MRICD hails new detachment commander

Capt. Angel Smith, left, accepts the unit flag from MRICD Commander Col. Margery Hanfelt as she assumes command of the MRICD detachment during an Assumption of Command ceremony, Sept. 29, 2017. | U.S. Army Photo by Pam Kaye, MRICD

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, or MRICD, welcomed its new detachment commander, Capt. Angel Smith, during a traditional assumption of command ceremony, Sept. 29, 2017.

Taking the podium, MRICD Commander Col. Margery Hanfelt first thanked Capt. Michele Velez-Landron for stepping in as interim detachment commander for the past two months and for doing an excellent job.

Hanfelt described Smith as exactly the kind of leader she wanted for the position of detachment commander. Remarking on Smith’s “wealth of experience,” Hanfelt noted, “She’s been enlisted, rising to staff sergeant and an officer. She’s been [Army] Reserve and active duty. She’s been deployed and she’s been garrison. In other words, she’s been there, done that.”

“Command takes you to another place, and I want to tell you that you are ready,” said Hanfelt to Smith. “I believe in you. I have every confidence in you, and I know you will excel.”

“I’m so happy to be here, believe me,” said Smith. “My family knows. They know what it took for me to get here.”

“You and your families are the reason why I have been afforded this grand opportunity,” Smith told the audience. “I fully understand that Sgt. 1st Class [Terry] Keith’s, your detachment sergeant, and [my] presence is wanted and appreciated. Although I have a dual role as detachment commander and health services human resource manager, it’s all good because I’m going to give you my very best work ethic, display compassion, but also be fair and impartial when I need to be. I am always going to ask and remind our leaders to place the needs of our Soldiers first so that we all remain accountable and responsible.”

“Life’s so precious and short,” concluded Smith, “so with every soul you come in contact with, ensure you have impact, influence, be engaged and invested, because when you are, you’ll never be forgotten.”

Smith hails from Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Pre-medicine and Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame. She enlisted in the Army in 1997 as an automated logistics specialist and later transitioned to the Army Reserve in 2001. In March 2009, then Staff Sgt. Smith was selected for direct commission as a field medical assistant.

As an officer, Smith has served as an Army Medical Department healthcare recruiter in Shreveport, Louisiana; as the S1 officer in charge for the 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas; as executive officer for Company A, 86th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Campbell, Kentucky; as assistant S3 for the 86th Combat Support Hospital; and as the platoon leader for the 333rd Medical Company in Savannah, Georgia.

Smith’s military awards include the Meritorious Service, Army Commendation, Army Achievement and Good Conduct medals.

By Cindy Kronman, MRICD