Colonel Erin D. “Ed” Smith, USMC(Ret)

27 July 1929-22 April 2017

Carlsbad – Colonel Ed Smith passed away peacefully at his residence in Carlsbad on Saturday, April 22, 2017. Ed was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma to Erin Lewis Smith and Mayme Velma Smith in 1928.

He was a graduate of  Chickasha High School and would later go on to continue his education at the University of Oklahoma while serving in ROTC, graduating with an Engineering degree in 1950.  At graduation, he became a commisioned officer in the USMC.  He went on to earn two Masters degrees in Engineering, one from University of Oklahoma and the other from the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California.  He also went to take courses towards a PhD from the Univerisity of Southern California.

As a Marine, Ed completed the Basic Officers Course and Basic Engineer Officers course in 1951, along with completing Naval Aviation Flight Training in 1955. During his 31 year career in the Marines, Ed had numerous deployments and duty stations, to include combat deployments to Korea, Lebanon, and Vietnam. While deployed,  he earned many awards and decorations, among them the Bronze Star with “V” in Korea. His career as a pilot led him to fly A-4 “Skyhawk’s” among various other aircraft, and it was while flying A-4s as Commanding Officer of VMA-223 “Bulldogs,” that he deployed to Vietnam in 1968, earning 16 Single Mission Air Medals.

Ed met and married Jo Anne Creech in 1949, and had two sons, Daniel and Fred.   After Jo Anne’s passing, he married his second wife Kathryn Choate in 1966 in Las Vegas. They had two sons, Michael and Matthew. Ed’s Marine career took the family to various locations.  They lived in Beaufort, South Carolina, and Arlington, Virginia, before moving to Ridgecrest, California in 1971, where Ed served as the Marine Corps Liaison Officer at China Lake Naval Weapons Center. The family moved in 1975 and lived in Virginia and Hawaii for a time before returning to Ridgecrest in 1979, where Ed retired from the Marine Corps in 1981.

Following his career in the Marines, Ed worked with a number of Defense contractors in Ridgecrest, primarily with CSC and Comarco until his final retirement in the 1990s. 

Ed was an avid fan of country music, football and fishing - taking his sons on various fishing trips throughout the years. Additionally, he was a self-taught mechanic and carpenter, always finding projects to occupy his time, much to the chagrin of Kathryn.

Throughout his life, Ed was a loyal, honest, and humble husband, father, friend, and Marine, and he was loved by all that knew him. He will be sorely missed.

Ed is predeceased by his brothers Lewis and Gene, his first wife Jo Anne, second wife, Kathryn and eldest son Daniel.   Ed is survived by his brother Don and his wife Helen and their family, son Fred and his wife Peggy, and sons Michael and Matthew, along with grandchildren, Sean, Christopher, Emily, Alex, and Ashleigh Erin.

Services will be held for Ed at the Evans-Brown Mortuary, 27010 Encanto Drive, Sun City, California, on Friday, 5 May at 12:00pm followed by military honors at the Riverside National Cemetery at 2:00pm.