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Loran Smith, Vietnam

Brooklyn-born Loran Smith joined the Air Force in 1952. He spent time in the South as a Tuskegee Airman before the Civil Rights movement and later flew hundreds of combat missions in Vietnam. 

Second generation, Tuskegee Airman, Loran Smith grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Loran enlisted in the Air Force in 1952 and was sent to Montgomery, Alabama for basic training. This was a real eye opener for Loran.

The Air Force was frustrated and concerned that many pilots were losing their lives when they ejected from their planes. Loran became an ejection seat trainer. This program turned things around. Without training, pilots had a 95% fatality rate. With training, pilots had a 95% survival rate.

Loran flew 266 combat missions during the Vietnam War.