Smith, Jr. 

Wartime service: 1967-73

Vietnam Experience:   Major, USAF fighter/bomber pilot. 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron/355th Tactical Fighter Wing. Prisoner of War for 1,967 days.

Today: Age 82. Lives in West Point. Retired Lt. Col. USAF; retired airport director


Retired Lt. Col. Richard Smith, former 50th Flying Training Squadron commander, holds a prisoner of war bracelet Oct. 17, 2017, in his home in West ...
More Info