By Dustin Perry, U.S. Army Inspector General AgencyMarch 14, 2018
WASHINGTON (March 14, 2018) -- Two days after being sworn in as the Army's 66th inspector general, Leslie C. "Les" Smith was promoted to lieutenant general and pledged to give his new job his "complete focus, dedication and drive" during a Feb. 9 ceremony at Fort McNair.
Smith takes the role after having served as the deputy inspector general since April 2015. He succeeds retired Lt. Gen. David E. Quantock, who was the inspector general from December 2014 to last month.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley hosted and provided remarks at the ceremony, which was held at Fort McNair's Lincoln Hall Auditorium and had in attendance a crowd of Smith's family, friends, and IG soldiers and civilians.
During his remarks, Milley listed some notable past officers who held the three-star rank, including George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant and George Patton. He then noted that of the more than 6,000 who were commissioned as second lieutenants in 1983, Smith, a graduate of Georgia Southern University, was one of only 52 from that year who have reached the level of general officer.
"Les has an extraordinary amount of competence, and that has been demonstrated repeatedly, in assignment after assignment, from [when he was a] second lieutenant up to right now," said Milley. "There is no question in my mind that everyone in this room, Les, is very proud of you."
Following his remarks, Milley called Smith up to the stage, where his wife, mother and two daughters joined him. Smith stood and beamed a smile as his family affixed new rank epaulets to his jacket and shirt. Milley then administered to Smith the oath of office, officially signifying Smith's promotion to lieutenant general.
Smith's remarks largely focused on thanking the many people in his life who he said significantly contributed to shaping his values and work ethic and who played a vital role in his success as a commissioned officer. Smith thanked the Army's senior leadership, the inspectors general who came before him, his commissioned and noncommissioned peers, his college fraternity brothers and church family, and his immediate family--particularly his mother, Lily, who raised Smith and his siblings as a single parent when their father, Calvin, died suddenly when Smith was only 5 years old.
"While I don't remember much from [that young age], I know that high standards were set for my siblings and I, and those standards served as the foundation for who I am today," said Smith.
It was those positive qualities, as well as Smith's professionalism, experience and distinguished service career, that made him an ideal choice as the Army's next inspector general, Milley said. The chief of staff went on to praise Smith as "a uniquely qualified individual ... [of] unbelievably extraordinary character."
"That is exactly what we need in an IG--a man who is possessed of enormous integrity and moral courage," Milley added. "Les, it is no doubt in my mind ... that you are the right guy for this job. It is an important job, and we know you are going to do it with excellence the entire time."
Smith acknowledged the responsibilities that will come with his new role and concluded by directly addressing the IG soldiers and civilians in the crowd, asserting his commitment to the job.
"I pledge my complete focus, dedication and drive as your 66th inspector general," said Smith. "I know you will do the same as we work on readiness, reform and taking care of our people each day."
The mission of the Office of the Inspector General is to provide impartial, objective and unbiased advice and oversight to the Army through relevant, timely and thorough inspection, assistance, investigations, and training. The OIG also works to promote and enable stewardship, accountability, integrity, efficiency and good order and discipline to enhance total Army readiness.