1914 - 2001
|Original R.G. A-4 "Concept" Blueprint||The Skyhawk Association's
R. G. Smith Gallery
Robert Grant Smith, better known in the Naval Aviation Community as simply, "R. G.", is a legendary figure known as one of the flying community's most accomplished artists. "R. G." was an engineer who just happened to be a superb artist.
He graduated from the Polytechnic College of Engineering in Oakland in 1934 with a degree in mechanical engineering and found work with Northrop Aircraft, then a subsidiary of Douglas Aircraft. A strong patriot, when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor he tried to enlist. To his great regret he was told he was doing critical national defense work.
Modest and unassuming, R.G. preferred to be known as an engineer despite his position in later years as the Douglas Company's full-time artist.. He was very proud of the contributions he made to the design of a succession of Douglas Aircraft. R.G. was especially influential in the design of the A-4 Skyhawk.
R. G.'s works hang in the National Air and Space Museum, the Pentagon, squadron ready rooms and in ships throughout the fleet. His paintings draw the viewer in, giving them the feeling they are witnessing the event live. From SBDs attacking Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway; an F3D downing a North Korean MiG; Skyraiders bombing a train; a patrol boat under fire at night in South Vietnam, to a Skywarrior refueling a damaged Skyhawk returning from North Vietnam, he brings the event alive before your eyes.
He enjoyed a happy family life with wife, Betty, and children Sharlyn and Richard, plus nine grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
R. G. passed away May 29th, 2001 at the age of 87 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California. He was an aircraft configuration engineer, patriot, devoted family man, and Honorary Naval Aviator Number 10.