Smushkevich, Iakov Vladimirovich
Born Apr. 1 (14), 1902, in the village of Rakiški (now the city of Rokiškis, Lithuanian SSR); died Oct. 28, 1941. Soviet military pilot: lieutenant general of aviation (1940). Twice Hero of the Soviet Union (June 21, 1937, and Nov. 17, 1939). Member of the CPSU from 1918.
Smushkevich took part in the Civil War of 1918-20 on the Western Front and was a commissar of a rifle regiment. He graduated from the Kacha Military School for Pilots in 1931 and completed advanced command staff courses at the M. V. Frunze Military Academy in 1937. In 1936 and 1937, Smushkevich participated as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the republican government. In 1937 he became deputy head of the Directorate of the Red Army Air Force. In 1939 he commanded the air forces fighting against the Japanese militarists in the region of the Khalkhin-Gol River. Smushkevich became head of the Red Army Air Force in November 1939, inspector general of the Red Army Air Force in August 1940, and assistant chief of the General Staff for Aviation in December 1940.
Smushkevich became a candidate member of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) in 1939 and was a deputy to the first convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He was awarded two Orders of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner of the Mongolian People’s Republic.