Cadet Alex Bryant Smith graduates West Point

Thursday, July 10, 2008

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Cadet Alex Bryant Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ron Smith of Jonesboro, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy on May 31.

Alex is the grandson of the late Jim Barber and Carolyn Barber of Lake City and Peggy Blair of Jonesboro.

Cadet Alex Bryant Smith proudly displays his West Point diploma.

Smith graduated with honors from Riverside High School in 2004. While at West Point, he concentrated his studies in International Relations and Systems Engineering.

He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army within the Field Artillery branch and will report to Germany for his first assignment.

Graduation festivities at West Point occurred throughout the entire week. Each department held receptions in honor of the graduates and to welcome the families of these students. The week's excitement was heightened with a graduation parade on Friday morning that included a moving separation of the Class of 2008 from the rest of the Corp of Cadets and a tribute to that class by the Class of 1958. Families then enjoyed a Graduation Banquet and dance to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating class.

On Saturday morning a large crowd gathered at Michie Stadium for the graduation ceremonies. The impressive ceremony was a once in a lifetime event for Smith and his family. Secretary of the Army the Honorable Pete Geren delivered a moving address directed at the graduates and recognized the great commitment made by these men and women who had entered the Academy during a time of war--fully recognizing the challenges ahead after their four years of school. He also addressed the families and recognized the costs for each and the great price paid by these great Americans in an effort to promote peace and freedom throughout the world.

Following the graduation exercises the bar pinning ceremonies were held for respective companies. Smith took the commissioning oath and was then pinned by his mother, Traci Smith, and his sister, Miss Allison Smith. He received his beret from his father, Ron Smith.

Attending Smith's graduation were his parents, Ron and Traci Smith, along with his sister, Allison Smith, who is an upcoming sophomore at Valley View High School. Traveling from Lake City were his Nanna, Carolyn Barber, his great-aunt Martha Carter, and his uncle Blake Barber. Shawna Starnes of Jonesboro, Karen Baaklini of Peachtree City, Ga., and Alex's aunt and uncle, Greg and Ashley Warrick along with 8 month old Brooks Warrick, were present for the festivities as well.

Alex was honored at a graduation party at his home in Jonesboro on June 22. amily and friends in attendance came from northeast Arkansas and from Texas. Photographs and memorabilia from graduation were on display throughout the home.

The mission of the academy is "to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army."

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