Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Major General D. Bruce Smith, USAF (Ret.)

bruce2.png Major General Donald Bruce Smith is currently sole-owner of SBBS Consulting Services. Bruce retired from the Air Force in late 1997 after 33 years of commissioned service. During his USAF career, he worked directly for four different 1964 classmates (Robin Tornow, Brett Dula, Jay Kelley, Joe Redden) which is probably a class record. His last assignment in the Air Force was as Commandant, Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. There he directed the post-graduate-level programs of the Air Force's senior professional military educational institution and supervised a combined faculty of civilian and military professors teaching over 3,300 senior US and International leaders annually through in-residence and distance-learning methods. After the Air Force, Bruce joined Lockheed Martin Corporation as Southern Region Director for Information Support Services in New Orleans, LA with primary contracts focused on Human Resource IT systems for the Navy and DoD. He subsequently accepted a Business Development Director position for Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in San Antonio, TX with focus on Human Resource and Training IT systems for the USAF and DoD. He retired from Lockheed Martin in 2004 to form SBBS Consulting Services.

Bruce was a proud 22nd Cadet Squadron graduate of the Air Force Academy on 3 June 1964. Following Undergraduate Pilot Training at Reese AFB, he served as a B-52 Aircraft Commander and Evaluation Instructor Pilot. He subsequently transitioned to the F-4 fighter and over the years held operational, staff, and command positions at squadron and wing levels in both F-4 and B-52 units. He was a Joint Specialty Officer (JSO) and served as a regional political-military affairs officer in the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also had tours in the headquarters staffs of Strategic Air Command, US Air Forces in Europe, and US Forces Command. At Forces Command, he was both the Senior Air Force representative and the J-5 (Director of Plans, Programs and Policy) where he supported Operation Just Cause (Panama), oversaw mobilization of all Army reserve components for Desert Shield/Desert Storm; led fiscal Operations & Maintenance (O&M) programming submissions in excess of $450 million annually for the largest military command in the Department of Defense; and coordinated all military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other civil authorities including homeland defense, disaster recovery and continuity of government missions.

His senior command experience included Commander of the 97th Bombardment Wing at Blytheville Air Force Base, AR, and Deputy Commander, Sixth Allied Tactical Air Force (NATO)/Senior US military officer in Turkey. Bruce was a command pilot with more than 4,900 flying hours in 13 different aircraft, primarily bombers and fighters, including 820 combat hours. He also held parachutist wings from the US Army and pilot wings from the Turkish Air Force.

In addition to his Bachelor of Science degree from the Air Force Academy, Bruce has a Master's degree with Honors in Public Administration from Auburn University. His leadership education within the Air Force included Air Command & Staff College, Air War College, and the Joint Warfighter Course.. Bruce also completed the National/International Program for Senior Executives, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Subsequent to the Air Force, he attended the Strategic Leadership Institute, Robert C. Goizueta Business School, Emory University and completed the Sandler Sales Institute Gold Course. He is a graduate of the New Orleans Emerging Civic Leaders Program, the Louisiana Center for Non-Profit Boards Certification and the San Antonio United Way Masters of Leadership (MLP) program.

Bruce serves on the National Board for the Order of Daedalians; the Board of Directors for the Returning Heroes Home (a wounded warriors support center) based at Ft Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX, the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind, and as Chairman of the Board for Air Force Villages, Inc., a non-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). He is a member of the San Antonio City Airport Advisory Commission. He also was the Chairman of the Daedalians Foundation, 2010-2014, on the Board for the Center for Strategic Studies in the Americas (CSSAM), a regional think tank 2006-2009 and a member of the Mayor's and Governor's Military Advisory Commissions of New Orleans and Louisiana respectively 1997-2000. He is a member of the Air Force Association, World Affairs Council of San Antonio, San Antonio Sports, Air Force Academy Association of Graduates Sabre Society, Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI), AOPA, Quiet Birdmen, and Rotary International. He and his wife, Suzanne, met while both were working at Ramstein AB, Germany. They have been happily married for over 30 years. Their blended family includes a son, Patrick Baughan (currently flying for Southwest Airlines and as a Reserve Lt Col IP in C-40s at Scott AFB) and two daughters, Heather Andrade and Robin Tenen (husband Keith) both in West Palm Beach, Florida. Patrick and his wife Beth have two children, Aidan and Ella. Heather and her husband Joey have two children, Tyler and Allison.

Bruce's father, Berkeley, was a longtime private pilot (flew continuously from 1927 until his 95th birthday in 2003) and early on fostered his son's interest in aviation. Bruce took his first flight at three and soloed at sixteen. As a teenager growing up in Northeast Iowa, he had no knowledge of the military so his vision of an aviation career really centered on escaping Iowa and someday flying for the airlines (to include traveling the world and associating with beautiful flight attendants). He soon discovered though that he needed a significant amount of flying hours to be hired as an airline pilot. Joining the military for rapid, free flying experience seemed the obvious answer … not realizing that actually getting into military flight school was highly competitive and first required a college degree. In 1959 he heard about a relatively new college called the “Air Force Academy.” He was told that, unlike through ROTC at other universities, it guaranteed any graduate physically qualified could get into flight school regardless of academic standing. Bruce naively submitted paperwork for an appointment. He knew nothing else about the Academy or the Air Force in general. Somehow he was lucky enough to obtain an appointment anyway.

The strong goal of one day becoming a USAF pilot and eventually flying for the airlines was probably what drove him to survive the huge shocks of military discipline and academic rigor that he encountered when he entered the Academy. The transition was definitely not easy. The four years at the Academy were a life altering experience and instilled mental, physical, moral and patriotic disciplines not particularly present when he entered. Obviously Bruce never got around to going to the airlines. He discovered that he loved the Air Force, its way of life and his comrades in arms far too much to really pursue anything else. Translation: “Why change when you are having fun?” His years at the Air Force Academy were the most challenging and probably most beneficial of his life. The core values of Service, Integrity and Excellence are ingrained and are lifetime tenants continuing to guide him long after Air Force retirement. The Academy shaped and prepared him for all that has come since. Fifty years from USAFA graduation and seventeen years after Air Force retirement, Bruce now finds himself firmly settled in San Antonio, Texas and primarily focused on non-profit (ie., non-paying) service, family travel and grandchildren. Not a bad life looking back.

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