Smith entered the Air Force as a graduate of Officer Training School, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in January 1967. He achieved his current rank in 1994 when he was promoted to major general. As a career logistics officer, he has served in virtually every level in the aircraft maintenance field to include commanding three maintenance squadrons. Over the last decade, he has served as a deputy commander for maintenance where his unit was selected as the "Best in the Air Force and the Department of Defense." Additionally, he served as director of maintenance at Ogden Air Logistics Center, Utah; executive director for quality assurance for the Defense Logistics Agency; Cameron Station, Alexandria, Virginia; director of logistics for the Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois; and most recently, director of logistics for Air Force Material Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
His Air Force assignments have placed him in 12 different states from Texas to New Hampshire over the last 30 years. During this time, he has served in a variety of leadership capacities. He served as commander, 43rd Field and Organizational Maintenance Squadron, then as assistant deputy commander for Maintenance, 43rd Strategic Wing at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam for three years (1979-82). During 1971, the captain served as officer-in-charge, Bomber Branch, U-Tapeo Royal Air Force Base, Thailand. For this meritorious service, he was honored with the Bronze Star Medal in 1972. Upon the receipt of this award, he was commended: "The outstanding professionalism, leadership and ability with which Captain Smith discharged his duties and responsibilities proved to be instrumental to allied efforts in Southeast Asia. Captain Smith's personal drive and determination to accomplish the mission in the face of all obstacles have aided in the eventual realization of Peace and Freedom in that area."
In 1987, Colonel Smith was recognized for commendable service as deputy commander for maintenance, Griffiss Air Force Base, New York, with the Legion of Merit, the Navy's fifth ranking decoration. His citation included the statement, "His technical expertise, leadership, and demand for quality maintenance were direct factors in the . . . record setting performance. The passion for excellence displayed by Colonel Smith was installed in his people, and they responded by being named Best in Strategic Air Command, Best in the Air Force, and Best in the Department of Defense." Smith received a second Legion of Merit for his service at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, where he was stationed from 1988 until 1991. "During this period, General Smith's . . . proactive efforts on the battle staff during Operation DESERT STORM provided one thousand seven-hundred and seventy-five items supporting eight major weapon systems to get where they were needed, producing wartime mission capable rates . . . Without missing a beat, his directorate won the Air Force and Air Force Logistics Command Maintenance Effectiveness Awards for the best aircraft production rates in history. His continual focus on quality and process improvement resulted in the best program in the Command . . . His University of Maintenance concept was enormously successful and has been adopted by the Command and all five Air Logistics Centers."
One additional award that illustrates the exceptional service of this airman to his country is the Distinguished Service Medal, which was given to General Smith in 1994. This is the fourth highest Air Force decoration which can be given. From 1991 until 1994, the General distinguished himself in service at Scott Air Force Base, IL. His performance is best portrayed by those who bestowed him the honor: "During this period, General Smith played a key leadership role in directing logistical activities in support of our nation's most important security operations . . . His tireless dedication and personal involvement in Total Quality Management principles in the command have ensured Air Mobility Command's resources will continue to be an integral part of America's global reach capability." It is obvious that the significance of the strides made by Major General Smith is not limited to these United States, but will be experienced around the world in years to come. Smith's other personal decorations include: the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with "V" device and two oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, the National Defense Service Medal with service star, the Vietnam Service Medal with two service stars, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Major General Rondal Smith: another stellar illustration of ETSU PRIDE.
Smith is a native of Bristol, Tennessee, and received a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1966 at ETSU. He continued his education, earning a master of science degree, with a distinction in logistics management, at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio. Among his other distinctions include executive management programs completed at Penn State and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. General Smith is married to the former Deborah Berry of Red Bay, AL.