HomeNewsArticle Display

Colonel promotes wife, then retires

U.S. Air Force Col. Kristine B. Smith, 710th Combat Operations Squadron deputy director from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., stands surrounded by her family as they pin on her colonel rank, July 14, 2017, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Smith was promoted by Col. Dustin P. Smith, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces Central Command chief of staff and her husband, as his last official duty in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

Col. Kristine B. Smith, the 710th Combat Operations Squadron deputy director, from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., stands surrounded by her family as they pin on her colonel rank, July 14, 2017, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Smith was promoted by Col. Dustin P. Smith, the Headquarters U.S. Air Forces Central Command chief of staff, and her husband, as his last official duty in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Col. Dustin P. Smith, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces Central Command chief of staff, promotes Col. Kristine B. Smith, 710th Combat Operations Squadron deputy director from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., July 14, 2017, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. The former USAFCENT chief of staff promoted his wife as his last official duty in the Air Force before retirement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

Col. Dustin P. Smith, the Headquarters U.S. Air Forces Central Command chief of staff, promotes Col. Kristine B. Smith, the 710th Combat Operations Squadron deputy director, from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., July 14, 2017, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. The former USAFCENT chief of staff promoted his wife as his last official duty in the Air Force before retirement. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Col. Dustin P. Smith,right, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces Central Command chief of staff, receives a flag from the Team Shaw Honor Guard during his retirement ceremony, July 14, 2017, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Smith was a senior air battle manager with 1,800 flight hours in the NATO E-3A and E-3 B/C aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

Col. Dustin P. Smith, the Headquarters U.S. Air Forces Central Command chief of staff, receives a flag from the Shaw Air Force Base Honor Guard during his retirement ceremony, July 14, 2017, at Shaw AFB, S.C. Smith was a senior air battle manager with 1,800 flight hours in the NATO E-3A and E-3 B/C aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (AFNS) -- When military members hold their promotion ceremonies, many times their families enjoy the occasion alongside them.

Spouses, children, parents, siblings and other relatives witness the time-honored ceremony and take part in the tradition of pinning or tacking on the next rank.

For Col. Kristine B. Smith, the 710th Combat Operations Squadron deputy director, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, her promotion meant a little more this time.

Col. Dustin P. Smith, the Headquarters U.S. Air Forces Central Command chief of staff, at Shaw Air Force Base and Kristine’s husband, stood right by her side as he promoted her July 14, 2017.

The new colonel’s journey began 21 years ago when she joined the Air Force in August 1996 as an air battle manager on Ground Theater Air Control Systems, then for the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft.

She first crossed paths professionally with her future husband when she was a lieutenant.

“I worked for him in the air control squadron, and he was my supervisor,” Kristine said. “We’re in the same career field, but he’s six years senior to me. So, we’ve always been in the same circle as far as (our) careers go.”

She expressed it wasn’t until years later that they eventually started dating. Once married and with their first child, Kristine said she decided to transition into the Air Force Reserve, after eight years on active duty.

For the last few years in the Reserve, Kristine was a program manager until her current job at the 710th COS.

“We are responsible for the (AN/USQ-163 Falconer) Air Operations Center, so management of the operational level of war,” she explained.

Through their marriage, Dustin has been by her side,a big reason for his part in the promotion ceremony.

“He’s my husband,” she continued. “He’s been my biggest cheerleader, a mentor, a supervisor. He serves both roles in my professional and personal life, so there’s no better person to promote me. We’ve been doing this for 15 years together, and before he retires, he gets to see me as a colonel.”

This was a role the former USAFCENT chief of staff proudly took on for his final duty in the Air Force.

“It’s always an honor to do a promotion, and it’s special to do hers,” Dustin said. “I promoted her to lieutenant colonel, so it’s an honor to be asked again for colonel. It will be my last promotion, but it won’t be hers.

“It worked out perfectly. As I’m leaving my role as colonel and she steps in, I think the timing is perfect. It worked out that way through chance, but in the end, it keeps the lineage going, keeps the Smith colonels going.”

Immediately following Kristine’s promotion ceremony, the chief of staff officially retired after 26 years of service. He was a senior air battle manager with 1,800 flight hours in the NATO E-3A and E-3 B/C aircraft.

Before his final position, he was the USAFCENT director of operations where he played a critical role in the opening phases of Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel. His leadership ensured seven directorates and nine special staff agencies maximized use of limited resources to ensure the generation of more than 3,000 combat sorties, resulting in more than 7,700 air strikes against enemy forces.

As he pondered his wife’s career, he had nothing but glowing remarks for her. According to Dustin, her supervisors and leaders could see her “talent” which he credits to her always being at the top of her peers.

“She’s done a phenomenal job over the last 15 years we’ve been married,” he continued. “She’s doing it all-an Air Force officer, a wife, a mother. She balances that all so well. We get to benefit from her outstanding work and service.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
#Airmen maintain #F16 Fighting Falcons at Campia Turzii, #Romania, as part of Theater Security Package 19.1. They h… https://t.co/0pAANJMo3j
A new travel payment process for pipeline students, initiated by the #AirForce Installation and Mission Support Cen… https://t.co/OcQzldU3OK
.@PACAF Gen. CQ Brown Jr. met with Mongolian & US senior leaders, affirming their growing partnership.… https://t.co/Pg5Ma2NFUQ
Nondestructive inspection specialists identify possible defects in systems & equipment before anything can become a… https://t.co/7OHMrlLE39
.@SecAFOfficial praises #Airmen, expresses gratitude in farewell remarks reflecting on her tenure as #AirForce secr… https://t.co/bv177Nr7nk
.@SecAFOfficial was honored during a celebration ceremony @Andrews_JBA May 21, 2019, an event which highlighted her… https://t.co/tMSo0I8KxO
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you to the #Airmen & families serving around the world for the #USAF. https://t.co/CYWpd8Aeuh
Today #USAF celebrates the rapid innovations and accomplishments of @SecAFOfficial, the Honorable Heather Wilson.… https://t.co/dVQM3A5DWF
RT @SecAFOfficial: Proud to have had the opportunity to be your wingman. https://t.co/gDMUq5yA7L
RT @SecAFOfficial: .@MIT is a leading institution for AI research, education & application —making this a huge opportunity for the #USAF as…
.@HQAirUniversity recently hosted @SecAFOfficial's 66th annual National Security Forum, enabling the sharing of per… https://t.co/qBlG5F69ah
#ICYMI #Barksdale Airmen deployed in support of @CENTCOM Bomber Task Force in early May @DeptofDefense. The #B52 is… https://t.co/o8yJgq72dm
Tomorrow the #AirForce will celebrate @SecAFOfficial's tenure as the 24th Secretary of the Air Force. #WatchLIVE as… https://t.co/mTuhuZaNxu
RT @DeptofDefense: Throughout the history of the @USAirForce, adaptation and innovation have played a key role in sustaining global suprema…
It was "Fangs Out" @HAFB for Exercise Venom 19-01 which aligned with Hill’s Combat Showcase. https://t.co/3UtNLRYcp1 https://t.co/5d3JW876IH
The #B52 Wise Guy, a cold warrior that stood sentinel over America from the darkest days of the Cold War to the glo… https://t.co/yxSgZpsBKY
Have a bright idea for ways to #FuelMoreFight? @AFEnergy's looking for you. https://t.co/nbHISOo0KP
Congratulations to #USAF Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadet Maj. Sydney Cloutier from Pensacola High Schoo… https://t.co/baRvgYsuPC
Grand Forks AFB soon to be known as America's Global Hawk Base once the @319ABW is re-designated as the 319th Recon… https://t.co/EBRkBhkE0f