Smith to succeed Johnson as Virginia Army National Guard’s senior NCO

Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Smith, Jr.

SANDSTON, Va. — Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Smith, Jr., will succeed Command Sgt. Maj. Cheyenne M. Johnson as the Virginia Army National Guard State Command Sergeant Major, according to an announcement made July 14, 2018, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. Johnson will retire after more than 35 years of military service. The transition is scheduled to take effect Sept. 15, 2018.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Johnson has served as a command sergeant major at the battalion, brigade, division and state levels, and his incredibly diverse experience and leadership ensured the Virginia Army National Guard consistently met and exceeded remarkably high readiness standards,” Williams said in the announcement. “He has served the commonwealth and nation with great dedication and leaves a legacy of excellence behind.”

Smith currently serves as the command sergeant major for the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Smith is a proven leader with an extremely broad background at both the tactical and operational levels, serving as an operations sergeant major and battalion and brigade command sergeant major,” Williams wrote. “He also displayed impressive leadership throughout several combat deployments to Panama, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. I am confident that CSM Smith will thrive in this new role and will help to lead our land component to continued success in the future.”

Smith enlisted in the Army on January 19, 1989 and attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training as an 11B Infantryman at Fort Benning, Georgia, and he has served served in every position from rifleman to command sergeant major. While on active duty with 4th Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Smith conducted his first combat deployment to Panama in support of Operation Just Cause. After returning from Panama, Smith served in his second combat tour during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.

In 1995, Smith joined the Virginia Army National Guard after serving six years on active duty. He in a variety of different assignments including scout team leader, field artillery asssistant section chief, section chief, platoon sergeant and gunnery sergeant. He served on federal active duty and mobilized to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland for Operation Noble Eagle.

From 2004-2006, Smith served as a field artillery intelligence sergeant and battery first sergeant. He served on another combat deployment in Iraq as the operations sergeant with the 654th Military Police Company. After serving as an infantry battalion operations sergeant, he was selected in 2007 as the command sergeant major for the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. In 2011, Smith served as the command sergeant major for the 329th Regional Support Group. In 2015, Smith was selected as the 29th Infantry Division command sergeant major. He deployed from 2016-2017, serving first as the command sergeant major for Combined Joint Operations Center-Jordan in support of Operation Inherent Resolve before forming the rest of the Division Headquarters as the Command Sergeant Major of Task Force Spartan in Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

Smith’s military and civilian education includes all levels of the NCO Education System, culminating in the U.S. Army Sergeant Major Academy and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Columbia Southern University in Criminal Justice.