Distinguished Alumnus
Class of 2018

Lt. Col. Edmund P. Smart
(September 11, 1934 - February 22, 2018)

AHS Class of 1952

Lt. Col. Ed Smart’s distinguished military career as a decorated U.S. Air Force pilot and as an honored leader in civil aviation spanned the half century following his 1952 Arcola High School graduation.

Edmund Pierce Smart was born September 11, 1934, in Royal Oak, MI, the first of three children of Edmund and Madeline K. Pierce Smart. The Smart family relocated to Hindsboro, IL, and Ed began his freshman year at Oakland High School. The family then moved to Arcola in 1949. Ed’s father was employed at US Industrial Chemical Co. at Tuscola and his mother taught first grade at Arcola Elementary School. At Arcola High School, Ed was Junior Class President, a Boy’s State representative and also held offices in both Camera Club and FFA. He participated in track, chorus and the junior class play, was a member of the Arco-Lite staff and lettered as a guard in football.

Following his 1952 high school graduation, Ed enlisted in the US Air Force on April 3, 1953, and received a commission as second lieutenant with “distinguished graduate” recognition at Laredo Air Force Base, TX, on June 15, 1955. After completing flight school, he was stationed at Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta, GA, where he met Valdosta State University senior Amanda Sheffield on a blind date. Ed and Amanda were then married April 13, 1958. During the years 1957-1962, Ed piloted B-47 bombers at McConnell, Schilling and Forbes Air Force Bases in Kansas. Their son, E. Scott, was born in 1959 while the Smarts were at McConnell AFB at Wichita, KS. He was then at Laughlin AFB, TX, and Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, where he piloted U-2 reconnaissance aircraft 1962-1967. Their second son, Eric, was born in 1963 while the Smarts were stationed at Laughlin AFB. During the years 1967-1971, Ed was Chief of U-2 Operations at Strategic Air Command headquarters at Offutt AFB in Nebraska, with temporary duty to the United Nations/US Forces headquarters in Seoul, South Korea in 1970. He was with NATO’s Air South, headquartered in Naples, Italy 1971-1974, and was then commanding officer of the 343rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Offutt AFB in Nebraska 1974-1977. While in Nebraska, Ed completed his History degree in 1976 as an honors graduate at Bellevue University. He was also a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, an officer’s educational institution for leadership positions in national security.

During his twenty-four year career in the United States Air Force, Ed flew a variety of trainer, fighter, interceptor, bomber, transport, tanker, reconnaissance, executive jet and prop aircraft. During the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam War, he piloted the U-2 “Dragon Lady” high altitude reconnaissance aircraft. In that capacity, he was awarded two Meritorious Service Medals and received the Air Medal eight times. Ed also held the Joint Services and Air Force Commendation Medal, as well as campaign medals and unit awards for Vietnam Service, National Defense Service, Air Force Longevity, Air Force Outstanding Unit and Good Conduct. Lt. Col. Smart, a command-rated and multi-engine pilot, retired as Commander of the 343rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Offutt AFB in Nebraska in September 1977.

At the time of his retirement from the US Air Force, Ed and Amanda relocated to Plattsburgh, NY. He was then employed by the United Kingdom based International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations. While with IFALPA, he served as the airline pilot representative of 65 nations at the United Nations’ civil aviation affiliate, the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal. Ed also sat on the 15-member Air Navigation Commission, which managed all the development and implementation of the international standards for technical, safety and security provisions for civil aviation worldwide. In this position, he was deeply involved in the investigation, conflict resolution and remedial action phases of several civil air transport-related international events, such as aircraft hijackings, the shootdowns of Korean Airlines Flight 007 and the Iranian Airbus, as well as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States. Upon his retirement from IFALPA in December 2002, Ed was awarded the prestigious Collins Safety Award and also the IFALPA Presidential Citation in Auckland, New Zealand, in recognition of his achievements on behalf of civil aviation.

In his retirement, Ed continued to be involved in the global aviation community through his many worldwide contacts with both military and civilian aviators. His exceptional service to civil aviation was recognized with his membership to Alpha Omega Club. He volunteered locally at the food pantry and also assisted patients at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh. Ed was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Plattsburgh for nearly forty years and greatly enjoyed the time he was able to spend with his four grandsons in his retirement.

Ed and Amanda shared nearly sixty years together before his passing on February 22, 2018. He is also survived by his sons and grandsons, as well as two sisters, Janet Mauck and Ann Smart, who also attended Arcola schools. Ed was interred at the Saratoga National Cemetery at Schuylerville, NY.

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Last Revision September 27, 2018