A Greenwood man recently honored as the South Carolina Army National Guard Warrant Officer of the Year.
South Carolina Army National Guard CW2 Jason Smith received a letter from Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, Adjutant General of the South Carolina Army National Guard, last week informing him of his selection as the top warrant officer in the state. Smith said he was surprised, to say the least.
“It’s very humbling to receive an award like this,” Smith said. “It validates what me and my team do on a daily basis. It belongs as much to my team as it does to me.”
Smith, a native of Cresson, Penn., joined the Army in 1992 and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. After six years in the regular Army, he joined the South Carolina National Guard. In 2009, after rising to the rank of Sgt. 1st Class (E-7), Smith went to Warrant Officer school. He has received numerous awards and commendations throughout his career, including six Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medals and five Good Conduct Medals. He served a tour in Iraq in 2003-04.
Smith’s passion for serving the country comes from a strong bloodline of military service. His father served with the Marines in Vietnam and his uncle retired from the Army after serving more than 20 years.
“I love the Army and the National Guard,” Smith said. “It’s an opportunity for me to serve our nation and, with the National Guard, to serve our state. Plus, I really like the camaraderie.”
During his tour in Iraq, Smith was nearly killed when an IED was detonated near the vehicle in which he was riding.
“We were travelling in a convoy when all of a sudden there was a huge explosion right outside the vehicle,” Smith said. “It shattered all the windows and we all had glass all over us. We were able to make it further up the road, set up security and clean ourselves off. It was a close call. Another split second on the detonation and none of us would be here.”
In spite of that harrowing experience, Smith says he is proud to serve his country. The Warrant Officer of the Year Award only serves as a motivator.
“(Soldiers) all do a lot of work and a lot of times we’re not recognized,” Smith said. “I am proud of my team. This has only motivated me to do even more.”