Jamaine Smith has led an exceptional life. She enlisted in the Army in 1985, serving as a generator mechanic before training to become a legal specialist. She deployed to Korea and Germany, then to Iraq for Operation Desert Storm. Since separating from the Army, her dedication to service has led her down a new path—Smith recently became the first woman to command Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3337 in La Place. This Independence Day, Smith led the Pledge of Allegiance during the annual Salute to the Flag ceremony, at the Veterans medical center in New Orleans.
Smith first became interested in the VFW in 2012 after noticing VFW members in the community raising funds to support Veterans. She was immediately drawn to the cause as well as the fact that her local post was so active.
“For me to see someone actually doing something in the community, I said to myself ‘I need to be a part of that,’” she recalled. “And once I got in, I liked it. It made me want to grow what we were doing.”
In short order, Smith was named adjutant of her post. From there she was elected junior vice commander and continued on a path to leadership.
“I saw how they supported everyone who moved up in the organization when it was their time to lead, and I knew that I wanted to do the same,” Smith explained.
In May, Smith became the commander of her post after being elected by her peers. Her goal is to build on VFW’s tradition of community service.
“We’re a community post. We encourage family,” said Smith. If veterans are in need, they can come to us and present that need. We will do whatever we can to help them. We want to serve our community and serve Veterans.”
Smith hopes to expand the post’s role in the community by increasing its membership, including attracting women Veterans to join.
Smith is excited about the Salute to the Flag and leading her fellow Veterans and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Asked about the event, she remarked, “It’s a huge honor to stand there with my fellow Veterans and once again repeat my pledge. I love my Veterans. Anything I can do to help and support, I’m with it.”
Phil Walls is a public affairs specialist at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System