Michael Patrick Smith, Gunner
17th SOS, Phan Rang, 1969-70
I was born in Groton, New York in 1948. I graduated from Goose Bay Dependent High School at Goose Bay AFB, Labrador in 1966. Being an Air Force Brat, I attended three different colleges earning an Associate Degree. I joined the Air Force to continue a family tradition. From my father on down, my family has over 200 years total in military service to our country.
I entered the Air Force in 1967 in upstate New York and received basic training at Amarillo, TX. After crew combat training at Lockbourne AFB, OH, I served with the 17th SOS at Phan Rang AB, RVN from Dec. 1969 to Dec. 1970. Upon my return to the States, I served at Lockbourne AFB as an instructor gunner for AC-119G crew combat training from Jan. to Aug. 1971. Then I was assigned to Hurlburt Field 9 at Eglin AFB, FL as an instructor gunner on AC-119G/K gunships and eventually as an instructor on AC- 130A, E, and H model gunships between Aug. 1971 and Aug. 1975. From 1975 to 1983, I was a USAF para-rescue man.
My most memorable missions were those flown in Cambodia. I will never forget missions flown in providing fire support for the Siege of Duc Lap, Dak Seang and Dak Pek in South Vietnam. The TIC missions in the Bolovens Plateau in southern Laos were unforgettable.
Receiving a medical retirement from the USAF, I retired as a Senior Master Sergeant in 1987. I currently live in Alamogordo, NM.