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Soldier of the Quarter, Q12024

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Quarter One - January, 2024

Sergeant Justin Smith

Sergeant Justin Smith joined the 101st Airborne Division Realism Unit on September 23rd, 2020 where he was first assigned as a Machine-Gunner in Second Squad, First Platoon. Since then, Sergeant Smith has made an exceptional example for all of us, acting as a guiding hand with historical information, activity participating in staff shop roles, and being the anchor for our Glider Field Artillery.


From the beginning, Sergeant Smith made an impact on the appreciation for our subject matter, sharing his experiences in reenacting, and his knowledge of the Second World War! His constant push for the unit to be more authentic has lead us to where we are today! Sergeant Smith has been a steady rock for our indirect fire team since first opening of Mortars, Sergeant Smith being the steady advocate for the growth and employment of this team. His participation in Research & Development, Uniform Production, and maintenance of the Website has been a key factor in the growth and maintenance of the 101st Airborne Division. Thank you for all you do, Sergeant Smith! 



Why did you join the 101st Airborne Division?

Around 2020, I had recently left a German WW2 unit after it had fallen apart and was interested in joining an American unit. After searching the Steam forums for a while and coming across the 101st, I found it appealing due to the variety of roles.

Any favorite/funny/memorable moment throughout our whole time in the unit?

One of the most memorable times in the unit was during a campaign in which we acted as artillery. After firing a barrage at a high angle, the wind had shifted it, destroying nearly the entire platoon.

Any advice to give to your fellow Paratroopers?

Listen to your NCOs, trust in their ability to lead you and their experience, and do not be afraid to ask questions or seek advice from leadership. If you need help, especially in a combat-related scenario, then there is no such thing as a stupid question, and don't be afraid to seek guidance from your leadership; they are also there to help you along in the unit.

What value is the most important to you and why?

I think the most important value is accountability. Owning your mistakes is an integral part of being in the unit, and the importance of being on time and ready to ask questions if you need clarification or help can not be understated.

What motivates you? 

Both seeing my long-time friends and being able to meet new ones helps motivate me in this unit. When you are online with the same guys repeatedly, you develop a bond that continues until you realize that you have been with those few guys for years and are genuine friends. It feels like being buddies in real life; most guys in the unit can relate to that.

What would you say about the progress of the unit, and how you've contributed to it?

The unit has grown monumentally over the past few years from a single squad to a full-on platoon featuring an in-house artillery unit and medical section. Additionally, since I joined, I have done nearly every role in the unit besides aviation, giving myself an impression of how fleshed out the unit is, with our training and discipline being incomparable to other units.

Any valuable lessons you have learned while being in the unit?

Listening well and learning to follow orders while being on your feet and unafraid to make snap decisions have been some of the most impactful lessons that have been given to me over the past few years, and are important in the real world as well.


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