“Oral History, recorded 4-08-88”
[Snuffy talking into recorder held by Lou Ives]
[Tell] any kind of stuff about what? The time I left home? [I was never an AvCad.] I went straight into Midshipmen. I was … in High School …
Neale … Neale Smith … most people call me Snuffy Smith. Class 8-48. 1948. [And] Bill Frith, here, who's just walking up to .e, he'll be next on this [tape] machine.
Frith: Who'm I taking to? Smith: This is a tape recorder tor information.
Bill and I met coming down on the train. I'd gotten on the train at Akron, Ohio, at about midnight.
Frith: I got in [at] Cincinnati about … Smith: They don't know who you are, either. Frith: Tell me who I am … Smith: You gotta … you gotta wait until I'm done telling all my stuff, and then you tell all your stuff. Frith: O.k., go ahead.
Smith: Otherwise they won't know which one is which … O.k., I'll start allover. Snuffy Smith. Real name Neale Smith. Class 8-48 Baker. I joined the Aviation Midshipman Program in April of 1946. l was still in High School when I went up to Detroit [and] passed the tests. My Dad took me down to the … train station to go down to Pensacola in 1948. His last comment to me was, “Well, if your Mom and I knew you were smart enough to pass that test, we'd never signed those papers. But, I guess you don’t have to kill yourself. ‘
That was forty years ago, two days ago, April the sixth, that we started Preflight. And, from there I went to Fighter Squadron (Twenty) Two--after I got … received my wings in November of '49. And, I was in Fighter Squadron (Forty) Two for, I believe, just under two years. And, I transferred to Fighter Squadron One Seventy One. Stayed in Fighter Squadron One Seventy One until January of '53.
Went to the training command in February of '53 and stayed in until April of '54, at which time 1 resigned my regular commission, got out of the Navy, and started out to be a veterinarian.
Around [that] summer, a friend talked me into going out and working for (Reed Pialla), an old aviation pioneer. And, worked for him through the summer. And, he talked me into going with United Air Lines. And, I stayed with United Air Lines up until this month, when I retire in another sixteen days.
I'll pass this on to Bill Frith, who's sitting beside me. He also is Class 8-48 Baker. Here, Bill. Give them a whirl about you.
Frith: About time you gave this to me, Snuffy.