General Walter Bedell "Beetle" Smith was a senior officer of the United States Army who served as General Dwight D. Eisenhower's chief of staff at Allied Forces Headquarters during the Tunisia Campaign and the Allied invasion of Italy in 1943, during World War II. He was Eisenhower's chief of staff at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force in the campaign in Western Europe from 1944 to 1945.
Smith enlisted as a private in the Indiana Army National Guard in 1911. During World War I, Bedell-Smith served with the American Expeditionary Forces and was commissioned to second lieutenant in 1917. He was wounded in the Aisne-Marne Offensive in 1918. After the war, he was a staff officer and instructor at the U.S. Army Infantry School. In 1941, he became secretary of the General Staff, and in 1942 he became the secretary to the Combined Chiefs of Staff. His duties involved taking part in discussions of war plans at the highest level, and Smith often briefed President Franklin D. Roosevelt on strategic matters.
Smith became chief of staff to Eisenhower at AFHQ in September 1942 and acquired a reputation as Eisenhower's "hatchet man" for his brusque and demanding manner.