Morton M. Smith
Prepared November 1, 2002
Stan Smith (703) 289-1230
1949 – Made a member of Louisiana Nu Chapter of Xi Sigma Pi (National
Forestry/Natural Resource Honor Society)
1949 – Made a member of Louisiana Chapter of Alpha Zeta (Professional Fraternity of
1950 – B.S. (Forestry) from Louisiana State University
1951 – M.S. (Game Management) from Louisiana State University
1951 (July) to 1953 (July) – Assistant Waterfowl Study Leader, Louisiana Fisheries &
Wildlife Commission. Supervisor was Richard Yancey. Based in Ferriday, LA. Served
as assistant to Yancey on Waterfowl Research Project 17-R and 29-R under Pittman
Robertson Section. Work consisted of research and surveys of Louisiana waterfowl
populations. Duties required 200 hours flight time per year as an observer. Work
1953 (April 23) – Notification of Assignment Upon Entry into Active Military Service
(“Having accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve through
the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program, you are being ordered into
active military service and assigned to 1912th Airways and Air Communication Service
Squadron, Olmstead Air Force Base, Pennsylvania.” /s/ Samuel E. Barger, Major, USAF,
Acting Air Adj Gen.).
1953 (July 3) – Entered Active Duty. Served as a personnel officer, primarily at Scott
Field, Illinois. Served as Squadron Personnel Officer and Adjutant for two years.
Responsible for all administrative phases of squadron operation, including records,
personnel assignments and squadron maintenance.
1954 (March 4) – Promoted to first lieutenant.
1955 (July) – Honorable discharge from USAF.
1955 (July) to 1957 (July) – Biologist II, Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Commission.
Supervisor was John Newsom. Based in Alexandria, LA. Responsible for wildlife
management and development practices carried on in the Commission’s District III under
various Pittman Robertson projects. Also was responsible for fish and game work in
1957 (July) to 1962 (December) – Biologist II, Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries
Commission. Supervisor was Robert Murray (Research Supervisor). Returned to
research as a Waterfowl Study Leader. Responsible for all research under Pittman
Robertson Project W29R. Duties required travel statewide. One phase of work required
250 hours of flight time/year as an observer.
Late 1950’s – Conducted aerial surveys (along with fellow Louisiana biologist Clark
Hoffpauir) in the aftermath of Hurricane Audrey indicating a sudden population jump in
certain species wintering in Louisiana. (Source: Flyways: Pioneering Waterfowl
Management in North America, Arthur S. Hawkins, et al., Editors, U.S. Government
Printing Office, May 1984, page 448.)
Late 1950’s to Early 1960’s – Participated in annual workshops of technical committees
of the flyway councils to discuss agency contributions to waterfowl management
programs of the flyway. (Source: Flyways, at page 382, pictured attending meeting of
Mississippi Flyway waterfowl technicians held at Louisiana’s Rockefeller Refuge.)
Early 1960’s – Flew aerial transect surveys over inland and coastal marshes with other
state waterfowl biologists. (Source: Flyways, at page 446.)
1962 (January 4) – Career-Conditional Appointment as Wildlife Biologist
(Management/Airplane Pilot) for Bureau’s Division of Wildlife, Branch of Management
and Enforcement, Atlanta, Georgia (Pos. No. 4-3213-1).
1964 – Contributor, U.S. Department of the Interior’s Waterfowl Tomorrow (U.S.
Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1964); “Ducks in Dixie” with John L.
Sincock, and John J. Lynch (at page 99-106).
1967 – Attended meeting of management biologists at Northern Prairie Wildlife Research
Center. (Source: Flyways, at picture at page 260, caption at page 261.)
~1968 (January) – Appointed Assistant Branch Chief, Division of Management and
Enforcement’s Branch of Management, and reassigned from Atlanta to Washington, D.C.
1968 (February) to 1969 (September) – Citation for Outstanding Performance for, among
other things, “field administration and supervision of summer waterfowl surveys and
banding program in the United States and Canada.”
1970 (April 13) – Special Achievement Award “for Superior Service” to the Bureau’s
Division of Management and Enforcement.
1971 (February) – Cited for a Quality Performance Award for “continuing high level
performance” with the Bureau’s Division of Management and Enforcement.
~mid-1970’s-1980’s – At Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, supervising Branch of
Surveys. (Source: Letter, dated March 9, 1990 from Thomas J. Dwyer, Chief, Office of
Migratory Bird Management, on the occasion of retirement.)1
1 I have not yet located Dad’s personnel files for the year ~1972-1990. They would probably provide more
details about specific work assignments than I have been able to provide here.
1990 (May 1) – Retirement. Retired as Assistant Director – [Refuges] & Wildlife, Office
of Migratory Bird Management, Washington, D.C. (Branch Chief, Surveys and
Logged 7,000+ hours as a pilot for FWS. (Source: Interview with Mark Madison, FWS
Historian, conducted March 29, 1999.)
Worked with (among others):
Keith A. Morehouse
David E. Sharp
Harvey K. Nelson
David L. Hall
John P. Rogers
Arthur S. Hawkins
Douglas S. Benning
Robert L. Jessen
K. Duane Norman
H. W. Heusmann
Matthew C. Perry
Fairfax H. Settle
Mary Lou Hill
Dr. Fred Glover
Anecdotes (Source: Morton M. Smith Retirement File, 1990)
• [Author not named]: “I really believe Mort’s favorite air-machine was the
DeHavilland ‘Speedster’ or Beaver. Seriously, when it came to multiple use or being
capable of handling many tasks, it was by far the best bush craft I ever flew. It had
one unredeeming feature however – it was slower than the second coming of the ‘Big
Man’ – in fact, it was the only aircraft I knew of that a tailwind wouldn’t help. I had
several affectionate adjectives for the machine and I used to relate to Mort about the
‘Speedster’s’ inability to develop much forward motion. I believe he took this
bitching with a grain of salt – until he drove it himself for awhile. Finally, after a
long summer, he called and said I was probably right; ‘it probably wouldn’t go much
over 100 miles per hour coming straight down.’”
• Vern Stotts: Some of his greatest thoughts and lessons for me were:
a. “I could hit these seaducks more often if they tasted better,” meant that with
practice one can rationalize anything.
b. When he said, “We can get this 206 off the water in less than 1 minute when
everyone is down to their high school weight,” it translated into don’t stuff rocks
in your personal kit to take home as souvenirs.
c. After a clapper rail hunting trip to the Eastern Short of Virginia, he remarked,
“We should shoot these critters only with a singleshot, 4-10 pistol fired with the
left hand after a cross-draw”, meaning that modern equipment can take away the
thrill of a full bag.
d. And, finally, after a perfect 2-point landing, he stressed that, “We can be happy
that we didn’t do it the other way around and land with our wheels down on the
water”, teaching me the hows, whys, whens, and beauty of a personal checklist.
• Bob Blohm: Of course, Mort, your red station wagon was legendary at the [Patuxent
Wildlife Research] center and how many Monday lunchtime discussions focused on
your weekend activities with your son to prepare the vehicle for the next week’s
drive. And, your love of doughnuts (particularly stale ones, at least 3-4 weeks old)
and old hunting clothes (the more holes and dangling threads, the better) is known far
• Art Hawkins: After you joined the FWS Airforce it was fun getting together with
you, Don Smith, Maury Lundy and others to compare notes. You were unique among
most of the pilots listed above in that you were completely interchangeable between
ground and air duty. In fact, on days when you couldn’t fly, for one reason or
another, you joined the guys in the trenches, of your own free will. … One thing for
sure, I never worked with anyone I’ve enjoyed working with more, whether in the
Louisiana marshes or on the Canadian Prairies, whether at wing bees or Tech
meetings. Your cheerful attitude and dedication to duty made the job easier.
• John Tautin: I still recall my first months with FWS in 1974 and being assigned to a
duck banding station in Alberta. My first flight in FWS aircraft was when you flew
me from Saskatoon to Brooks to meet up with the banding crew. We (you) had to
make a tough landing in a crosswind on sod. It went well, and I still recall being
impressed and thinking that this pilot has the right stuff. I went on to learn that the
other pilots, our flyway biologists, were also fine biologists and good, safe pilots.
You deserve a lot of credit for that, having been in charge of that operation. Being in
charge as Branch Chief, Surveys and Operations, is how I most often think of you.
You have been one of the best managers I have seen, fair and honest with people,
managing to get the job done well with limited resources, and firm and decisive when
need be on issues and problems. I learned a lot from you that helps me now that I am
in charge of [the Bird Banding Laboratory].
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