Tom Smith was born August 16, 1954.
He grew up in a big, loving family.
No, not that big, loving family. The Smith family. But they havenít
provided a picture yet (ahem). Anyway, Tom grew up in a big, loving family.
Later, he grew to be a man. But that was much later. First, he grew a beard
and hair down to his shoulders. Then he entered the US Naval Academy at
Annapolis, Maryland, home of the 4200-man Brigade of Midshipman. At the
Boat School, Tom was assigned to the best-looking group of mids in the
place: the 30th Company, class of í76. Tomís in the second-and-a-half row,
helping his buddy Keith with an earwax problem.
While at the Naval Academy, Tom learned many valuable skills.
Eventually he was so good they had to let him go. He was thrown out into the cold,
cruel world to make his way as best he could.
With little aptitude for work, Tom had no choice but to become a pilot.
With absolutely no interest in ships, Tom had no choice but to become a P-3 pilot.
He guarded our nationís shores from enemies beneath the seas.
Day and night.
Tom was based in New Brunswick, Maine, from where he flew damn near around the world.
It is worth noting that no Soviet submarine ever launched a nuclear strike against the United
States while Tom was on duty.
A lot of things changed for Tom on December 28, 1981. While driving to work he got, as he puts
it, a little knock on the noggin. What an understatement. A car jumped the median and plowed into him,
and though he was strapped in like any good pilot, his head was smashed against the car door. Tom checked
out for three months and for a while, it looked like he was going to check out for good. But he didnít.
He came out of the coma and began months, years really, of difficult and often painful rehab.
Itís true what they say about good men: you canít keep them down. In time, Tom was up and at Ďem again.
And though he wasnít flying any more, he was still into speed and adventure.