Robert W. 'Bob' Smothers

Profile Updated: September 7, 2016
Class of 1940
Residing In: La Jolla, CA USA
Spouse/Partner: Hazel Lucille Ramos Smothers
Children, Grandchildren: Three children, Kerry Jean Freeman, David Arthur Smothers (deceased), Elizabeth Ann Powell; eight grandchildren, More…three great grandchildren, three step children, Linda Ann Flinders (deceased), Gerry Jordan, John Michael Johnson; seven step grandchildren (one deceased), eight step great grandchildren.
Military Service: US Army Air Corps & U.S. Air Force  
Occupation: United States Air Force & Engineering Admin.
Facebook Name or Page:

Robert Smothers

Occupation/Career(s) Details:

After graduating from SPSMHS I attended the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for three years but in 1943 was called into the Army, before graduation, with the rest of my class of 1944.
I did Army cavalry basic training (mechanized) at Fort Riley, Kansas, earned gunner wings at Kingman Airfield, Arizona and navigator wings and my 2nd Lt. commission at Ellington Airfield, Texas. After B-17 crew training at Dyerberg, TN my crew joined the 8th Air Force in England and flew B-17 combat missions over Germany with the 452nd Bomb Group until WWII ended.

Out of the service I entered Stanford University, joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and earned a BS and MS degree in Civil Engineering. I went to work for the engineering department of Standard Oil of California but in 1950 was recalled to active duty for the Korean War. Subsequently I received a "regular" commission and made the Air Force a career. During the Korean War I flew 101 combat rescue missions with the 3rd Air Rescue Squadron a few out of Japan but mostly out of Korea. I then spent a couple of years based at McClellan Air Force Base navigating the Pacific before being reassigned to the Air Force's Civil Engineering component.

I served world wide, in a variety of engineering assignments, including commanding the Civil Engineering Squadron at Bitburg Air Base, Germany, in charge of design of the Titan I ICBM facilities for the Ballistic Missile Division, as staff officer 13th Air Force in the Phillippines, and staff assignments with Headquarters MACV, during the Vietnam war and Hqs USAFE, Germany during the cold war.

I retired in 1971 with the rank of Colonel.

Awards included the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal w/4 OLC, Meritorious Service Medal with OLC and Joint Service Commendation Medal.

Out of the service I obtained my California Professional Engineer license and continued working, first for seven years with the County of San Diego, as Director of Facility Maintnance and then Director, General Services. For the next fourteen years i was Vice President, Director of General Services for Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, California.

It was de'-ja' vu when Pacific Architects & Engineers hired me, in 1992, to be Chief Engineer for the US Air Force at Iraklion Air Station, Crete, Greece and then from 1993 to 1997 as the Base Civil Engineer at Moro'n Air Base, Spain.
Afterwards I went back again from 1999 to 2002 to do the same for J. A. Jones company at Moron.

Different places I have lived:

England (5 months) Germany (6 years), Greece/Crete (4 months), Spain (7 years), Japan (3 years), Korea (1 year), Vietnam (1 year), Phillipines (4 months), Alabama (2 years), California

Family history living in South Pasadena:

Lived in San Marino. Parents moved there in 1928. Dad worked for Standard Oil of California. They sold their San Marino home in 1965 and moved to a retirement home in San Diego.

They had two children both of whom attended and graduated from SPSM High School.

Family members who also went to SPHS:

My sister Martha Marie Abernethy Smothers (Spence) SPSMHS Class of 1933

Other SPHS graduates I keep in touch with:

Bruce Wood, Philip (Bud) Putnam, Dickie Sheahan, Barbara Jean Thompson (Martin) Fran Thurman (Fisk) all Class of 1940

What's happening in my life now:

I've been doing genealogy since 2002 and have published books on our families: "The Abernethy Clan" and "The Smothers Family". With Hazel we have jointly done "The Raminha & Furtado Families" and "The da Costa Ramos Family". I have also written my bio, titled "My Flight", as well as Hazel's bio titled, "Whirley Girl", (She was a helicopter pilot), Nani & Howdy" (a book about my parents) and "My Great Great Grandfathers of the American Revolution. (about my six direct ancestors that fought in the American Revolution.)

Pastimes & Hobbies:

Genealogy, tennis, walking, dancing, travel. Formerly sailing and skiing!!

Favorite Music, Songs, Bands

Hazel and I love to dance to big band, swing and jitterbug music. In April 2009 we were surprised but delighted to win a big band dancing contest on the US Midway aircraft carrier in San Diego Bay. The 1940s big band dinner dance and dance contest was held again on the USS Midway on Nov 11, 2010. Hazel and I were delighted to take 2nd place. Heck we are delighted just to still be dancing!!!

Robert W. 'Bob''s Recent Comments

Sep 03, 2015 at 4:10 PM

That Old Gang of Mine. Top Row Bob Daigh, Reed Moore, Bruce Wood, Bottom Row.
David Ryan, Bob Smothers, Bud Putnam. All SPSMHS Class of 1940, except David who was 1941. Here we are in 1942 meeting at Maria's for our annual get together. Later we all served in WWII, Bob Daigh, Navy; Reed Moore and Bruce Wood Merchant Marine, David Ryan, Army Air Force; Bob Smothers, Army Air Force and Bud Putnam, Navy.

Sep 22, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Doing the Argentine Tango with Mei. Sept. 2014.

Posted: Sep 07, 2016 at 8:28 AM
FRENCH LEGION OF HONOR AWARD. Mr. Christophe Lemon, Consul General of France is presenting me with the French Legion of Honor for distinguished service in France during WWII. Presentation was made at San Diego Veterans Museum on July 26, 2016
Posted: Sep 07, 2016 at 8:28 AM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 9:26 PM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 9:26 PM
Posted: Aug 09, 2015 at 12:04 PM
Posted: Aug 09, 2015 at 12:03 PM
Posted: Aug 09, 2015 at 12:01 PM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 9:26 PM
Winners of the 1940s Big Band Dance Contest on the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum. San Diego, April 2009