ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- First Army paid tribute to the man who has served as its deputy commanding general for support during a farewell ceremony on July 25 in First Army headquarters.

Maj. Gen. Michael Smith, who assumed the deputy commander's position in September of 2012, will be moving to the Pentagon to serve with the Army's G3/5/7 directorate.

First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, reflected on Smith's many accomplishments and tireless work ethic during the ceremony. He also presented Smith with the Legion of Merit.

"First Army will be hard pressed to replace this superb officer," Tucker said. "Maj. Gen. Smith has adroitly served as First Army's deputy commanding general for support and has expertly helped guide First Army operations."

Tucker also addressed how much more seamless his job has been with Smith at his side.

"Mike has been an invaluable asset to the entire command group and to me through his unwavering counsel and solid advice," he said. "The dedicated support and outstanding counsel Mike has provided to me and my predecessor has been critical to the success of the command group, the headquarters staff, Army Reserve command, and across all First Army formations. Mike has been the First Army's point man for all things associated with our Army Reserve teammates."

Smith returned the compliments. "Lt. Gen. Tucker, Gen. Tucker, thank you for the opportunity to serve as your DCG," he said. "It has been an honor to assist and support your efforts. Thank you for your trust and confidence in me."

Smith also thanked audience members for attending. "When I look around and see it's standing room only, it really is an honor and I'm humbled by that, that you would take time out of your busy day to see me off," Smith said.

While sorry to see Smith move on, Tucker acknowledged it is good for the Army.

"The senior leadership at Department of the Army decided to poach him from us and assign him into a critical billet within the Pentagon's G3/5/7 Operations Directorate. I'm sure Mike will provide astute leadership, counsel, and support to 'Big Army' operations like he has for First Army over the past 23 months," Tucker said.

During Smith's time with First Army, he helped mobilize more than 46,000 Reserve Component Soldiers and more than 2,000 Reserve Component formations.

First Army, in accordance with Title 11 and Army Total Force Policy, partners with United States Army Reserve and Army National Guard leadership to advise, assist, and train reserve component formations to achieve Army Force Generation-directed readiness requirements during both pre- and post-mobilization through multicomponent integrated collective training, enabling Forces Command to provide combatant commanders trained and ready forces in support of worldwide requirements.