Retired Air Force Gen. Frederic H. Smith, 71, who led a fighter group in the Pacific in World War II and who was vice chief of staff of the Air Force when he retired in 1962, died at his home in San Antonio, Tex., Wednesday following a heart attack.

Gen. Smith, the son of an Army officer, was born at Fort Monroe, Va. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1929 and earned his pilot's wings a year later. His assignments prior to World War II included two tours of duty in the Panama Canal Zone.

In the war, he led the 8th Pursuit Group in the Southwest Pacific. He later held a number of staff appointments in the United States, England and again in the Pacific, where he directed the Fifth Fighter Command.

From 1946 to 1950, he was stationed in Washington. He was chief of staff of the Stategic Air Command at Andrews Air Force Base, National Commander of the Civil Air Patrol, chief of the requirements division at Air Force headquarters and then assistant for programming in the office of the deputy chief of staff for operations.

Subsequently, Gen. Smith commanded the Fifth Air Force in Japan and was commander of U.S. forces in Japan. In 1958, he was appointed commander of the Air Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. In 1959 he took command of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He was named vice chief of staff of the Air Force in 1961 and held that position until his retirement a year later.

His decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. He also held the Legion of Merit and the Air Medal.

He was a former board member and president of the Air Force Village Foundation.

Survivors include his wife, Martha K. Smith, of San Antonio, and three sons, Air Force Col. Frederic H. Smith, of Langley Air Force Base, Va., Navy Lt. Janvier K. Smith, of Charleston, S.C., and James C. Smith of St. Petersburg, Fla.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Air Force Village Foundation, 4917 Ravenswood Dr., San Antonio, Texas, 78227.