Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1976 Induction
(Inducted to represent the 1960-1969 period)
MG James C. Smith, then a brigadier general, served in the early 1960s with the Joint Test and Evaluation Task Force of the U.S. Strike Command, charged with analyzing Air Force and Army activities related to airmobility, and which tested and validated the performance of the 11th Air Assault Division.
A field test officer specializing in tactical air reconnaissance, Smith's efforts in the early 1960s were largely responsible for much of the current organizational and operational concepts of Army and the Air Force employment of tactical air reconnaissance elements.
He was assigned to several key positions in the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in 1966-1967 in South Vietnam.
In addition to commanding the division's support command, he also commanded the 1st Squadron, 9th Cav. Regt., then the Army's only air cavalry squadron.
Here he played a major role in developing one of the major new concepts of Army organization during the Vietnam War.
Later, as commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Cav. Div., Smith's expertise in air cavalry techniques made significant contributions to the improvement of combined arms mobility tactics.
In 1969, he was assigned as the assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Div. in South Vietnam, with the primary responsibility of assisting in the conversion of the 101st to the Army's second full airmobile division while the division continued its combat mission.
Through his broad aviation and combat arms experience, this major action was accomplished smoothly and effectively over a period of six weeks, a tribute to his outstanding organizational ability.