Donald B. Smith is the 53rd Sheriff of Putnam County. He was elected to this position on November 6, 2001 and assumed the duties of Putnam County Sheriff on January 1, 2002. Immediately prior to becoming the Sheriff of Putnam County, he had served as the Deputy County Executive of Putnam County.
Sheriff Smith was born in Danbury, Connecticut, and grew up in Patterson, New York. Following his graduation from New York Military Academy at Cornwall-on-the-Hudson, New York in 1965, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated in June of 1969, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Armor.
During his company grade years he served as a Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, Cavalry Troop Commander, Instructor, and Company Tactical Officer in a variety of assignments at Fort Ord, California; Fort Knox, Kentucky; West Point, New York; and in the Republic of Vietnam. His tour in Vietnam included service as both a Platoon Leader and Troop Commander in C Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry.
Following graduation from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, General Smith was assigned for duty in the U. S. Army Europe, where he spent 6 years in the 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized). While assigned to the Pathfinder Division, he served as Battalion Executive Officer, Deputy G1, Division G1, Battalion Commander, and Division Inspector General. General Smith’s command tour with the Division was in Mainz-¬Gonsenheim, Germany, where he commanded the 4th Battalion, 69th Armor from 1982-1984.
Following his tour in Europe, General Smith returned to the United States where he attended Senior Service College as a fellow at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Upon graduation in 1986, he was assigned as the Chief of Armor Branch, followed by service as the Combat Arms Division Chief, both within the Officer Personnel Management Directorate of the Army’s Personnel Command. He commanded the 194th Separate Armored Brigade at Fort Knox, Kentucky, from August 1989 to August 1991. Following Brigade Command, General Smith served as Deputy Director of Personnel Support Policy and Services in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from September 1991 until September 1993. His final assignment on active duty was with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, serving as the Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver through November 1994, followed by service as the Assistant Division Commander for Support.
From 1993 through 1996, General Smith also performed the major additional duty of Chief of the United States Delegation to the Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM), a world organization consisting of 113 member nations who promote world peace by sponsoring military sports world championships. He served on the Executive Committee of this international organization and also was the President of its Permanent Commission for Information and Public Relations from 1994 through 1996. General Smith served as the Chief of Delegation and Chief of Mission for the United States at the First Military World Games in Rome, Italy, in September of 1995.
General Smith has attended numerous Army schools and training programs, including the prestigious Leadership Development Program for Executives taught at Eckerd College, and also has earned a Master of Science Degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
Sheriff and Mrs. Smith, the former Jane Christine Powell, recently celebrated more than 40 years of marriage. Their son, Chris, graduated from James Madison University and is a consultant in the Washington, D.C. area. Chris has one child – a daughter. Sheriff and Mrs. Smith’s daughter, Cherilynne, is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia and is an elementary school teacher. She is married to Jesse Marsalis, who is a Major in the United States Army. The Marsalis’ have six children, four sons and two daughters. The Smith family was recognized as a Great American Family while stationed in Mainz, Germany in 1983.