Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Smith, U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill command sergeant major, speaks to the the audience after an Assumption of Command reveille May 20 at Fort Sill.

The Field Artillery Branch and the U.S.Army Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill have a new command sergeant major.

Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Smith assumed command from acting Field Artillery Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Bronson, who filled the position after the previous CSM, Command Sgt. Maj. William High, deployed in a new assignment at the beginning of spring.

"Sergeant Major Smith's actions and decisions are going to affect a generation of field artillery soldiers,"said Maj. Gen. Peter Vangjel, USAFCOE and Fort Sill commanding general. "It's a heavy load, but he's more than capable of shouldering that responsibility."

That comment drew a laugh from Smith and the rest of the audience because Smith stands more than six- and-a-half-feet tall.

Vangjel said when looking for a new command sergeant major for the field artillery, he tried to focus on that a sergeant major's role is and why senior leaders demand them.
The commanding general said sergeants major are mentors, trainers, coaches, advisors, evaluators and ambassadors, and most of all, they are leaders.

Smith's last assignment was as the command sergeant major for the 434th Field Artillery Brigade.

"He led that unit through demanding times, in some cases, gut-wrenching periods where the identity of the knit would've been crushed without strong leadership and encouragement," Vangjel said. "He has proven that he can and will provide leadership and guidance necessary to train young Soldiers to be proficient and adaptive to accomplish the task that is required by our Army today and tomorrow."

Smith joined the Army in 1978 and went through basic and advanced individual training at Fort Sill. He has served in field artillery units around the world.

"The field artillery today is more adaptive and more versatile than ever before," said Smith. "Not only do our men and women shoot missiles, rockets and cannon artillery, ... but Redlegs today also conduct mounted and dismounted maneuvers. They kick in doors, they move critical supplies, they rebuild communities and train host nation soldiers. Today's field artillery Soldier truly exemplifies the Warrior Ethos."

Smith said as he watched the young men in the color guard, made up of men from each military service, he was reminded of two field artillery Soldiers who were killed while serving with Smith in Iraq in 2006. He said their actions serve to remind him of the power and authority he holds over the lives of the Soldiers under him while he is the field artillery command sergeant major.

"I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit, and I will never leave a fallen comrade," Smith said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16