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In Memoriam - Christopher Kleinsmith

December 15, 2020

In Memoriam - Christopher Kleinsmith

AsMA staff were saddened to learn of the passing of Christopher R. Kleinsmith, D.O., M.P.H., FAsMA.

A native of Missouri, he earned a B.A. at Albion College, Albion, MI, in 1976 and then a D.O. in 1980 from the Medical School at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, MO. During his years at Albion College, he attended National Music Camp (Interlochen Arts Camp) as a clarinet first chair. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 27 years, retiring as a Colonel in 2007 and was Board-certified in Aerospace Medicine, Occupational Medicine, and Family Medicine. During his years at Hill Air Force Base (AFB), he was a “Black Widow” with the 421st Fighter Squadron/388th Fighter Wing and served as flight surgeon for Senator John Glenn’s space shuttle mission in 1998.
   Dr. Kleinsmith began his career in the Air Force in 1980, serving as a Family Practice medicine resident at David Grant Medical Center at Travis AFB, CA, until 1983, when he became a Family Practice staff physician, Director of Emergency Services, Director of the Allergy Clinic, NATO AWACS at Geilenkirchen Air Base, West Germany. In 1987, he was transferred to the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, UT, where he served as a Flight Surgeon in the Squadron Medical Element. From 1991-1992, he was Commander of the 4404th Medical Group, 4404th Composite Wing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and then was Flight Chief at the Flight Medicine Clinic, 75th Medical Group, Hill AFB from 1992-1993. He then served as Chief of Aeromedical Services, 8th Medical Group, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea until 1994, when he became Flight Commander of Flight Medicine, 75th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, Hill AFB.
   Dr. Kleinsmith became Deputy Commander/Chief of Aeromedical Services at the 75th Aerospace Medicine Squadron in 1995. From 1997-1999, he served an Occupational Medicine residency at the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Utah College of Medicine in Salt Lake City, UT. He was promoted to Commander of the 72nd Aerospace Medicine Dental Squadron, 72nd Medical Group, at Tinker AFB, OK, in 1999. He then became Director of International Medical Training at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) at Brooks City-Base, TX, from 2001-2002, when he became the Chair of the Department of International Expeditionary Education and Training at USAFSAM. In 2005, he transferred back to Hill AFB, where he was Flight Commander, Occupational Medicine Service Flight, 75th Aerospace Medicine Squadron. When he retired from the Air Force in 2007, he became a Contract Flight Surgeon at Operational Aeromedical Solutions, Inc., with assignments at Shaw, Ellsworth, Mountain Home, Offutt, and Scott Air Force Bases. In 2009, he was promoted to Chief of Occupational Services, 75th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, at Hill AFB, a position he held until he retired in September 2020.
   His awards and honors included the Meritorious Service Medal with three devices, the Aerial Achievement Medal with one device, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medical with one device, and the Southwest Asia Service Medal. He was a member of the U.S. Society of Air Force Flight Surgeons, the Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, the Utah Osteopathic Medicine Association, the American Osteopathic Association, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association.
   An online obituary is available at https://www.lindquistmortuary.com/obituary/Christopher-Kleinsmith.