Nov. 3, 2022 –
Kenric Smith joined the Army in 1993 because he wanted to serve; but, like Frank Sinatra, he wanted to do it his way. Smith’s father had served in the Air Force and hoped his son would follow in his footsteps. Smith chose a slightly different path.
Smith retired in 2018. He regularly calls on his active-duty experience in his civilian career at AMCOM, especially in his current position as the Army Aviation and Missile Command, or AMCOM, assistant chief of staff. “My Army experience paved the way for what I’m doing now,” Smith said. He enlisted as an ammunition specialist, but after a few years in the Army, he realized he wanted to affect change.
Smith signed up for the Green to Gold Program, a two-year program that provides eligible, active duty enlisted Soldiers an opportunity to complete a baccalaureate degree or a two-year graduate degree and earn a commission as an Army officer. Two years later, he was commissioned as an Aviation officer.
The Las Vegas native is a recognizable figure at AMCOM. He serves as the narrator for many AMCOM events. Smith’s moments of fame started while he was on active duty. In 2006 while deployed to Kuwait, with the 96th Aviation Support Brigade, then Capt. Kenric Smith was the subject of an Army Public Affairs interview on his unit preparing the 101st Aviation Brigade’s UH60 Black Hawk helicopters for transport.
Smith’s oldest daughter was born while he was deployed to Afghanistan. His younger daughter was born just before he left for another deployment. He saw first-hand the strength of military families, prompting then Maj. Smith to pen an essay on the strength of the military family. He then recorded the essay and it was aired nationally on “This I Believe” during Veterans Week in 2012.
Smith’s best memories of his Army service was his assignment as a professor of Military Science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, from 2012 to 2015. “I really love seeing the cadets being successful in the Army. Some are now captains and majors.
In 2014, Smith led a cultural language program for which he accompanied 60 cadets to Tanzania for the summer. “It was a great opportunity for them to be immersed in another culture so that their first overseas experience wouldn’t be when they went to war,” Smith said. “I was issued [orders] and instructions to ‘See what you can do with these kids overseas. And, don’t kill them,’” Smith said.
Smith retired in 2018. His last duty station was Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He immediately walked into a job as a program analysis contractor.
“I started two days after I retired, doing the same job I had in the Army,” he said. Smith started working for AMCOM as a logistics management specialist in AMCOM’s Field Maintenance Directorate in 2020. He has since worked in various jobs but claims his best experience thus far has been working with AMCOM’s Security Assistance Management Division.
“My best memory is [travelling] to Abu Dhabi on a foreign military sales mission this year,” he said. “It was memorable because I was able to work with our foreign partners doing similar missions that I did while I was in the Army.”
Throughout his Army career, Smith did things his way with the goal of ensuring his unit and his Soldiers were successful on missions and individually, respectively. Now, as a government civilian, Smith recently assumed the position as the AMCOM assistant chief of staff. He’s still doing things his way, but now his goal is AMCOM’s continued success.