Monday, April 25, 2011

Colonel Roger J. Smith

F-15 Streak Eagle pilots (from left) Maj. W.R. Macfarlane, Maj. Roger Smith and Maj. Dave Peterson.

Colonel Roger J. Smith, as the first Air Force pilot assigned to the F-15 program, was responsible for much of the early development and testing of the F-15. A tactical fighter pilot in F-100, F-105, A-37 and F-15 aircraft, Colonel Smith flew 203 combat missions over Southeast Asia. He graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in 1965. Returning to Edwards AFB in 1969 after his combat tour, Smith was the first USAF pilot assigned to the F-15 program. Serving as Deputy Test Director until 1975, he was the ninth overall pilot to fly the Eagle and attained several firsts as well. Project Streak Eagle set all eight world time-to-climb records and was the result of a proposal instigated and directed by Smith and performed by him along with two other test pilots. Colonel Smith took the F-15 to Bitburg Air Base in Germany, where he commanded the first F-15 squadron in Europe from 1977 to 1979. Retiring as Director of Flight Test at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, he completed his career with Sverdrup Technology at Eglin AFB in Florida as their Deputy Director of Test and Evaluation. Colonel Smith is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and recipient of the Mackay Trophy in 1975. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Air Medal with 19 Oak Leaf Clusters. He has logged more than 6,000 hours in over 45 types of aircraft.