CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti --
Sgt. Maj. Gary Smith assumed the role as the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa senior enlisted leader from Air Force Chief Master Sgt. James Davis July 15.
As the senior enlisted leader, Smith’s responsibilities include serving as the principal advisor to the CJTF-HOA commander on all issues affecting the health, morale, welfare and professional development of more than 1,800 Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps personnel.
“I’m looking forward to this journey,” said Smith. “It’s not every day that you’re afforded the opportunity to jump into an organization which has all branches of service. I’m ecstatic, and this is a phenomenal impact because you can plant seeds of greatness across all services.”
Maj. Gen. Rob Baker, CJTF-HOA commander noted his reasons for selecting Smith as the new senior enlisted leader.
“All of the [command senior enlisted leader] candidate packages were very strong, but what stood out for Sgt. Maj. Smith to me, during his distinguished Marine career, is his recent tour leading Marines as the director of the Staff NCO Academy,” said Baker. “He is uniquely suited to serve as my CSEL here at CJTF-HOA.”
Smith’s focus as senior enlisted leader is to train and mentor the leaders of tomorrow through empowerment.
“The bulk of my time is going to be involved around being a mentor and taking care of all the enlisted service members in the areas of professional development and leadership,” said Smith. “We’re going to do this through empowerment, which means we’re going to power down. We’re going to power down our young noncommissioned officers, our middle management leaders, and our senior leadership. By us empowering down we are training service members to be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Prior to being chosen for this assignment, Smith served as the director of the Quantico Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy.
The mission of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, one of the U.S. Africa Command components stationed at Camp Lemonnier, is to conduct operations in the combined joint operations area to strengthen partner nation military capacity, promote regional stability, dissuade conflict, and protect U.S. and coalition interests.