LEIGHTON W. SMITH, JR.
ADMIRAL, UNITED STATES NAVY (RETIRED)
Leighton W. Smith, Jr. was born in Mobile, Alabama, graduated from the Naval Academy with the Class of 1962 and received his wings in January 1964. He retired from active service in October 1996 with the rank of Admiral.
As a naval aviator, Smith flew carrier based, light attack jet aircraft during multiple deployments to the Mediterranean, North Atlantic, Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. These included three cruises in waters off North Vietnam where he flew over 280 combat missions. Smith, who has commanded at sea at all levels in the aviation community to include squadron, wing, aircraft carrier and Carrier Battle Group, has logged over 4,200 flying hours and 1000 carrier arrested landings. His early flag officer tours were Director for Operations, U. S. European Command, (1989-1991) and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operations, (1991-1994). Appointed to four star rank in April 1994, he became Commander in Chief, U. S Naval Forces Europe and Commander in Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe (1994-1996). In December of 1995, he assumed, concurrently, command of the NATO led Implementation Force, (IFOR) in Bosnia, a position he held until August 1996.
Smith’s military awards include two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, three Legion of Merits, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Meritorious Service Medals, and 29 Air Medals. He has also received the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, the French Order of National Merit with the rank of Grand Officer and, in March 1997, was made an Honorary Knight of the British Empire in a private audience with Her Majesty the Queen.
Among his several endeavors Smith served as a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Naval Analysis and President of Leighton Smith Associates. He is and/or was a member of several Boards of Trustees or Directors of both charitable institutions and major corporations and is a former Chairman of both the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation Board of Trustees and the US Naval Academy Alumni Association Board of Trustees. In 2004, Admiral Smith was a appointed by President George W. Bush the US Naval Academy Board of Visitors. In 2007, he was selected as a Distinguished Graduate of the US Naval Academy, that institutions most prestigious award..