Ala. National Guard gets new leader

MG Perry Smith
MG Perry Smith

MONTGOMERY, AL - The Alabama National Guard will soon welcome Maj. Gen. Perry G. Smith as the new Adjutant General.  Smith will take over the reins from Maj. Gen. Abner C. Blalock, the Alabama Guard's most senior officer since 2007. Governor-elect Robert Bentley selected Smith in December to head the Alabama Army and Air National Guard.

A ceremony will be held Sunday, January 16, at 9 a.m. at the newly built Joint Force Headquarters Armed Forces Readiness Center at 1720 Congressman William Dickinson Drive in Montgomery.

A photo of Smith was not immediately available.

Smith retired from the Alabama Army National Guard in 2008, but under the Alabama Constitution, governors can call a Guardsman back to duty to serve as Adjutant General. The Adjutant General is a state cabinet position, though the individual selected must be a federally recognized Army or Air Force general officer.

Smith graduated from Auburn University in 1973 and was immediately commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. Smith joined the Alabama National Guard in 1975 and had a long, varied career, moving as high Chief of Staff for the 167th Theater Support Command before serving a three-year tour on active duty with Army Materiel Command just prior to his retirement.

The Adjutant General is the leader of the Alabama National Guard, in command of both the Alabama Army and Air National Guard. As such, he is responsible for more than 13,000 Soldiers and Airmen and billions of dollars of facilities and equipment throughout the state.

Media are encouraged to attend the change of command ceremony. In order to ensure access to the headquarters compound, media members should contact the Alabama National Guard Public Affairs Office by 4 p.m., January 14, to get on the access roster.