HARRY G. SMITH
(April 19, 1937)
Class of 1956
In 1956 Smith was responsible for the
apprehension of a high-ranking Air Force Officer who, in a drunken
state, ran down two children, killing James Seeger, age 11 and
seriously injuring his companion William S. Robinson age 10. This
drew the attention of the equivalent of the Marine Corp Internal
Affairs and Smith was induced into enlisting in the Marine Corp.
Smith was transferred to Parris Island
during a time when recruit abuse was running rampart and in fact,
during this time, six Marines were caused to drown in the swamps of
Parris Island. Smith was assigned to investigate drill instructors
that were mistreating recruits. After completing boot camp three
times to support charges, Smith caused seven Drill Instructors to be
court-martialed. Smith underwent rigorous martial arts training
under the supervision of military instructors. Smith left boot camp
and was assigned to Camp Lejune, N. C.
Operation Water Buffalo: Concealed in
water holding tanks, Smith supplied Fidel Castro with arms while
Castro was hiding in the Escombray Mountains. Castro overthrows
Ferdinand Batista in 1959.
Smith was transferred to Okinawa,
Japan where he was introduced to Master Tatsuo Shimabukuro who at
that time was just perfecting his new style of karate, Isshinryu.
Smith was among the first ten Americans to be allowed to study this
style of karate. Smith began his study in the Village of Kyan in
December of 1956.
After spending 11 months on Okinawa
Smith was given 30 days leave to return to the United States and
then returned for a 6-month extension, probably the last time
Marines were allowed this extension. Smith was awarded 6th Dan black
belt for his exceptional fighting abilities on May 22, 1958.
Smith returned to the United States
and opened the first karate school in Pennsylvania in 1959 and one
of the first on the East Coast. This school, along with the
assistance of Marine Staff Sergeant Richard Keith produced Ralph
Lindquist and Jack Sipe. During this time Smith remained under the
control of the Federal Government.
In 1961 Smith was assigned to
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, United States military outpost, where he was
under the control of Howard Hunt, code name Edwardo, and Frank
Sturgis and Roland Martinez, all of Watergate fame. Smith ran armed
speedboats called moppies along the coast of Cuba, creating so
called dog and pony shows allowing refugees to enter and leave Cuba.
This same year Smith was assigned to the ill-fated operation known
as the Bay of Pigs invasion, Blue Beach and Brigade 2506. The
operation failed, Smith was captured and held at “La Cabana,” Cuba’s
prison famed for its firing wall. Smith was later released in
exchange for medical supplies. Operation was called “THE FISH IS
RED” because on a map Cuba looks like a fish.
From 1962 to 1964 Smith opened a
karate school in Pittsburgh where he trained William Duessel, Harry
Acklin, Joe Pennywell, and many other exceptional fighters, all of
whom were promoted to Shodan. During this time Smith also operated
the Academy of Isshinryu Karate in Harrisburg, which produced George
Dillman, George Iberyl, again Ralph Lindquist, Gene Powell and many
In 1964 Smith hosted the first
Pittsburgh Karate Tournament attended by Zenpo Shimabuku, Walter
Dailey, Harold Long, Art Smiley, Harry Acklin and William Duessel.
This year Smith was awarded 7th Dan by the United States Karate
Association and 10th Dan by Edward Parker, Master of Kenpo Karate.
In 1964 Smith became operational and
was sent to work at a Jeep Rover dealership in Durban, South Africa
where Smith worked as an auto body mechanic and also reported the
actions of the owner, Mike Hoare to the United States. Hoare owned
the dealership but also headed the Katanga mercenaries, the Five
Commando, better known as the “WILD GEESE”
who then operated in the known Belgian Congo, now called Zaire.
Hoare seduced Smith with a red MGB, later found out to be stolen
from the CEO of Didi Oil Refinery, which later broke down on the
road to Mungbere, and Smith joined the Five Commando which was
instrumental in freeing hostages that the United States left behind
during Operation Dragon Rouge. Stanleyville, Mungbere, Wamba and the
Didi Oil Refinery were being held hostage by rebel troops called
“Simbas” headed by Colonel Olenga, a former trolley conductor.
As of this writing the Belgian Congo
(Zaire) is undergoing the exact same type of uprising that were
designed to get rid of the powers that were put in place on New
Years Eve 1965.
1965 found Smith reenlisted once more
in the Marine Corp where he was transferred to the Fifth Marine
Division, and from there to the C.O.R.D.S. training compound at Fort
Holabird, Maryland, home of the Phung Hoang
Dong Tien training program, later known as Phoenix.
Transferred to 1st Hospital Company at
Chulai Vietnam, Smith acted as a bodyguard for the nurses stationed
there. While at Chulai, Smith was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple
Heart by Major General Lewis J. Fields. While in convalescence Smith
was transferred back to Okinawa to train at the Mac/Sog Compound at
Naha under the supervision of Tatsuo Shimabukuro.
Smith was then transferred to the
First Force Recon, First Marine Division, then to COMUS/SOG, Canlo,
Vietnam. He began a rotating training program where, every three
months, he returned to Okinawa for training, all under the control
of Tatsuo Shimabukuro and Eiko Kaneshi.
In the end, Smith was transferred to
the Embassy House, Canlo, Vietnam, supervised by Station Chief
William Colby, stationed at Ton Son Naught and Senator Neil
Gallagher. Senator Gallagher was chair of the Asian and Pacific
Affairs Subcommittee and held an interest in the war in Vietnam.
United States government made Smith’s
rank awarded by Shimabukuro a part of his permanent record in 1976.
The United States government also added their evaluation of Smith to
10th Dan. Smith negates this, as his feelings are that there can
only be one 10th Dan in a system. In 1994 Master Angi Uezu, head of
the Okinawan Isshinryu Karate-do Association ranked Smith as high as
he could in that organization, 8th Dan. On March 9, 2003 Master Angi
Uezu ranked Smith, 9th Dan.
In the early 1980’s Smith returned to
Hilton, Natal, South Africa and joined the
“Wild Geese” in an attempt to overthrow the government of the
Seychelles Islands, an island off the East Coast of Africa, of which
Mike Hoare and Senator Neil Gallagher had an interest in. The
mission failed, most were imprisoned, but the South African
government pardoned all.
Smith was inducted in the Pennsylvania
Karate Hall of Fame on December 3, 1994 and the Okinawan Isshinryu
Karate Hall of Fame on May 2, 1998 and on June 26, 1999 was inducted
into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame. On December 29, 2000 the
American Okinawan Karate Association’s Hall of Fame awarded Smith
the Life Achievement Award and the Pioneer Award.
Smith now heads the Guardian Karate
Institute in Hershey, Lemoyne, and Elizabethville, PA.
H.G. Smith is the most senior
Isshinryu practitioner in the world, exceeding that of both Kichiro
Shimabuku, son of Isshinryu’s founder and Angi Uezu, son-in-law of
Isshinryu’s founder, both of Okinawa, Japan. It must be, with this
last statement, notice taken that H.G. Smith does not lay claim to
any rank higher than both Kichiro Shimabuku or Angi Uezu, nor does
he consider himself senior to either. His feelings are that he will
always walk beside them, but never behind.
In closing, with rank in Isshinryu
being what is, H.G. Smith has always worn a black belt, never red.
Students of Harry