A cloudless Friday morning set the perfect stage for the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence change-of-command ceremony.
During the event, Maj. Gen Leslie Smith accepted the role of new MSCoE commander, a position formerly held by interim commander Brig. Gen. Mark Inch, who previously relinquished command to Brig. Gen. Mark Spindler.
“It's humbling,” Smith said of his acceptance. “If you understand where I have come from, and then where I am today, that's a story we need to tell our young people.
“I'm an example of the investment in a young man that has paid off big dividends, which is the same thing that I have to do as a leader and commander,” Smith continued.
Inch served as the post commander for two months before being replaced by Smith on Friday.
“I really appreciate the experience and getting to work with a great staff at the MSCoE level,” Inch said. “I'm glad I had that opportunity.”
After reviewing the various military units, Smith accepted his new position with a powerful speech.
“Every job you do prepares you for what you're going to do next,” Smith said after the ceremony. “The compilation of time working as a lieutenant … to lieutenant colonel, and then the different jobs we've done here at Fort Leonard Wood, help prepare you for becoming the commanding general.”
Smith’s previous assignment was the 4th Commander of the United States Army 20th Support Command (CBRNE – Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-yield Explosives).
His early assignments include the 1-230th Field Artillery Battalion of the 48th Infantry Brigade; Chemical Staff officer in the 3-52d Air Defense Artillery Battalion; Division and DIVARTY staff officer and company commander in the 82d Airborne Division; Chemical Branch PERSCOM; S-3 and XO in the 23d Chemical Battalion and the Joint Staff, J-5. In 2001, he assumed command of the 83d Chemical Battalion, where elements of the Battalion deployed in support of Operations New Dawn, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Following command, he served on the Army Staff in the G-8 as the Deputy Division Chief and Chief, NBC Branch for the Full Dimensional Protection Division. In 2005, he assumed command of the 3d Chemical Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, and later served as the G-3, 20th Support Command (CBRNE), and the 25th Chief of Chemical and Commandant of the United States Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School.
Smith was named a distinguished military graduate from Georgia Southern University in 1985, and his military education also includes the Chemical Officer Basic and Advanced courses, Airborne School, Jumpmaster School, Command and General Staff College, and National War College.
When asked what he is looking forward to most as new post commander, Smith immediately replied, “Everything.”
Page 2 of 2 - “If you look at the soldiers on the field, sailors and Marines, and you look at the community, how can you have a bad day?” Smith asked, before answering his own question. “You cannot.”