Family, friends, co-workers and community members gathered to say farewell to Brig. Gen. Tyler Smith, the former assistant adjutant general-Army, Utah National Guard, at his retirement ceremony March 15, 2022, in the Lundell Readiness Center at Camp Williams, Utah.
After a 35-year career, Smith’s lasting impact will be felt for generations among Utah Guard members. Mentorship of his fellow officers and an example of fairness will continue on in the officers he has inspired through his years. His efforts to protect and preserve Camp Williams will ensure the Utah National Guard will remain ready, trained, and able to serve.
“He is known for his fairness,” said Brittany Howell, executive assistant to the adjutant general of Utah, who worked with Smith for years. “Smith would always look out for Soldiers. He was there when they were doing well, but also there for the Soldier when they were struggling. When a Soldier had to be disciplined, he was there to rebuild them.”
As the AAG, Smith was the legislative liaison for the Utah National Guard. He ensured readiness and well being of current and future Utah Guard members to the Utah legislature. Among his accomplishments he raised funds for readiness centers, increased healthcare benefits, and bolstered state tuition assistance. He also lobbied to protect Utah's renown training areas.
With the development growing around Camp Williams he recognized the need to protect an area around the installation for training and a reserve for wildlife while balancing the need for growth around the camp. His efforts have preserved more than 2,000 acres of land around Camp Williams, including 400 acres of compatible use agricultural land, migration paths and habitat for a variety of Utah’s wildlife.
“Few other places in the country have seen more advanced development than in Utah along the Wasatch Front, and finding a solution that accommodates that growth and still enables ongoing training at Camp Williams while protecting the surrounding environment is a great accomplishment,” said Mike Ford, southwest director at The Conservation Fund. “This could not have been possible without the enthusiasm of the Utah National Guard and the National Resources Conservation Service.”
In addition to protecting the land, Smith was instrumental in securing water rights for Camp Williams for the first time in the its history. He was also instrumental in rebuilding and upgrading the pump at Beef Hollow springs on Camp, which had been destroyed in a fire prior to 2012 and remained unusable for most of a decade.
Among the awards and momentos given to the retiring general, Rosemary J. Beless, an attorney with Fabian VanCott, gave him a nondescript three-ring binder. She explained that this binder contained the lasting legacy of Smith’s efforts to gain and preserve the water rights on Camp Williams. That the binder represented every drop of water and every well now officially owned by Camp Williams for drinking, irrigation, livestock, and emergency supply so the Utah National Guard will always be able to use the water for its needs.
In his remarks after his change of command held the previous Sunday, Smith explained the following.
“One of the most memorable and valuable memories I will treasure and carry with me always, is the opportunity I’ve had to visit Soldiers in their environment,” said Smith at his change of command. “It’s one of the fundamental roles of a general officer to inspire the troops. And I have to say that it is I who am inspired by the Soldiers of this organization. America’s finest young men and young women who raise their right arm to the square and join the military; they are just awe-inspiring. I joined the Army in 1986, and it’s a very different Army now. These young people who are coming in are incredible. That is what I’m going to take with me.”