ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Beginning with the fanfare of “ruffles and flourishes” and ending with the Army song, the promotion of Maj. Gen. Leslie C. Smith, 20th Support Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Enhanced Conventional Weapons) commander, marked the first time the command is led by a two-star general.
The ceremony Friday, hosted by Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commander, U.S. Army Forces Command, was attended by more than 200 Soldiers and civilians, and many of Smith’s Family members attended, including his wife and two daughters.
Rodriguez spoke of Smith’s determination and dedication to the command, as well as the Army, and paid special tribute to the Family.
“This day is as much about his Family as it is about him,” Rodriguez said. “Family helps us develop and grow, and guides us as we go through life.”
As Rodriguez noted some of Smith’s accomplishments throughout his 27-year career, citing assignments at Fort Bragg and Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., he emphasized the role of the 20th Spt. Cmd. (CBRNE) in the world, calling the command an “incredible organization.”
“This command has global reach and is on the frontlines of defense,” he said. “There is nowhere you can go where this command is not wanted and not needed.”
In concluding, Rodriguez said Smith sets a great example and is a positive influence on Soldiers.
“This ceremony isn’t just about what’s done, but what he can do,” Rodriguez said.
Smith’s new rank was pinned on by his wife and daughters, as well as Rodriguez.
In his remarks, Smith quoted Martin Luther King Jr., saying, “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live,” and proceeded to dedicate the ceremony to fallen Soldiers and their Families.
He recognized leaders who influenced him along the way, noting how these leaders contributed to his leadership style. Also in the audience were a number of friends whom he also recognized and emphasized the importance of friends, saying, “next to Family, friends sustain you.”
Before presenting the women in his Family with flowers, Smith noted the role Family played in not only his career, but in his professional development, specifically recognizing his mother.
“My mother always stressed that hard work, perseverance and education pays off,” Smith said.
“There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be standing here without the support of my Family.”
In closing, Smith said that as he wears his new stars, he will constantly be reminded of all the people who helped him get to this point in his career and he hopes to continue to be a role model to the Soldiers.
“We are placed here to help direct the paths of the people around us,” he said.