New Fort Meade installation CSM outlines his goals
May 20, 2011
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (May 19, 2011) - At first glance he easily fits the profile of what you might think a professional Soldier and noncommissioned officer should look like: tall, with a powerful-looking physique and stone-cold stare that says, "That which does not kill you only makes you stronger."
But stop and talk to him for even the shortest period of time and you can see right through the stare straight to his heart. And most likely, you'll walk away saying to yourself, "There goes a man who cares about people."
Command Sgt. Maj. Charles E. Smith assumed the responsibilities of the installation command sergeant major Friday, replacing Command Sgt. Maj. Mike W. Watkins who has served in the position for the past two years. Watkins officially retires from the Army on Sept. 30.
A native of Benton Harbor, Mich., Smith has served in the U.S. Army for 26 years. He attended basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., and completed his Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., where he was awarded the military occupational specialty - personnel administration specialist (MOS-75B).
His tours of duty have included stops at Fort Carson, Colo.; U.S. Army Okinawa, Japan; 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Baghdad, Iraq; Fort Hood, Texas; and U.S. Army, Korea.
Since August 2009, Smith has been assigned to Fort Meade, serving as the command sergeant major for Headquarters Command Battalion prior to assuming his current assignment.
In one of his first interviews as the installation's command sergeant major, Smith briefly shared some of his thoughts about life as a Soldier.
When asked about his philosophy in life and the keys to his success, Smith quickly sets tall in his chair and responds, "It's not about me. I'm successful when everyone around me is successful."
He preferences his thoughts by adding, "Other people helped me get where I am today, and I always want to find a way to give back. All the training, the learning opportunities and experiences I have received are things I want to share with others. I want to do whatever I can to help others be successful."
As installation command sergeant major, Smith has outlined several areas he would like to focus on at Fort Meade:
* Continue to develop relationships and partnerships with all tenant organizational leaders in the Fort Meade community
* Serve as the voice for all enlisted service members with regard to quality-of-life issues and concerns they may have as members of the military and the Fort Meade community
* Continue to promote professional development programs including advocating for senior leaders to speak with junior leaders at Fort Meade on a variety of topics that will enhance their proficiency levels
* Promote education services for Fort Meade service members such as engaging post education service representatives to organize informational sessions and briefs that will encourage service members to enroll in college courses
* Enhance quality-of-life programs for Fort Meade service members including working closely with the senior enlisted advisors and the installation commander
"The [quality-of-life] programs are in place, but our service members are not taking advantage of them," Smith said. "I think we must develop effective marketing strategies to promote programs, such as BOSS [Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers] and Warrior Adventure Quest. I want to motivate our service members to sign up, participate and take ownership of these programs."
Smith also plans to:
* Continue to strengthen community strategies that support teen and youth services and programs, and seek out additional opportunities that can assist teens with everyday life skills such as volunteering at the Pet Care Center, Soldier Family Assistance Center (clerical) and Army Community Service
* Continue to promote cleanliness and earth-friendly activities to the Fort Meade community
"I think cleanliness is a team effort for all service members, civilians and family members who reside or work in the community," Smith said. "This is our community and home. Let's work together to keep our community clean."
If you want to see Smith smile, get him to talk about life at Fort Meade and all the positives he sees in the community. Get him to talk about the people who live and work here every day.
"I care about people -- Soldiers, civilians and family members," he said. "I am high on standards, but I use a common-sense approach in dealing with issues and concerns. It doesn't have to always be my idea. What passes the common-sense test and accomplishes the mission we will do."