Obituary of David Lorin Smith
On Monday, May 1, 2023, US Air Force Major (Ret.) David Lorin Smith (67), defied gravity one last time, on the final flight to his eternal rest. David resided in Summerville, SC for the past 35 years with his beloved wife and soulmate of 38 years, Laura Dawn (Heaster) and his two treasured daughters, Kylie Laurin and Breanna McVeigh. Preceded in death by his mother Kathryn Carlton and brother Leland Smith, David leaves behind a host of extended family and friends who will miss him and his expertise tremendously – a void not easily filled. Dave graduated in 1973 from Whitehaven High School in Memphis, Tennessee. He then enlisted in the United States Air Force as an Air Traffic Control specialist and completed training at Lackland AFB in Texas and Keesler AFB in Mississippi. From 1974 to 1977, he served consecutive overseas tours at both Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath, England and Kunsan Air Base, Korea. During this period, Dave was cited for outstanding support of the Royal Air Force Joint Air Traffic Control program. He was also credited with preventing a C-130 and F-4 mid-air collision at RAF Mildenhall, England. He was a tactical air traffic coordinator for the first Korean “Team Spirit” exercise in 1977. Upon discharge in 1977, Dave enrolled at Memphis State University and continued his undergraduate emphasis in aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He graduated with honors from EmbryRiddle in 1980 with a degree in Professional Aeronautics. Dave was selected for Officer Training School and Undergraduate Pilot Training in 1980. He attended pilot training at Columbus AFB in Mississippi and C-130 training at Little Rock AFB in Arkansas. Quickly progressing as both an Aircraft Commander and Instructor, Dave was selected in 1987 by the Commander, Military Airlift Command as one of only eight “Airlift Cross-Flow” pilots slated for the future C-17. He completed his C-130 tour with the 317th Tactical Airlift Wing at Pope AFB in North Carolina with over 2200 hours as the Wing’s Primary Flight Evaluator for Joint Special Operations. His C130 experience includes participation in numerous classified missions in South America, El Dorado Canyon/ Libya, and the spearhead Special Operations assault in Urgent Fury/Grenada. The Distinguished Graduate of his 1988 C-141 training class, Dave was assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing/ 41st MAS at Charleston AFB in South Carolina. In 1989, he was assigned to the Wing Commander to support a new C-17 Integration Program and was selected for C-17 Initial Cadre in 1990. His duties included extensive participation as a C-17 Pilot Workload Assessment Test Pilot with Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California, and Initial Aircrew Training System Evaluations in Norman, Oklahoma. He also participated in the Assault Landing Zone design at North Field, South Carolina and was the primary author of the congressionally mandated C-17 Reliability, Maintainability and Availability (RM&A) evaluation. In 1993, Major Smith began training as one of the first C-17 Instructor pilots. He completed his C-141 assignment with 1800 hours as a formation lead, tactical airdrop, and air refueling Instructor Aircraft Commander. His C-141 experience includes the emergency evacuation of Americans from Liberia, participation in the Special Operations assault package in Operation Just Cause/ Panama, and numerous combat support missions supporting both Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Kuwait and Southwest Asia. Major Smith served as the 17AS Assistant Operations Officer during the C-17 Initial Cadre period and acted as 17AS Squadron Commander during the extended Bosnian campaign. His military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Commendation Medal, Achievement Medal (1OLC), National Defense Service Medal (1OLC), Expeditionary Forces Medal (1OLC), Kuwait Liberation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Ribbon (1OLC), and the Southwest Asia Campaign Ribbon. After retirement from military service in October 1996, David launched Carolina Tracks Ltd., serving as the President and Project Manager for an entrepreneurial electronics and software development corporation. U.S. patents were published Oct 1999 & Aug 2000. He gave back to the community by serving as an Aviation Instructor supporting a summer youth program for underprivileged teens. Responsibilities included Aviation academic instruction, pilot/ aircraft certification, and flight scheduling for 45 students in two rural locations. He was a car enthusiast and computer whiz. He loved his family and his golden retrievers Jackson, Sully and Marlin. The silence of his absence will be deafening. Graveside service with military honors to be held at Beaufort National Cemetery. Date and time to be announced.
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