ArmyEdSpace Spotlight

Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Kevin Smith, Recruiting Operations Officer, The University of Texas at Arlington

Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Kevin Smith
Arlington, TX
Recruiting Operations Officer, The University of Texas at Arlington Army ROTC 

Kevin Smith, Lieutenant Colonel (retired), enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1978. He commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Military Intelligence Corps in 1983 and branch transferred to aviation in 1985. He served a 33-year career in the Army and Illinois National Guard, and in 2001, came to Arlington, Texas, where he has made significant contributions to the University of Texas at Arlington’s Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) as Assistant Professor of Military Science and Recruiting Operations Officer. On March 21, 2015, Mr. Smith was inducted into the University of Texas at Arlington’s Corps of Cadets Alumni Chapter Hall of Honor

Mr. Smith presented information about opportunities and options available through Army service to 160 high school students who attended the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) Latinos on the Fast Track (LOFT) event at the University of Texas at Arlington. He also supported a Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) College tour that took place on the UT-Arlington campus in 2014.

Why did you join the Army?
My father spent a total of 35 years in the military. He was an Army dentist and retired as a brigadier general. I felt that we had a blessed life and that I should give back to society, just as he had. I did a total of 33 years in uniform and now my son has been in for four years; he gave me the same reason as I gave my father for joining—he wanted to make a difference in the world.

What were you surprised to learn about the Army through your experience? 
I was surprised that I could do a lot more than I thought I could do and learned to never give up.

How do partnerships with community organizations help, or make a difference for, the Army? 
I currently sit on several community organization boards, including the Chamber of Commerce’s “Champion Education Board,” which is tasked to foster quality education, leaders and citizens for the workforce. I think it is critical to be involved and partner with community organizations because they are a force multiplier for the Army in terms of networking with community influencers and finding quality prospects for the Army. And as an additional benefit, we can help them with their missions, so everyone succeeds.

What has been your most interesting or memorable experience or interaction while in the U.S. Army? 
That is a very difficult question. After 33 years in uniform, I have had some amazing and memorable experiences with the Army. I have been on five of the seven continents and met people all over the world and was also able to learn some of their languages and cultures. The world is full of amazing people and places. But some of my most memorable experiences occurred performing high-altitude search-and-rescue missions in the Rocky Mountains, covering five states. One particularly remarkable experience happened in 1991. I was the Pilot in Command on a mission in Iraq, and I rescued a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. Twenty years later, I ran into his brother serendipitously in an Army dining facility overseas. It really is a small world. 

Why do you feel military service should be considered a viable post-secondary option? 
The military offers options and opportunities that most cannot imagine when they look into it. It provides a family of like-minded individuals that want to make a difference in the world, and it prepares you to be successful in any walk of life.

Why do you feel it is important for community leaders and influencers to support the Army?  
Many, if not most, of our Soldiers and officers will not stay active duty for 20 years, but rather serve three to 10 years and then have a career in the National Guard or Army Reserves. Thus, they become an amazing resource of quality employees and leaders for communities and businesses. Our Soldiers and officers go on to be skilled leaders in academic, theological, political, corporate and community endeavors. 

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