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January 18--  You may remember retired Air Force Major General Perry Smith from the many years in 1990's when he worked with CNN as a military affairs commentator.  He's the keynote speaker for this year's Vidalia Citizen of the Year banquet Thursday, February 2 at seven p.m. at the First United Methodist Church.  The event is open to the public and hosted this year by the Vidalia Rotary Club and co-sponsored by Vidalia Kiwanis and Lions Clubs.  Tickets are $15.  For info, call Karen McCoy, 537-3017.

{mosimage}General Perry M. Smith, Ph.D is a teacher, speaker, TV and radio commentator and best-selling author. Hundreds of millions of television viewers world-wide came to know him during the Persian Gulf War for his more than appearances as a military analyst for the Cable News Network, the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour and NBC news. Smith is the president of Visionary Leadership of Augusta, Ga.. He has conducted workshops on leadership, strategic planning or ethics for Harvard's Kennedy School, UPS, Tiffany and Company, The Chautauqua Institution, The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, Texas Instruments, The West Virginia Hospital Association, Andersen Consulting, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and Microsoft, as well as the governors of three states, and the mayor of Detroit. He also gives keynote speeches at conventions and conferences. His seven year relationship with CNN ended on June 14, 1998 when he resigned over an issue of integrity (CN's egregious special accusing the military of using lethal nerve gas to kill our own soldiers during the Vietnam War). He now serves as a military consultant to NBC TV and CBS Radio News.

A retired major general, Smith served for 30 years in the U. S. Air Force. During his career he had a number of leadership experiences, including command of the F-15 wing at Bitburg, Germany where he provided leadership to 4000 personnel. Later, he served as the top Air Force planner and as the Commandant of the National War College, where he taught courses on leadership of large organizations and on strategic planning. He flew 180 combat missions in F-4 aircraft over North Vietnam and Laos during the Vietnam War.

A graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, he later earned his Ph.D. in International Relations from Columbia University. His dissertation earned the Helen Dwight Reid award from the American Political Science Association. His books include Rules and Tools for Leaders, Assignment Pentagon, and A Hero Among Heroes: Jimmie Dyess and the 4th Marine Division. The latter book is a biography of the only person to have earned America's two highest awards for heroism, the Medal of Honor and the Carnegie Medal. In 2002, Smith produced a 60 minute video, Twice a Hero: The Jimmie Dyess Story.

With more than 300,000 copies in print, his most popular book is Rules and Tools for Leaders , a practical guide for leaders. It contains hundreds of rules of thumb and includes 25 checklists on how to hire, fire, plan, deal with the media, give compliments, run meetings, make decisions, provide counseling, check organizational ethics, transition into a new job, etc. After he was interviewed by Katie Couric on the book, it reached #2 on the bestseller list. The newest edition was published in July 2011.