1981 - Posted by Rachael Stanton
Major General Robert B. Smith
Major General Robert B. Smith, USA (Ret.), attained his two stars and the position of Deputy Commanding General of the 6th Army before his retirement in 1973. He had serves as the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Information, with offices in the Pentagon, prior to his final assignment. As Deputy Chief of Staff for Information, he called upon his degree in journalism, earned at LSU, and upon his reporting experience at the Lake Charles American Press.
Robert Smith was born in DeQuincy, LA, on April 22, 1920. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Malcom Smith. His father was an alderman and city clerk. Smith graduated as the valedictorian of his grade school class prior to entering DeQuincy High School, and that summer he gained his first journalistic experience as a printer’s devil for the DeQuincy News. He was paid $1.50 each week.
He served as the sports editor of the DeQuincy High School News during his tenure there, and he also serves as the correspondent for the Beaumont, Enterprise as well as the American Press. Upon graduation in 1937, he enrolled at LSU with the ambition of becoming a sports writer for the Associated Press.
On Feb. 22, 1941, during his senior year at LSU, he married Gladys Borel, also of DeQuincy. Their marriage was the first to be celebrated at the LSU Catholic Student Center. It was a military wedding, arranged by his cadet classmates in the ROTC.
Robert was commissioned as Second Lieutenant, Field Artillery, on May 19, and he was called to active duty in July, only a few months before Pearl Harbor. He was still a few credits short of his degree in journalism.
Smith served on active duty until November 1945, and he was discharged as a Lieutenant Colonel. Following his tour of duty, he worked for the American Press in Lake Charles from December 1945 until April 1947. He served as a reporter and sports writer until he was named telegraph editor.
In July 1947, he returned to military service. He attended the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, before being promoted to full colonel in October 1958.
Smith was named Chief of Troop Information in August 1962 and was stationed at the Pentagon. However, he still lacked that LSU journalism degree, and he felt that further advancement in the military ranks depended upon the diploma.
Smith contacted the director of the LSU Journalism School at LSU and learned that through a combination of credit examinations and correspondent courses he would be able to complete the few remaining course credits required.
In June 1963, Colonel Robert Bruce Smith received his BAJ after 22 years after leaving LSU for a military career. That August he was promoted to Brigadier General, the youngest general in the Army.
He retired from the Army as a Major General in 1973, beginning a second career as a security company executive and consultant. In 1981, he retired from that position. He now lives with his wife Gladys in Napa, California. They are parents of one daughter, Susan, and two sons, Bruce and Richard.