MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. – U.S. Special Operations Command held a combined change of responsibility and retirement ceremony inside the headquarters' Wargame Center, Aug. 3, 2022. Command Sgt. Maj. Shane Shorter assumed responsibility of USSOCOM from Command Chief Master Sgt. Gregory Smith, who held the position for more than three years.
Gen. Richard Clarke, commander of USSOCOM, was the host of the ceremonies. During his speech, Clarke spoke about Smith's career spanning more than 32 years of service, with 26 of those years being in the special operations.
"I know for me personally, I absolutely hired the right guy into this command, because he made a difference," said Clarke about selecting Smith as his command senior enlisted leader. "He is brilliant, anyone who knows Greg, knows he is brilliant. He really is the savant of SOCOM. He can tell you, 'Back in 2010 when I was at the commander's conference we did this' and this is why this decision was made."
Clarke thanked Smith for his leadership, sage advice and commended him for his unique strategic intellect and knowledge. He then explained Smith's true value to the command was his due to his focus on, what he termed 'the three P's,' - partnership, people and professionalism.
"The other 'P' that I just want to hit with Greg is people. Greg, values our people," said Clarke. "Greg and I have had the opportunity to go to Walter Reed many times to visit our wounded service members over the last three years and Greg values our people. He saw how important the ties, the families, the things that needed to be done, because he truly cares deeply about our people. And I got to witness that every day, not just in his personal interactions with the people but also with the systems that he tried to set up within this headquarters."
Smith, who served as the USSOCOM command senior enlisted leader since July 2019 accepted his retirement award, orders and certificate prior to passing the USSOCOM Colors to Shorter. During his comments Smith thanked the many senior leaders who attended representing the U.S. joint force and the international SOF partners and allies.
"To the staff, the team, and the SOCOM enterprise, it has been an unbelievable honor to work for you," said Smith. "To the men and women of USSOCOM, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be a member of your team. I love you all, God bless this command and the United States of America."
Clarke expressed his confidence in Shorter to take the reins of responsibility from Smith due to his previous experience and assignments mostly centered in the Indo-Pacific theater.
"The great news about this community is that we have amazing draft choices and when one person leaves there are so many others that can come in and take their place," said Clarke. "Shane with a just phenomenal career, much of it spent at our 1st (Special Forces) Group and out in Okinawa. Given where this command is and where the National Defense Strategy is (focused). Shane Shorter is the right guy to come in here at this point in time."
Shorter thanked Clarke for his confidence in him and thanked Smith for the thorough transition prior to replacing him as the CSEL for USSOCOM.
"I would like to take a moment to personally thank Greg for his long service to the nation and his service and dedication to the SOF enterprise." said Shorter. "I will finish with my last thanks, thanks to all of you, every single person that makes up the SOF enterprise. In my opinion, the best organization on the planet. Without each of you this organization would not be as strong. I am honored to serve with you, I am humbled for the opportunity in front of me and proud to be one of your teammates."
Shorter, comes to the position after serving as the Commandant of the Joint Special Operations University. He previously served as command senior enlisted leader for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Camp Smith Hawaii and has served as a Special Forces NCO for 30 years.