HAGERSTOWN -- After serving two tours of duty in Iraq and losing some of his soldiers in the November 2009 shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, an Army colonel with Hagerstown roots is moving closer to home.
Col. John Thomas Smith said he will arrive July 18 at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., to attend the U.S. Army War College before going to his next duty station. On Friday, he relinquished command of an infantry training brigade at Fort Hood after serving as its leader for more than two years.
"I'm excited about coming back and being closer to family," Smith said in a telephone interview Thursday. "My parents live in Hagerstown and one of my brothers lives there."
Smith graduated from North Hagerstown High School in 1979. Five years later, he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Smith's military career has led to several assignments in the Middle East, including a stint as an artillery officer in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and two tours of duty in the more recent conflict in Iraq.