Perry M. Smith

Perry M. Smith

Perry M. Smith is a teacher, author and TV and radio commentator. It was recently announced that he will be inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 18, 2020.

A retired major general, Smith served for 30 years in the U. S. Air Force. During his military career he commanded an F-15 fighter wing in Germany, served as the top Air Force planner, and was commandant of the National War College. During the Vietnam War. Smith flew 180 combat missions in F-4 aircraft over Laos and North Vietnam.

Born into a military family at West Point, Smith traveled extensively throughout his youth. He watched the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at age six (he was on the way to Sunday School in the back of an Army truck that fateful morning). Immediately after Word War II, he lived in Italy where his father served in the British-American military government of Italy. After attending twelve schools in this country and overseas, he graduated from Highland Falls High School in New York in 1952.

He graduated from the U. S. Military Academy in 1956. At West Point, he played intercollegiate lacrosse. After his senior year, he was named as a member of the second team All American lacrosse team. Smith later earned his Ph.D. in International Relations from Columbia University. His dissertation earned the Helen Dwight Reid award from the American Political Science Association in 1968. He has written six books including Assignment Pentagon, Rules and Tools for Leaders (recently updated with co-author, Gen. Jeffrey Foley) and  most recently Courage, Compassion, Marine: The Unique Story of Jimmie Dyess. Rules and Tools for Leaders, with over 300,000 copies in print, is Smith’s most successful book.

He served as CNN’s military analyst from 1991 until he resigned in protest over CNN’s 1998 bogus nerve gas special (the Valley of Death). He later served on contract with NBC, MSNBC, CBS TV and CBS radio. He is a frequent op-ed contributor to the Augusta Chronicle.

Perry was recently honored with a special section of the Augusta Museum of History being named for him.

Perry was recently honored with a special section of the Augusta Museum of History being named for him.

Smith assisted in the editing and marketing of the book, Medal of Honor, by Peter Collier. This best selling book profiles the remarkable life stories of our living Medal of Honor recipients. This book includes a 90 minute DVD narrated by Brian Williams. The 3red edition of this book was published in October, 2011. It contains the life stories of recipients from World War II to the War on Terror.

Smith spends much of his time teaching corporate executives, MBA scholars, government and military leaders, church groups and non-profits. His subjects include leadership, ethics, strategic planning, heroism, innovation and dealing with the media. He has been an enrichment speaker for Crystal Cruises since 1992. Smith has lived in Thailand, Germany, France, Italy and Turkey and his travels has taken him to more than one hundred nations.

Since moving to Augusta in 1990, he has been active in community activities including raising funds for the river rooms of Saint Paul’s Church, the new Fisher House, the Kroc Center, the Boy Scouts, the Heritage Academy and the Augusta Museum of History. A former board member of the Augusta Kiwanis Club, he has been an effective recruiter of new members. Recently, the club, in recognition of his leadership, presented him with the George Barrett Award. Smith serves as  president emeritus of the board of trustees for the Augusta Museum of History and served on the board of the Augusta Warrior Project from 2006 until 2016.

The General Perry Smith Parkway was dedicated in his honor in 2011. Completed in 2016, this parkway is adjacent to the Augusta Regional Airport.

In 2018, Perry received an award from Emory University: the Distinguished Lecturer in Global Business award. He is the first person to receive this award. For more than twenty years, Perry has conducted leadership workshops for three separate audiences at Emory’s Goizueta Business School: Executive MBA, MBA and BBA scholars.

Smith is married to the former Connor Cleckley Dyess. Connor is the daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Dyess, US Marine Corps–the only person to have earned America’s two highest awards for heroism, the Medal of Honor and the Carnegie Medal. The Smiths have two children and four grandchildren.