Bo's Memoir

"Diligence is the Mother of Good Luck"

Ben Franklin

(Updated December 11th, 2018)

I have been asked several times over the years to write about some of my experiences (war stories) from my carrier jet pilot days. Recently, I heard a presentation by a ninety eight year old World War II P-47 Thunderbolt pilot who flew ground attack missions in support of General George Patton's 3rd Army operations in 1945. It turned out that he wrote a book about his experiences. I read his book and met with him about how he went about writing it. He used a co-author to put his book together and have it published.I thought this was great way to go about it so I communicated with his co-author about getting a paper back published to tell my story. However, it turned out to be too expensive. Besides, I really wasn't that interested in publishing abook for the general public anyway. My objective is to write my memoir to provide a historical record for my children and for the challenge of writing it.  So, I decided to publish it online as part of my personal website. A good aspect of putting it online is that people who read it can edit it for mistakes and let me know so I can fix them. I hope you will do so and let me know your recommendations by email at:

I am dedicating my memoir to Vice Admiral Jerry O. Tuttle US Navy Retired. I worked for Jerry Tuttle in my first squadron, Attack Squadron Fifteen (VA-15 VALions). I flew with him in combat operations in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967, and observed his leadership style over the years. I did my best during my naval career to follow his lead on how to solve problems and run a squadron or ship as Commanding Officer. Jerry passed away on October 30th, 2018.  My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Barbara at this difficult time. "JO" willl will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, March 14th after a Catholic Mass is given at the Fort Myer Post Chapel.  A reveption is planned at the Fort Myer Officer's Club after the burial. Most of the VA-15 (circa 1966/67) pilots, wives, ex-wives, and widows plan to be present. We also plan to hold a mini-reunion at ther Warriors Taproom in Virginia Braach March 15th and 16th.

There are a lot of people who contributed significantly to my life over the years. I plan to mention them during the writing of my story on how they positively affected my life. I am relying on my sister, Barbara, who recalls more details about our childhood together with our parents than I do.  Jeff Lapic was my best friend during junior high school and at Ridgewood High School, during our college years, and during our first few years in the Navy. In addition to VADM Tuttle, Captain Jerry L. "Possum" Terrell USN Ret. has been my shipmate and best friend for over fifty years (1965 to present). Possum has been with me at my best and worst times; always positive and supportive. Most of my fellow pilots in VA-15 (circa 1966/67) were outstanding officers, exeptional combat aviators and loyal shipmates. I continue to stay close to them through squadron reunions. One of these pilots, Gene Atkinson, and his wife Kay are great friends and my wife Diana and I enjoy spending time with them fishing or just hanging out at their home in Harkers Island, NC.  Captain Pete Schoeffel has become a close friend and I enjoy monthly conversations with him enroute to Navy luncheons.  Marianne and Lehman Barnes were colleagues during my Educator days and continue to be friends to this day.
My wife and I are members of the New Day JAX Church and we enjoy the fellowship, music, and message we experience with that group.

I have had three wives over the course of my life. All of them have been a significant factor in my life. My first wife Mary (1963-1978), is the mother of my first three daughters; Heather, Laura, and Stacy. My second wife Cathy (1978-2000), is the mother of my fourth and fifth daughters; Jessica and Lindsay. I have been married to my third wife Diana for ten years now (August 2008 to present). Diana makes me happy and keeps me on the "straight and narrow".

Diana and I live in Jacksonville Florida with our three Shih Tzu dogs; King Tut, Panda, and Bella and our cats; Gemini (orange tabby) and Ruby (American  Curl).
In addition to this memoir you can find additional  information on my website:

I began writing on the chapters starting on Ocober 1st, 2018.
I will activate the link to each chapter when I am in the process of writing each chapter.

Childhood through High School
Cornell University
Navy Flight Training

Reforming VA-15

October 1965-May 1966

First VA-15 Vietnam Deployment

USS Intrepid CV-11
Dixie Station/Yankee Station
(109 combat missions)
(June 1966- October 1966)
Workup and
Second VA-15 Vietnam Deployment
USS Intrepid CV-11
Yankee Station, Tonkin Gulf
(94 combat missions- total 203)
300 Total Intrepid Traps
(November 1966-November 1967)

US Air Force Exchange Tour

AT-33 Istructor/F4 Phantom
F105 Thunderchief Instructor Pilot
(March 1968-March 1970)
VA-82 A7 Corsair Tour
Maintenance Department Head
(April 1970-December 1972) Two deployments onboard USS America CV-66 including
Third Vietnam Combat Deployment
Yankee Station, Tonkin Gulf
Strike Division Leader
(June 1972-December 1972)
(102 combat missions-Total 305)
(Total 511 combat flight hours)

Royal Air Force Staff College

Bracknell, Barkshire, England
(January 1973-February 1974)
Norfolk, Virginia
(March 1974- February 1976)
A7 Class Desk Officer
Aide and Flag Lieutenant
VA-15 XO and Commanding Officer
USS America CV-66 Med Deployment
(Dec 1977-April 1979)
Ford Island, Oahu, Hawaii
Air Training Officer
(May 1979-February 1981)
Commanding Officer VA-174
NAS Cecil Field
Jacksonville, Florida
(March 1981-July 1982)
Total USS America Traps-600
Idaho Falls Ship Material Course
(Feb 1983-June 1983)
Executive Officer USS Saratoga (CV-60)
Med Deployment

Commanding Officer USS Austin (LPD-4)
(May 1986-May 1988)
Med Deployment-May 86-Nov 86
Northern Wedding/Med Deployment

Chief of Staff

USS Eisenhower CV-69 Deployment
Operations Officer
COMORANGE- 7th Fleet
Atsugi, Japan
Desert Shield (Aug-Sep 1990)
Retired as Captain US Navy
July 31st, 1991

Total Tactical Jet Hours- 4060
Total CV Landings- 980
Total Combat Missions- 305
  Nine Deployments


Terry Parker High School
University of North Florida
Florida Space Research Institute
(September 1991-May 2007)

Blue Ridge Mountains
Bo's Mine Tours

December 2008-December 2016
Current Retirement Activities
Golden Eagles, RETCAPTS, ANA
Cornell University
CAAAN Chairperson
Cornell Club President (2018-present)
Bo's Jewelry/JGMS

Website Created by Robert S. "Bo" Smith

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