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).