June 26, 2016 –
FORT BENNING, Ga. – Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith relinquished command of the 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) during a ceremony at Brave Rifles Parade Field on June 26 at 10:30 a.m. Smith, who took command of the Army Reserve division headquartered at Fort Benning in November of 2015, exercised command and control of four brigades located throughout twelve states in the eastern U.S. as well as Puerto Rico.
The 98th’s primary mission is to provide drill sergeants to Army Training Centers, including Fort Benning. “The Soldiers of the 98th Training Division literally shape the character of our Army,” said Smith during the ceremony.“ The disciplined training the drill sergeants provide is the foundation to our Army’s success in combat operations.”
As thousands of Soldiers filter through basic training and one station unit training, Army Reserve drill sergeants are there to augment their Active counterparts on a regular basis. This fact reflects the Army’s ‘One Force’ mentality and demonstrates the Army Reserve's commitment, said Smith. “There is no difference between an Active component or a Reserve component drill sergeant when he or she stops in front of the formation, but that is only possible because our Soldiers are devoted to their military duty.”
In Smith’s short tenure at the division, her team put 140 new drill sergeants into the force, said Maj. Gen. Mark McQueen, commander of the 108th Training Command (IET) who presided over the ceremony. “The mission of the 98th helps to shape the Army’s force for generations to come, and Tammy knows this like no other officer I know. Her command doesn’t just produce good drill sergeants, they produce great drill sergeants. And they do it time and time again.”
Commanding a training division is no easy task, but we knew Tammy was a special leader and up to the task, said McQueen. “When Tammy was selected to command the 98th, there were many of us who said she wouldn’t be here for long. She was going places. She was destined for greater. And, as we stand here today before you, our predictions hold true…we just didn’t think it would be this soon.”
Smith leaves command of the 98th Training Division (IET) to continue onto her next assignment as the Deputy Commanding General for Sustainment at Eighth Army in the Republic of Korea.
“This, my friends, is a big deal and I can’t stress this point enough,” said McQueen. “This is a unique position, but a fitting one, since Tammy Smith is a unique officer and the Army sees great potential in her leadership.”
A replacement for Smith has not been officially announced yet, said McQueen. “The Army does not make these decisions lightly, or in a vacuum.” However, in the interim, Col. Isaac Johnson, deputy division commander, will lead the division until a commanding general is announced.
Although Smith is moving onto a new mission and unit, she said she will not forget her time at Fort Benning and with the 98th Soldiers. “I have been so incredibly proud to wear the Iroquois Warrior patch and be affiliated with the 98th Training Division Soldiers who accomplish a critical, real-world mission for the Army. I have confidence that you will continue to strengthen the Army’s arsenal with its greatest weapon: disciplined training.”