Retired Gen. Lance Smith looks at some of the plaques of Officer Training School distinguished alumni on display Feb. 17. He and Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson, currently deputy U.S. military representative to the NATO Military Committee at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, were honored with an induction ceremony. (Air Force photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)
Basic Officer Training Course class 12-03 completes their graduation parade, with the two distinguished alumni reviewing the graduates Feb. 17. An A-10 flyover paid tribute to Johnson, a command A-10 pilot. (Air Force photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)
2/24/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Air University and Officer Training School honored the 2011 OTS Distinguished Alumni class with an induction ceremony Feb. 17.
Retired Gen. Lance Smith and Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson, currently deputy U.S. military representative to the NATO Military Committee at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, were inducted for their lasting contributions to national security and for their lifelong commitment to service.
The presiding officer for the ceremony, Lt. Gen. David Fadok, president and commander of the Air University, challenged the newly commissioned second lieutenants of Basic Officer Training Class 12-03, in attendance for the distinguished alumni ceremony, to live up to the legacy of the two generals, both OTS graduates.
"We all stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us, and we are inspired by their legacy," Fadok said. "Here at the Air University, we pride ourselves on producing the future for our Air Force. And the two inductees we honor today are proof to you new lieutenants that through hard work and determination the future can be very bright for all of you."
Smith entered the Air Force in 1970 after receiving his commission from OTS. With more than 3,000 hours in nine types of aircraft, he was a command pilot with 165 combat missions in Southeast and Southwest Asia. Smith also served as the commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation, where he held operational control over nearly 1.2 million U.S. military personnel as force provider to combatant commanders, and led the transformation to improve interoperability and military effectiveness of the alliance and its member nations.
"It's truly a tremendous honor to be here today to receive this great distinction," Smith said. "It is also humbling to stand before so many future leaders who are now part of the one percent -- not the small percentage of Americans who will make millions, but the one percent that stands up to defend this great nation and makes a dedication to service. I'm thankful to receive this honor, but even more thankful for you."