Perry Smith is a teacher, speaker, TV / radio commentator & best-selling author. Millions of tv viewers world-wide came to know him during the Persian Gulf War for his more than 100 appearances as a military analyst for Cable News Network, McNeil-Lehrer News Hour & NBC news.
Retired Major General Smith served for 30 years in the U.S. Air Force. During his career he had leadership experiences, including command of the F-15 fighter wing at Bitburg, Germany where he provided leadership to 4000 personnel. Later, he served as the top Air Force planner and as the commandant of the National War College. Smith’s total number of flying hours as a pilot, mostly in fighter aircraft: F-84, F-100, F-4 and F-15, is 3400. He flew 180 combat missions in North Vietnam and Laos during the Vietnam War. He was a member of the following fighter squadrons, 10th, 615th, 612th, 555th and the following fighter wings. 50th, 401st, 432nd and 36th. Smith is the recipient of two distinguished flying crosses, ten air medals and the bronze star. Other awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Distinguished Service Medal and two Legions of Merit.
Born into a military family at West Point in 1934, Smith travelled extensively. On 7 Dec 1941, he was on the way to church in the back of an Army truck. At 7:50am that morning, the truck was stopped at the main gate of an Army post near Honolulu. Six year old Perry witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor as the truck raced around Honolulu returning the children to their homes.
A graduate from West Point, he 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. At West Point, he played on the varsity lacrosse team—earning All American honors (second team) his senior year.
Smith has made presentations on leadership, strategic planning & ethics for Harvard's Kennedy School, Chautauqua Institution, Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, Texas Instruments, Intel, WK Kellogg Foundation, Microsoft, Augusta University, and Goizueta Business School at Emory University. He has conducted workshops on executive leadership for the governors of 3 states and the mayor of Detroit. Smith gives keynote addresses at conventions & conferences. Since 1992, he has been an enrichment lecturer and celebrity speaker on Crystal Cruises.
Smith’s published books include Rules and Tools for Leaders, Assignment Pentagon, and Courage, Compassion, Marine: The Unique Story of Jimmie Dyess. The latter book is a biography of the only person to have earned America's two highest awards for heroism, the Medal of Honor and the Carnegie Medal. Smith produced a 60 minute video, Twice a Hero: The Jimmie Dyess Story.
In 2016 he produced a 55 min DVD, When Duty Calls: The Life and Legacy of Don Holleder. Holleder was killed in combat in 1967 and was the recipient of the Soldiers Medal & the Distinguished Service Cross.
With over 350,000 copies in print, Rules and Tools for Leaders is his most popular book. A guide for leaders, this book contains rules of thumb and 25 checklists on how to hire, fire, plan, deal with the media, give compliments, run meetings, make decisions, provide counseling, check organizational ethics, transition into a new job, etc. After he was interviewed on the Today Show, this book reached #2 on the amazon.com bestseller list. The 4th edition was published in Aug, 2013. Army brigadier general Jeff Foley is the co-author of the newest edition. Assignment Pentagon, the only substantive guide on how to operate in the Pentagon, is also in its 4th edition.
Smith’s relationship with CNN ended on June 14, 1998, when he resigned over an issue of integrity. Later he served on contract as a military commentator for NBC, CBS and CBS radio.
In 2016, The General Perry Smith Parkway near the Augusta Regional Airport was completed. Smith received this honor largely because of his fund-raising efforts on behalf of Saint Paul’s Church, the regional Boy Scouts, Augusta Museum of History, Augusta Warrior Project, Fisher House, Heritage Academy, Westminster Schools and Christ Community Health Services.
In 1959, Smith married the former Connor Cleckley Dyess, the daughter of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Dyess. Connor was eight years old when her father was killed in the Marshall Islands in 1944. The Smith’s have two children and three grandchildren.