Francis O. Smith began flying lessons in 1933 and earned his pilot’s license in 1935. On January 2, 1942 he joined the Army Air Corps Ferrying Command as a civilian pilot, then was commissioned as an officer on July 14, 1942. He served as a Hump Pilot during World War II. A Hump pilot was a pilot that flew over the Himalayas, from India to China, during World War II. He received many awards, including the Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, Air Medal with oak leaf clusters, and others. He was honorably discharged from the army on January 15, 1946.
After his service, he was employed by the Federal Aviation Agency in February 1962 and worked there until he retired on July 31, 1946. Smith died on May 18, 1998, in Sacramento, California due to cancer.
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