Rear Admiral Vinson E. Smith hails from Stonewall, Tennessee. He is a 1969 Gordonsville High School Graduate. Admiral Smith is a highly decorated retired Senior Naval Officer who served his country for 31 years and 11 months in the United States Navy. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Tennessee Technological University, where he was inducted into the Army ROTC Hall of Fam in 2003. He then went on to receive two Master’s Degree, one from Salve Regina University in International Relations and another from the United States Naval War College in Strategic Studies and National Defense.
As a Captain, he Commanded the Navy’s second largest Naval Station in San Diego, California. As an Admiral, he Commanded the Navy’s Pacific Northwest region which included all the Navy Shore installations in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. He also Commanded the Naval Surface Group Pacific Northwest, Task Force 33, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command directing all U.S. Naval Fleet Operations in South and Central America which comprised of thirty-two countries, twelve dependencies and sixteen million square miles of ocean in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. Admiral Smith retired from active duty December 1, 2005. He now serves our country in yet another service role as the Vice President of Operations for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis.
Vinson Smith has mentored, tutored, fed and helped children in the Memphis area for the past eight years. As a Club Director for the Southside Boys & Girls Club, the Bernal E. Smith Boys & Girls Club and now Vice President of Operations. Vinson has helped hundreds of children overcome educational and many other challenges throughout his years of involvement with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis.
As a Club Director Vinson mentored, tutored, coached and lectured thousands of children about the importance of an education, a healthy life style, giving back and making sure one’s name stands for something good in this world. He has routinely provided his personal funds to children for things such as retaking the ACT test, clothing, shoes, food, books, school supplies and other life essentials. He and his wife have provided transportation for former Club members to college. Vinson has an excellent mentoring record, with every teen he has personally mentored has attended college or joined the Armed Services. His wife Sandra is an exceptional chef and has prepared several Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for hundreds of Bernal E. Smith Club members and staff over the years. He has also been an active member of his local Rotary Club, in which he was named the Rotarian of the year in 2006 and 2007 and a Paul Harris Fellow in 2011.
Much as his mentor, the late Bernal Smith did, Vinson recognized years ago that our future resides in our children and to that end he has committed resources and time to improve the lives of children where ever he has been. As a Rotarian, Vinson was awarded the President’s Bronze Medallion for volunteer service in 2009. His actions match what he preaches. Vinson lives by a simple, well known principle, if you help enough people become successful, you will become successful yourself. Vinson and his wife, Sandy, have been married for 44 years and currently reside in Olive Branch, Mississippi.