Aggie Confirmed To Lead US Marine Corps
In a unanimous vote Thursday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Gen. Eric M. Smith ’87 as commandant of the Marine Corps, placing the four-star general and Texas A&M University graduate at the helm of the elite military branch and its 200,000-plus active duty and reserve personnel.
Smith, who served as the Marines’ assistant commandant before being nominated for the top job by President Joe Biden in May, earned his bachelor’s degree in political science while serving as a leader in Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets. He was commander of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band and a member of the Ross Volunteer Company.
His time at A&M launched him to a successful military career both at home and abroad, commanding troops during three wars and serving as deputy commandant for combat development and integration, among other roles. He has been awarded two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Bronze Stars, a Legion of Merit and a Purple Heart.
Smith’s confirmation coincides with that of Gen. Randy A. George, who will serve the U.S. Army as chief of staff. In a statement released Thursday, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III expressed confidence in both George and Smith as they ascend to their new roles. Both will hold seats on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“I want to congratulate General Randy A. George and General Eric M. Smith on their confirmation as our nation’s next Chief of Staff of the Army and Commandant of the Marine Corps, respectively,” Austin said. “They will each be incredible leaders of their Service and will work to strengthen and modernize our military for the challenges ahead.”
Since graduating, Smith has made a number of return trips to Aggieland to speak with A&M cadets and serve as the reviewing officer for Corps march-ins. Current commandant of the Corps of Cadets, Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis ’93, offered Smith his congratulations Thursday afternoon, saying, “Texas A&M couldn’t have produced a better leader.”
“I can’t think of a finer Aggie and Marine to best represent our great country and this university and our Corps of Cadets,” Michaelis said. “We are better off today because he is our commandant of the Marine Corps.”