Three military branches, two leadership roles, one man. Douglas Smith, a logistics management specialist for the United Arab Emirates at the Security Assistance Command in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, has mastered his take on work-life balance.
It all started when Smith decided to join the Marine Corps in June 1992. He was assigned as part of a heavy weapons platoon in the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines as a TOW gunner. Throughout his 10 years serving, he deployed numerous times around the world and had the exciting opportunity to attend midnight mass with the pope at the Vatican in Italy. Smith also crossed the equator and became a shellback during this time, which comes from a longstanding Navy tradition and ceremony at sea to evaluate crewmembers on their seaworthiness.
After 10 years, Smith decided it was time for a change, so he transitioned to the Air Force and the Air National Guard. He began his service with the 193rd Special Operations Wing in Middletown, Pennsylvania, in which he worked in logistics and the Aerial Port Operations Center performing load and unload duties as well as parachute packing for aerial drops of cargo. In addition to back-to-back deployments, Smith’s unit also had to take the responsibility of being a part of disaster recovery. He finished his career in 2017 and retired with 23 years of service.
This led Smith to accepting a position with USASAC as a logistics management specialist assigned to the Iraq team. After working for two years on the team, he decided to deploy as part of the Expeditionary Workforce and was temporarily assigned to the Corps of Engineers working in Afghanistan at both Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul and Bagram Air Base.
“While deployed, I would face the most trying time I ever had as a government employee,” Smith said. “COVID became a worldwide pandemic, which made doing the simplest task much more difficult and challenging. It did, however, give me a different perspective of how a pandemic is handled in a third world country.”
After returning from deployment, Smith was assigned to the UAE team, in which he is still serving. Everything he learned while deployed made a significant impact on his career, and he was able to put that information to beneficial use in his position now.
“I am most proud of being given the opportunity to rescue two Afghan dogs while deployed to Afghanistan,” Smith said. “While deployed on one of my tours, I encountered two female puppies on the base I was deployed to and coordinated through the Puppy Rescue Mission in the states here which helped bring them home on my return. Skye and Luna are now at home with me and living a wonderful life.”
Not only has Smith worked in three different military branches and rescued two Afghan dogs throughout his career, but he is serving two leadership roles in Goldsboro Borough as well.
“After retiring from the military, I felt I could continue to serve my town and the residents by running for mayor,” Smith said.
As mayor of Goldsboro Borough, Smith is two years into his four-year term and serves 494 residents. He has presided over 10 weddings and affirmations, some of which have been close friends of his. To add to his list of duties as mayor, Smith also introduced an ordinance that provides tax credit for volunteer firefighters serving in the fire department, which was recently approved.
Additionally, Smith has served with a variety of different fire departments and in different capacities over the past 36 years. And even before that, Smith says it was his dream when he was little to become a firefighter. Ever since then, he has used every opportunity to make this dream a reality. In fact, during his time serving in the Marine Corps, he ran a fire department.
Currently he is the fire chief of the Goldsboro Fire Company located in Etters, Pennsylvania. With approximately 15 active firefighters who serve, Smith’s team reaches not only Goldsboro Borough but surrounding municipalities as well. His efforts have led him to implement a drone program to aid search and rescue missions and thus continue to make a positive impact in his community.
Smith is thankful for his friends and family who are incredibly supportive with the positions he serves in. Finding a work-life balance is especially tricky at times, but Smith says his family really keeps him grounded and helps him when he needs it most. When it comes to the small bits of free time Smith gets, he enjoys putting together home renovation projects for his late 1800s home.
“The best part of my career is how rewarding it is to be able to serve the residents of Goldsboro in the positions that I hold,” he said. “It’s a way I can give back to the community, and I enjoy doing so.”
USASAC's New Cumberland location is at the Defense Logistics Agency Distribution processing facility, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania.