REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Lt. Col. John M. Schmitt was presented the Meritorious Service Medal for two years of service as the deputy director of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center Aug. 22.

The award, signed by Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, was given during a ceremony at Redstone Arsenal.

Schmitt served as the AMRDEC military deputy director from June 2015 to May 2017. In June 2017, he became the product manager for the Project Management Office, Cargo Helicopter, also located at Redstone.

"I learned so much during my experience at AMRDEC," said Schmitt at the ceremony. "It was so humbling to be able to represent AMRDEC as the military deputy. Thank you to all that contributed to my time at such an incredible organization. I am just as excited coming out of there, and getting to spend time with my new Cargo family."

During his time at AMRDEC, Schmitt invested in community outreach, infrastructure revitalization, operationalizing emerging technology and engaging the workforce culture.

"Lt. Col. Schmitt continuously demonstrated exceptional service, professionalism, technical expertise, and outstanding performance during his role as deputy director," said Jeff Langhout, AMRDEC acting director. "As a major, he was asked to serve in a colonel's role and did so with tremendous skill and wisdom beyond his years. The Army asked to him to work well above his rank and he did so exhibiting all the Army values."

In a departing email sent to the AMRDEC workforce, Schmitt encouraged employees to share their ideas, capabilities, and contributions.

"Emerging from 15 years of sustained combat, it is clear the 30-50 year technological overmatch we have enjoyed since WWII has eroded and the capabilities, intellect and expertise you provide are needed now more than ever," Schmitt said. "You are needed because with so many precipitating events around the globe today, our Nation's military may be called to action at any time and in ways we have not seen in our lifetime. I believe that you, the largest and greatest of the Army labs, will be critical in determining that path which this great Nation of ours is equipped to take."

Schmitt is a senior Army aviator and a member of the Army Acquisition Corps. Prior to serving in the Acquisition Corps, he served as a UH-60 Assault Helicopter platoon leader in 9- 101st Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Ky. and participated in the invasion of Iraq in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served as the aviation liaison officer to the 502nd Infantry Brigade during combat operations in Mosul, Iraq. Schmitt also earned a position as assistant professor while serving as instructor and course director within the Department of Chemistry and Life Science at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

A native of Lafayette, Calif., Schmitt earned his commission from the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of California, Davis in 1999. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis and earned a Master of Science degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2009. Throughout his career, Schmitt has received numerous Army service awards and decorations.


U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.