Sgt. 1st Class Michael K. Smith bids farewell to Warrior Care and Transition

Sgt. 1st Class Michael K. SmithSgt. 1st Class Mike Smith pedals through the turnaround point during the Men’s Upright Cycling Competition at the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games (Photo Courtesy Sgt. 1st Class Mike Smith)

By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and Transition

Feb 10, 2017 – His name is synonymous with resilience and passion, just two of the endearing qualities Sgt. 1st Class Mike Smith exemplified during his tenure with the Deputy Chief of Staff, Warrior Care and Transition. Qualities appreciated and recognized by his leadership at WCT. He will now take those qualities and continue to advocate for wounded, ill and injured as he departs for the Fort Belvoir Warrior Transition Unit to become a platoon sergeant and the Adaptive Reconditioning Non-Commissioned Officer In-Charge.

“This is an opportunity to continue my passion of helping the wounded, Ill, and Injured population. I want to lead soldiers, and help them reach their ultimate goals,” Smith said.

"What I really like about having Sgt. 1st Class Smith around is that he embodies the spirit of resiliency. He actively seeks to contribute to something greater than himself by sharing his experiences with others. As a result, he leads them to triumph over adversity in their own unique way," said Col. Thomas Sutton, Synchronization Director for the Deputy Chief of Staff, Warrior Care and Transition.

Smith’s passion comes from personal experience. In 2011, the Texas native was injured in a hit and run motor cycle accident that resulted in the loss of his right arm above the elbow. He worked hard during his recovery with the goal to return to duty. Smith accomplished his goal, becoming the first above the elbow amputee to receive a fit for duty status and continue active duty service.

“Before my injury I was searching for my purpose in life other than being an Army Soldier. I now realize that losing my arm was the best thing that could ever happen to me,” Smith said. “This life altering injury has made me realize who I am, who I want to be, and where I want to go. This doesn’t define me, it only pushes me to be the best I can be.”

“If you need to know what Army Strong looks like you just have to look at Mike Smith,” said Lt. Col. Luis Fregoso, Deputy Director, Warrior Care and Transition Program Synchronization Division. “He epitomizes overcoming challenges and maximizing potential in a new normal. The persona that emanates from Sgt. 1st Class Smith characterizes the spirit of the Warrior Care and Transition.”

“Mike is an exceptional Senior NCO and an exceptional athlete who constantly sets the bar for Soldiers to aspire to and he will be missed” said Thomas Webb Executive Director, Deputy Chief Staff, Warrior Care Transition.

A former Warrior Games and Invictus Games athlete, Smith is always seeking a challenge. Smith now has his eyes on a bigger prize for his athletic future as he sets his sight on the 2018 Winter Paralympic games.

“Everything is an accomplishment at this point, I’ve created a whole new set of goals for myself,” said Smith. “I hope other Soldiers will follow my lead. You only get one life, you have to make the most of it.”