RANDOLPH, NJ- Major General Michael R. Smith, USAR, Ret., who has lived in Randolph Township for over 30 years and served as Deputy Chief of Army Reserve until he retired on June 30, will lead the Randolph Kiwanis Freedom Parade as Grand Marshal when it kicks off at Noon on Saturday, July 1.
“We chose Major General Smith to be Grand Marshal because of his exceptional record of service to our nation for nearly 40 years,” said Parade Director Geoff Price.
“As Deputy Chief of Army Reserve, Major General Smith held the second highest uniformed position in the Army Reserve which defends our nation and responds to homeland emergencies. He worked on strategy, planning, programming and resourcing.”
The Army Reserve is a highly trained force of more than 200,000 soldiers and civilians with a "footprint" that includes 50 states, five territories, and more than 30 countries.
The Randolph Kiwanis Freedom Parade - one of the largest Fourth of July weekend parades in New Jersey - is sponsored and organized by the all-volunteer, not-for-profit Randolph Kiwanis Club in partnership with Randolph Township.
The Freedom Parade will start at the Mount Fern Methodist Church, 443 Quaker Church Road in Randolph, proceed down Quaker Church Road, make a right on to Center Grove Road, cross Route 10 and finish at the lower parking lot of the County College of Morris in Randolph.
Performing for the first time in the Freedom Parade will be the 78th Army Band, which is an Army Reserve marching band based at Fort Dix, NJ.
Also making his first appearance in the Freedom Parade will be singer/songwriter Brendan Fletcher who competed on the 11th season of NBC’s hit show “The Voice”, singing his way to the semi-finals. Fletcher was raised in Randolph, graduated from Randolph High School in 2008 and currently is living in Brooklyn, NY.
The Freedom Parade will also feature other bands, military units, first responders, community groups, historical reenactments and fun attractions.
Major General Smith assumed the position of Deputy Chief of Army Reserve on October 1, 2015. He was commissioned as a United States Army Reserve Officer in June 1978, and has served in a variety of command and staff positions, including three tours in Iraq totaling over 48 months.
A native of Hoboken, NJ, Major General Smith earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Saint Peter’s College (N.J.) in 1978, and a Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2003. He is a graduate of the Finance Officer Basic Course, the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, the Advanced Joint Professional Military Education, and CAPSTONE.
Major General Smith’s individual awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with one Oak Leaf Cluster), the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with four Oak Leaf Clusters), the Air Assault Badge, the Combat Action Badge, and the Joint Staff and Army Staff Identification Badges.
For the last decade, Major General Smith has been predominantly on military duty. His civilian career is in the field of finance, accounting and auditing. He is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in New Jersey. He and his wife, Bernadine, have six children.
“The Freedom Parade is a great annual tradition in Randolph that not only celebrates our freedom and salutes the service - and sacrifice - of our active military and veterans but also brings everyone together,” said Price.