This past weekend, ROA's Department of Florida, made history when it selected Senior Master Sergeant Shane P. Smith & Master Sergeant Marian C. Smith, USAFR to lead the department's Air Force section.
With Shane serving as Air Force Vice President and Marian selected as the Deputy VP, they become the first Non-Commissioned Officers to occupy leadership posts in the organization's 91 years.
Since expanding membership eligibility to non-commissioned officers less than a year ago, ROA has welcomed some of the nation's finest young service members to our ranks.
The leadership of today's NCO corps on the battlefields of Iraq & Afghanistan speaks for itself and now those experiences are shaping the future of ROA's membership.
Accepting his new post, SMsgt Smith acknowledged the charge set forward by his unprecedented election. "I intend to demonstrate to my fellow enlisted members that they do have a voice in the ROA and encourage them to support and join the organization. I also hope to be an effective and inspirational representative for the Air Force members in our department."
One look at the Smith's resumes and its easy to see the embodiment of today's NCOs: at once diverse, independent & adaptive. In announcing his candidacy SMSgt humbily summed up proud career in and out of uniform.
"As a Citizen Airman, I proudly wear the rank of E-8 and the title of Senior Master Sergeant while performing my duties as a Combat Rescue Loadmaster Evaluator for the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. I am trained to conduct covert, low-level, insertion, extraction, and airdrop of special operations personnel and equipment and perform tactical helicopter mid-air refueling utilizing night vision devices in combat and peace-time on an HC-130 Combat Rescue King aircraft. To date, I have flown over 2,500 hours on more than 1,000 sorties, including 56 combat sorties during Operations JOINT ENDEVOUR, SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.
As a civilian, I currently serve as the Chief Financial Officer for a utility-scale solar developer in Central Florida. In this position, I spearhead the company’s efforts to be first-to-market to develop, finance and build numerous large utility-scale merchant solar power facilities in the Southeastern US without any impact to the ratepayer or taxpayer. Among the many roles I assume within the company at any given time, I am primarily responsible for leading the project financing activities including but not limited to performing project quantitative analysis, building tax equity monetization structures, leveraged finance models, and drafting deal information memoranda. I have been awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Columbia College and Associates in Applied Science degree from the Community College of the Air Force"
As for the new deputy VP, Master Sergeant Maria Smith brings a history of advocacy and action to her new position.
Sergeant Smith has been an active member in the Top Three, Air Force Sergeants Association and Reserve Enlisted Association. She has been a club officer of Toastmasters International for seven years, attending district conferences and officiating local area speech contests. She was awarded her CCAF degree in Logistics Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Sergeant Smith provided direct support for Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Provide Comfort while she was stationed at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey (1990-1991). She has deployed to Prince Sultan Air Base Saudi Arabia (2000) and Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait (2002-2003) supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
With NCO's like the Smith's taking an active role in the future of our organization ROA is looking forward impacting the lives of service members in more diverse and effective ways than ever.