Bainbridge native retires from Air Force, gets flag flown in areaPublished 11:06pm Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Bainbridge native Air Force Master Sergeant Chad Smith will officially retire from the Air Force in 2014, but this Veteran’s Day his family got to celebrate his retirement from service slightly early.
Smith had a flag fly over the Decatur County Commissioner’s Office Monday where his mother, father, sister and nephews were able to honor his service, though Smith is hours away in Colorado.
Smith’s flag over the course of the week flew over Bainbridge High School by the cadets of the Junior ROTC program, the Decatur County Courthouse and on the downtown square in Willis Park.
“It was a rewarding and heart warming experience to see a flag for Chad,” Smith’s mother Patricia Smith said. “I have always honored a flag, but needless to say, you take that second look and it’s not just Chad you think about — it’s everybody — all military branches and they deserve it. They gave it all and they are still giving it all.”
Chad’s parents Patricia and Charles said they are happy to have he and his family move closer following his retirement. Smith is married to the former Lora Aldridge of Thomasville, Georgia. They have one child, Charlie, who is 7-years-old.
Col. Gary Breedlove flew the flag over the commission building and other locations for Smith. Though Smith was not one of Breedlove’s ROTC students, Smith is thinking about becoming an ROTC instructor upon his return home.
Smith began his Air Force career in 1994 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas where he went through basic military training. Upon graduation from training and technical training at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, he was transferred to his first duty assignment at the 3rd Space Operations Squadron at Falcon Air Force Base where he commanded and controlled constellations of communication satellites until 1996. In 1997, he was transferred to the 12th Space Warning Squadron, Thule Air Base, Greenland, where he performed and instructed missile-warning duties. From Thule, he was transferred Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. where he performed and instructed space surveillance. In 2001, he went to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. At Vandenberg, he was assigned to three units. His first assignment there was with the 533rd Training Squadron as an air education and training command instructor, teaching missile warning and space surveillance to hundreds of military students, both American and Canadian. In 2008, Smith was transferred to Headquarters United States Pacific Command, Honolulu, Hawaii, where he performed and instructed missile warning and missile defense duties. His last and current assignment is back at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, this time with the 4th Space Operations Squadron, where he is the Operations Flight Chief, and manages a force of 60 operators.