Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

John Earl Smerdon, Jr. (1925-2000) was a naval aviator and test pilot who flew numerous aircraft, including the National Air and Space Museum's Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver (BuNo 83479). Smerdon enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1943 at the age of 17. In 1946, Smerdon was designated as a naval aviator. Smerdon served with the reserves until being transferred to the Regular Navy at the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade) in March 1949. Smerdon later served as a test pilot at Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. Smerdon retired from the Navy in 1963 as a Commander. During Smerdon's service with the U.S. Navy he flew numerous aircraft including the Stearman (1927) N2S-3 Kaydet (Model B75N1); North American SNJ Texan; Douglas SBD Dauntless; Curtiss SB2C Helldiver; Beech SNB-2C, SNB-3, and SNB-4 Navigator; Douglas R4D Skytrain; Douglas AD (A-1, BT2D) Skyraider; Grumman F6F Hellcat; Vought F4U Corsair; Boeing 767 Tanker Transport (KC-767); North American T-28 Trojan; Grumman S-2 (S2F) Tracker; Martin (Glenn L.) P5M (P-5) Marlin; Douglas F3D (F-10) Skyknight; Grumman TF-1 (C-1A) Trader; Lockheed P2V (P-2) Neptune; Douglas R5D Skymaster; Douglas A3D (A-3) Skywarrior; Martin (Glenn L.) P4M Mercator; McDonnell F2H (F2D, F-2) Banshee; Lockheed WV Super Constellation; Vought F7U Cutlass; Grumman F11F (F-11) Tiger; Grumman F9F Panther (Straight-Wing); Fairchild R4Q-2 (C-119F) Packet; Vought F-8 (F8U) Crusader; Grumman UF-1 (HU-16C) Albatross; Lockheed TV-2 (TO-2, T-33B) Shooting Star; Lockheed T2V Seastar; North American FJ-4B (AF-1E) Fury; Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk; Beech TC-45J Expeditor; and the Piper UO-1 (U-11A).




Smerdon, John Earl, Jr.


bulk 1945-1963


David Smerdon, Gift, 2013


0.28 Cubic feet ((2 containers))


No restrictions on access.


Collection descriptions

Archival materials



Scope and Contents

EThis collection consists of papers relating to John Earl Smerdon, Jr.'s military career including log books, pilot's licenses, photographs, correspondence, military records, and newsclippings. The log books cover the years of 1945-1963. The photographs are almost exclusively black and white and range in size from 3.5 by 2.5 inches up to 8 by 10 inches. The photographs include various views of Smerdon in uniform as well as in the cockpits of various aircraft including the North American FJ-4B (AF-1E) Fury; North American SNJ Texan; Curtiss SB2C Helldiver; Vought (RF-8A) F8U-1P Crusader; Douglas A3D (A-3) Skywarrior (photograph also includes McDonnell F3H-2N (F-3C) Demon, Douglas F4D (F-6) Skyray, North American FJ-4 (F-1E) Fury, Grumman F11F-1 (F-11A) Tiger, and Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk); and the Douglas AD-5N (A-1G) Skyraider.





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Topics Aeronautics
Naval aviation
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver Family
North American FJ-4B (AF-1E) Fury
Douglas A3D-1 (A-3A) Skywarrior
Douglas AD-4NA (A-1D) Skyraider
Vought (RF-8A) F8U-1P Crusader


John Earl Smerdon, Jr. Papers, Accession 2013-0035, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

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