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Smith (1899-1990) took charge of the southern division of American Airways in 1930 and became vice president for operations of the entire airline in 1933.
In 1934, became president of the renamed American Airlines and brought in the highly profitable DC-3.
By 1941, American Airways was the leading domestic carrier.
In April 1942, he joined the U.S. Army Air Force, helping to organize the Air Transport Command, and later serving as Air Transport Command Deputy Commander, supervising the wartime development of a worldwide air transportation system.
After the war, Smith returned to American Airlines as chairman of the Board and CEO, leading the company as it introduced the world's first transcontinental jet service in 1959. Smith was a key adopter of several aircraft, including the Douglas DC-3.