William Smith was born in Middleton, Ohio, and graduated from Scott High School in 1959. He enlisted in the Air Force at age seventeen and completed basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas. He served one year at Bunker Hill/Grissom AFB, Ind., and three years at Glasgow AFB, Mont. He then attended the University of Toledo for a year before reenlisting. Assigned to Loring AFB, Maine, he met his wife and married during this time, before transferring to Ankara, Turkey, as a custodial agent to the United States Logistic Group (TUSLOG) for one year. On return to the U.S. he was assigned to Minot AFB in September 1967. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant serving as a Flight Security Controller and instructor.
During the UFO events, Smith was on duty at the Oscar-Launch Control Facility when a posted Camper Team reported a UFO in the vicinity of the O-6 Launch Facility. Smith also observed the UFO and reported his observation to missile Wing Security Control at 2:30 a.m. He continued to observe the UFO over the next hour and a half, and during the B-52 air-radar encounter monitored B-52 communications with his capsule crew over the missile Wing Security Control communication network. At 4:49, he dispatched his Security Alert Team to investigate the break-in at O-7, and met another team of investigators onsite later that day. He was interviewed during the official investigation and completed an Air Force Form 117 questionnaire. During his interview, he informed Werlich of numerous ongoing reports of strange lights up near O-2, and recalls being briefed that someone would be coming out and setting up campers.