Sory Smith was born in Clarksville, Tenn., in 1909. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy June 12, 1930, and was appointed a second lieutenant of Infantry. After completing flying training he was transferred to the Air Corps Dec. 22, 1931.
General Smith served with pursuit and bombardment groups and in staff positions in California, Louisiana and Hawaii prior to World War II. In August 1941, he was assigned as a member of the U.S. Military North African Mission in Cairo. A year later he joined the Ninth Air Force, serving with the command in Africa, the Middle East, England and on the continent throughout World War II.
After World War II, General Smith served with the Air Transport Command in Africa and in Europe for a year and a half. He returned to the United States in June 1947, and graduated from the Air War College in June 1948 when he was appointed executive to the Air Force chief of staff.
General Smith became deputy director of public relations, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force in February 1949. In May he was appointed director when the directorate was transferred to the Office of the Chief of Staff. He remained in that position until July 1954, during which time the directorate was transferred back to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force and successfully redesignated Office of Public Information and Office of Information Services.
In July 1954, General Smith activated and assumed command of Pacific Air Force in Hawaii. On July 1, 1956, General Smith was appointed commander, Pacific Air Force, Far East Air Force (Rear), with additional duty as deputy commander of Far East Air Force.
General Smith was appointed commander, Fourth Air Force, Continental Air Command, Aug. 23, 1957, with headquarters at Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, French Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre with palm, Belgian Croix de Guerre with palm and the Luxenbourg Croix de Guerre. He is rated a command pilot and technical observer.