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The “Backbone of the Army” was strengthened Dec. 2 when the Army added Sgt. Jerani Smith to the noncommissioned officer corps rolls.

Smith, a native of Dublin, Georgia, is undoubtedly the most junior leader on Redstone Arsenal, an installation better known for having one of the Army’s most senior leaders at Army Materiel Command. This reality has created both challenges and opportunities for Smith. When asked what her most difficult challenge since arriving at Redstone as a young specialist was, she responded “Adapting to working side by side with senior leaders on a daily basis after coming from a battalion unit ministry team.”

She has adapted and now has even more opportunity to do what she enlisted for and what she enjoys the most about her career as a religious affairs specialist, helping Soldiers.

Perhaps that is the reason the second stanza of the NCO Creed resonates so personally to her.

“My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind – accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers,” Smith said.

As a member of the 2nd Recruiting Brigade’s unit ministry team, Smith is responsible for assisting its two chaplains as they provide ministry and counseling to the brigade’s more than 2,200 Soldiers and civilians.

Smith is proud of her career so far, and views this promotion as one of her most rewarding Army accomplishments. It provides validation to the hard work and effort she applies to her vocation. It’s the reason her large family, who were initially apprehensive of her enlistment, are now fully supportive.

Smith acknowledged a trio of NCOs, Master Sgt. Christy Wise, Sgt. 1st Class Caleka Booker and Staff Sgt. Kate McErvin, whose mentorship has helped her get to where she is today. They continue to serve as strong role models providing a blueprint for her career. And as far as her future is concerned, she plans on working to earn a master of science in nursing. This will enable to continue her passion of helping Soldiers and their families.

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