Commentary by: Michelle McBride
Texas Military Forces Public Affairs
|U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Walker/Released
CAMP MABRY, Texas (June 21, 2014) – The Texas Military Forces held a retirement ceremony honoring Col. Timothy M. Smith, deputy chief of staff for the Texas Army National Guard, at Camp Mabry, in Austin June 21, 2014.
Smith received his commission through the ROTC program at Stephen F. Austin State University in 1986 and joined the Texas National Guard in October of 1989.
“It came down to whether or not this country – its people, its constitution, its freedoms, its heritage and its beauty – is all of that worth defending?” said Smith, when asked about his reasons for joining. “More importantly, is it worth dying for? I absolutely believe that it is.”
In 2003, Smith was the first Texas Army National Guard Soldier to enter Iraq as part of the liberating force with the 4th Infantry Division. His service includes two combat tours in Iraq as well as assignments in all levels of command including the role of deputy chief of staff for Command, Control, Communications and Computer Operations.
“I found the culture of military service a very comfortable fit,” said Smith. “The longer I stayed in, the more people I got to know who had experienced the same things I did. In no other profession can you meet someone for the first time in your life and be able to establish a common frame of reference and rapport based on commonality of past experiences.”
Throughout his career Smith has been awarded, two Bronze Star Medals and five Meritorious Service Medals, but said his greatest accomplishment during his 29 years of service was his tenure as a battalion commander.
“Leading 480 Soldiers through the preparation for deployment to combat, preparing and transporting $500 million worth of tactical equipment overseas, successfully relieving an active duty battalion in place so they could go home, accomplishing our assigned mission and returning everyone and all the equipment home safely during the period of the nine-year Iraq campaign that saw the most instances of road-side bombs and rocket attacks on coalition forces is, without question, what I consider to be my most significant accomplishment,” said Smith.
His training includes the U.S. Army Signal Officer Basic and Advanced courses, the U.S. Army Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the U.S. Army Inspector General Course and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer Course. Additionally, Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in radio/TV communications as well as professional certifications as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and a Project Management Professional. He resides in Georgetown with his wife of 27 years and their 14- year-old daughter.
“There’s no one thing I can put my finger on that I’ll miss more than anything else,” said Smith. “I think, though, that the hardest part of this transition for me to come to grips with will be not getting to wear the uniform which has been part of my identity for over 29 years.”