- Jimmy Stewart: Bomber Pilot (2005) with introduction by Walter Cronkite
- Southern Scenes: Journeys Through a Lovely Land (2001)
- Only the Days Are Long: Reports of a Journalist and World Traveler (1986)
Vernon Starr Smith was an author, news journalist, photographer, raconteur and long-time public consultant born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, in 1918. His father was Floyd Rowan Smith. He was the oldest of five children. The family lived in Kosciusko and in several other Mississippi towns before moving to Magnolia, Mississippi, where Smith finished high school and began his career in journalism, writing a column about school activities for the Magnolia Gazette.
During the summers between his high school years, he signed on as a cabin boy on ships going to Europe and South America out of the Port of Mobile and began his lifelong love affair with faraway places. Eventually, his professional career and the “wish to see the world beyond” would take him to more than one hundred countries on four continents.
Smith enrolled at Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana, after graduating from high school in Magnolia. He paid his college tuition by working in broadcasting as an announcer at a local radio station in Alexandria, Louisiana. His distinctive voice was recognized all over the South.
He joined the army in the early 1940’s as a private before Pearl Harbor. When World War II began, he was selected for Officer Candidate School and assigned to the Army Air Corps, now known as the U. S .Air Force. He spent most of the war years as a combat intelligence officer with the Eighth Air Force in England. He also served on General Dwight Eisenhower’s press and intelligence staff at his London and Paris headquarters. He worked with and knew many of the celebrated war correspondents of the day including Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and Ernie Pyle, as well as General Jimmy Doolittle and Colonel Paul Tibbets. After the war, Smith remained in the Air Force Reserve for forty years. At retirement, he was a Colonel.
Following active duty, he became a reporter for NBC and ABC radio networks, a Southern correspondent for Newsweek, a correspondent for a group of radio stations in California and Alabama and a contributing writer to numerous regional and national magazines. Three of his stories have been included in Congressional Records. As a result of his assignments, he was witness to some of the historic events of the Twentieth century, such as the Bikini Atom Bomb Tests and the Civil Rights struggle in the South. Many of the latter are described in Only the Days Are Long, one of three non-fiction books Smith wrote. The others are Starr Smith’s Southern Scenes and Jimmy Stewart, Bomber Pilot. Smith’s book about Jimmy Stewart tells about Stewart’s military service from the time he entered the Army as a Private until he was discharged as a Colonel. Jimmy Stewart and Starr Smith were in the same bomber group in England during World War II. Jimmy Stewart was the group operations officer and Smith, the intelligence officer. They worked together in 1943-1944, putting together the next day’s mission and briefing the combat crews at dawn.
Smith lived in Montgomery, Alabama, much of his adult life. He moved back to Mississippi to Jackson in 2009 to be near his daughter and her family. In addition to his work as a journalist and public relations consultant, he was a frequent speaker on his travels. He died of natural causes on Sunday, January 22, 2012 at The Orchard in Ridgeland, Mississippi. He was ninety-four years old.