RADM Horton J. Smith was commissioned in 1945 from the University of Washington Naval ROTC. He graduated from the University in 1947. RADM Smith’s first command was patrol craft 555. By the time he was 21, RADM Smith was the commanding officer of Landing Service Medium (LSM 288). As an active member in the Naval Reserve, he made the switch to the submarine fleet. As a LTJG, RADM Smith was the first Naval Reserve officer in the 13th district to earn his submarine warfare pin.
RADM Smith was recalled to active duty during the Korean Conflict. He was first assigned to the USS CORSAIR (SS-435) and later transferred to the USS GROUPER (SSK-214). The USS GROUPER was retrofitted as the Navy’s first “hunter-killer” submarine and during his time aboard, he qualified for command and served as the boat’s executive officer.
After the Korean Conflict, RADM Smith returned to the Navy Reserve where he served as a commander on both a destroyer and a costal minesweeper home ported in Tacoma, Washington. As a Captain, he was assigned as the Navy Liaison to the State of Washington Adjutant General staff, where he served under Major General Howard S. McGee. RADM Smith also spent time in Washington, D.C. on the policy board for determinations of Navy and Navy Reserve. He also served as a quasi-instructor at the National Defense University, and was a Blue and Gold Officer for the Naval Academy. He achieved the rank of Rear Admiral in 1975 and in 1976, RADM Smith commanded region 22 of the Naval Reserve Readiness Command.
During his civilian career, RADM Smith graduated from University of Washington Law School and served in the King County Juvenile Court during the Vietnam years. He was also elected as a King County Superior Court Justice, a position he held for almost 20 years. He would later return to the active duty life as an enlisted Coast Guard Able Seaman in 1980 and after 9/11, he became the oldest active member serving in the Persian Gulf. He served as Third Deck Officer on both the USNS JOHN LENTHALL (T-AO-189) and the USNS LEROY GRUNMAN (T-AO-195) whose primary mission was to provide jet fuel and accompany aircraft carriers in the Gulf.
RADM Smith has remained an active member and ardent supporter within the submarine, Seattle civic, and University of Washington communities.