Change of Command ceremony held at Shelby

Tommy Smith is retiring, passing position of State Command Chief Warrant Officer to Donny Dukes
One, long-time officer retiring, while another veteran steps into his boots.
Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 7:36 PM CDT
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CAMP SHELBY, Miss. (WDAM) - Every day, brave men and women make sacrifices to protect and defend the nation.

Two high-ranking officers were recognized for their service Sunday.

The Mississippi Army National Guard held Sunday a change of command ceremony at Camp Shelby honoring two men who had gone above and beyond and dedicated their lives to a great purpose.

Tommy Smith was appointed as the state Command Chief Warrant Officer in April 2018. Sunday, he relinquished his responsibilities as the state CW5 after 35-plus years in the military.

Dukes takes on this role with more than 33 years of military experience.

“I couldn’t think of a better person in the world to leave this charge with, to leave this job with,” said Smith. “Donny Dukes, he is top notch.”

CW5s are master-level technical and tactical experts who provide direction, guidance, resources, assistance, and supervision necessary for junior officers to perform their duties.

“That’s why we’re free,” Dukes said. “For all the men and women who sacrificed and who may have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“That’s why we’re here and we raised our right hand and swore to God that we would defend our nation and I’m just proud to do that.”

Both Dukes and Smith agreed that Sunday tasted a bit bitter-sweet.

They say although they are entering into a new chapter in their lives, they will remain what they’ve always been - a family.

“My parents started raising me,” said Smith, “and I think the National Guard finished raising me.

“I was able to achieve a lot simply because of the great people around me.’

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