CSM Dell Smith Retires after

36 Years of Guard Service

 

By Caleb Warnock, Provo Daily Herald

Published October 17, 2007

 

Download Printer-Friendly Version

       

Unaccustomed to the spotlight, Command Sgt. Maj. Dell Smith, thanks colleagues, friends, and family for their support at his retirement ceremony.

Photo by Greg Cullis

Unaccustomed to the spotlight, Command Sgt. Maj. Dell Smith, thanks colleagues, friends, and family for their support at his retirement ceremony.

DRAPER, Utah — With choked emotions, piles of gifts and congratulations from around the globe, the Utah National Guard said goodbye to one of its own on Thursday.

After 36 years of service, Command Sgt. Maj. Dell Smith of Springville, senior noncommissioned officer of the Utah Army National Guard, and his wife, Connie, were given an emotional two-hour send-off in honor of his retirement during an official ceremony at the Guard's Draper headquarters.

"I don't know what to say," Smith said at the end of the ceremony. "Basically all I cared about were the soldiers. I would tell them the truth about what I could and could not do, and what I could and could not support."

Smith then paused for over a minute, fighting to gain composure.

Sgt. 1st Class Allen Jackson, left, presents Dell Smith with a ceremonial sword in recognition for his 36 years of devoted service to the NCO Corps.

Photo by Greg Cullis

Sgt. 1st Class Allen Jackson, left, presents Dell Smith with a ceremonial sword in recognition for his 36 years of devoted service to the NCO Corps.

"Whew," he said, finally. "I can't look at my daughter down there. I have missed her birthday for 20-plus years. I have never been home on her birthday."

He spent last Thanksgiving visiting troops in the Middle East, he said. He is looking forward to spending time with his family in retirement.

"There is always an upside and a downside," he said, pointing to his extended family seated on the front rows of the audience. "The downside went to the people on the front rows, and the upside went to the people in uniform."

About two dozen representatives of different organizations within the military lined up to present Smith and his wife with honors. The couple were presented with a sword, matching regimental jackets, donations toward an Alaskan cruise, a framed reproduction of the Constitution, a flag flown at military outposts around the world, plaques, trophies, certificates, honorary titles and even folding chairs.

Connie Smith, center, receives a hug from Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet after he presented her with the Civilian Superior Service Award for her dedication.

Photo by Greg Cullis

Connie Smith, center, receives a hug from Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet after he presented her with the Civilian Superior Service Award for her dedication.

Connie Smith was awarded a medal for superior civilian service for her volunteer work helping military families.

Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Spencer said the Smiths often spent their Friday night date night at meetings preparing new recruits to enter boot camp, where Connie Smith would encourage the young men and women to stay in touch with their families.

"I'm not sure that anyone else has had such a broad affect, and I would like to thank you for fighting and working hard on the living conditions of our soldiers," said Spencer of Command Sgt. Major Smith.

"I think everyone loves Sgt. Maj. Smith," said Col. Larry Schmidt. "I don't think he has any enemies at all, which is quite an accomplishment for 36 years."

Other speakers called Sgt. Maj. Smith an outstanding American who gave sage and candid advice.

Col. Jefferson Burton, left, presents Dell Smith with a gift in  tribute to Smith's service during his distinguished career.

Photo by Greg Cullis

Col. Jefferson Burton, left, presents Dell Smith with a gift in

 tribute to Smith's service during his distinguished career.

"The great thing about Dell is that he accumulates and keeps friends," said Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet. "Professionally he has made a huge contribution. The thing about Dell was that he knew how to fix the underlying problem. He used his gift to the advantage of the soldiers. He has blessed our lives for nearly four decades, and we are grateful, and we will miss him."

Smith had served as Command Sgt. Major since 2001. During his career he served as supply sergeant and personnel sergeant with the 145th Field Artillery, enlisted personnel manager for the deputy chief of staff for personnel and as command sergeant major of the 97th Troop Command, according to a statement from the National Guard.

Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce D. Summers will take over for Smith. He is a Richfield resident.

Article appeared in the Oct. 5 edition of the Provo Daily Herald.

Chief Master Sgt. Michael Scoresby, 169th Intelligence Squadron, gives Smith a flag t flown in many locations around the world.

Photo by Greg Cullis

Chief Master Sgt. Michael Scoresby, 169th Intelligence Squadron,

gives Smith a flag t flown in many locations around the world.

Col. Scot Olson, left, gives Dell Smith his "CSM Smith" hardhat as thanks for his support of Utah National Guard personnel and facilities.

Photo by Greg Cullis

Col. Scot Olson, left, gives Dell Smith his "CSM Smith" hardhat as thanks for his support of Utah National Guard personnel and facilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Command Sgt. Major Joseph Spencer, left, presents Connie and Dell Smith with matching jackets for their upcoming Alaska cruise.

Photo by Greg Cullis

Command Sgt. Major Joseph Spencer, left, presents Connie and

Dell Smith with matching jackets for their upcoming Alaska cruise.

Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce Summers, left, Smith's replacement, congratulates him on a great 36-year career.

Photo by Greg Cullis

Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce Summers, left, Smith's

replacement, congratulates him on a great 36-year career.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Col. Scot Olson, right, and Maj. Hank McIntire serve as co-emcees for Command Sgt. Maj. Dell Smith's retirement ceremony.

Photo by Greg Cullis

Col. Scot Olson, right, and Maj. Hank McIntire serve as co-emcees

 for Command Sgt. Maj. Dell Smith's retirement ceremony.

Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet gives a farewell salute to Command Sgt. Maj. Dell Smith at the conclusion of Smith's retirement ceremony Oct. 4.

Photo by Greg Cullis

Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet gives a farewell salute to Command Sgt. Maj. Dell Smith at the conclusion of Smith's retirement ceremony Oct. 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guests at Command Sgt. Maj. Dell Smith's retirement ceremony give him a standing ovation after his remarks.

Photo by Greg Cullis

Guests at Command Sgt. Maj. Dell Smith's retirement ceremony give him a standing ovation after his remarks.