Foster "Lee" Smith, 83, an Air Force major general who was assistant deputy chief of staff for plans and operations at Air Force headquarters, died of heart disease Oct. 7 at the Hermitage in Alexandria.
Gen. Smith was born on a farm near Durant, Okla. He attended Southeastern State College in Durant before graduating on D-Day, June 6, 1944, from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps and served in heavy bomber organizations in the United States until after the war. He was then transferred to Germany, where he was a pilot in the Berlin Airlift.
His career spanned 30 years and included serving as Air Force aide to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Omar N. Bradley, in the early 1950s.
As a fighter pilot with the 4th Fighter Group in Korea, Gen. Smith flew 112 combat missions, during which he destroyed four enemy MiG fighter aircraft and shared credit for another.
In 1955, he commanded the Air Force's first supersonic fighter squadron at George Air Force Base in California. He also was instrumental in converting some aircraft to give them air-to-air refueling capability, enabling their rapid transoceanic deployment from U.S. bases.
After four years at Air Force headquarters in the War Plans Division and duty as secretary to the Air Force chief of staff for Joint Chiefs of Staff Matters, Gen. Smith earned a master's degree from Harvard University in 1962. He served three years as chief of war plans for the U.S. Air Force in Europe.
During the Vietnam War, he was assigned as vice commander of the 3rd Fighter Wing to Bien Hoa Air Base, from where he flew 160 combat missions. He returned to the United States as a member of the staff group of Gen. Earle G. Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
After being promoted to brigadier general, he served as deputy director of operations for the National Military Command Center and chief of the Far East Division (J-5), Joint Staff, and was promoted to major general shortly afterward.
Assigned as director of plans and policy at the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, Gen. Smith coordinated all U.S. nuclear war planning in Europe under the auspices of the NATO supreme allied commander.
After retiring in 1975, he was employed by Science Applications International Corp. and the Titan Corp., and later he operated his own consulting company, TOPAL Associates International.
Survivors include his wife of nearly 60 years, Audrey Smith of Alexandria; three children, Paula Smith of Falls Church, Lynn DellaGuardia of Boulder, Colo., and Todd P. Smith of Austin; and five grandchildren.