Rear Admiral Louis M. Smith received the 2016 Alumnus of the Year award at the Marquette University NROTC Naval Services Ball at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee November 11.
Admiral Smith was born and raised in Milwaukee. He graduated from Pulaski High School, and enrolled at Marquette and NROTC, in 1962. He was in the Class of 1966, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in January of 1967, when he was commissioned a Navy Ensign.
Louis was first assigned to the Civil Engineer Corps. His initial tours were with the Seabees, including three tours of duty in Vietnam, where he was responsible for constructing combat facilities for the Marine Corps. Then came a facilities construction tour in Hawaii, and a facilities maintenance position in Brunswick, Maine. Next it was back to school: Smith was sent to Purdue University, where he earned his Master's Degree in environmental engineering. That led to an assignment in Omaha, Nebraska for an exchange tour with the U.S. Air Force at the Strategic Air Command.
Washington D. C. then welcomed Smith, where he worked with the Department of Defense and Congress on military construction projects for a variety of bases. An unusual location followed: assignment to frigid Keflavik, Iceland, where he ensured that Navy facilities there operated well.
Then it was back to Washington D.C., where Smith was assigned to the staff of the Secretary of the Navy. His post in the Comptroller's Office involved analysis of a $3,200,000 facilities maintenance budget. He was then promoted and sent to San Francisco in 1987, in charge of the Navy's construction on the West Coast. This entailed management and supervision of 31 construction offices in the 26 western United States. Smith and his staff awarded more than $8,000,000 in construction contracts in a single year, plus 138 design contracts for the following year. Among these were a Navy Drydock in Bremerton, Washington; and Balboa, a San Diego Naval Hospital.
Smith then moved to San Diego to command the Navy Public Works Center there, with a staff of 3,200 people and annual revenue of $350,000,000. There were 425 Navy tenant activities in the San Diego vicinity under his care.
Back again in Washington, Smith was promoted to Rear Admiral and worked for the Chief of Naval Operations, as Director of Shore Activities. That entailed responsibility for all 360 Naval facilities in the world.
Awards and decorations earned by Rear Admiral Smith include the Distinguished Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, and FOUR Legion of Merit Medals.
Dedication to Marquette NROTC has been shown many times by Admiral Smith. In 2000 he donated $3,000 for the Unit to acquire computers, and another $600 in 2006 for computer upgrades. Admiral Smith was Guest of Honor at the Naval Services Ball in 2002, and was guest speaker at a Navy Awards Day celebration.
Admiral Smith has served on the Board of Directors of the Flying Leathernecks Association, and the Veterans’ Administration. He belongs to the San Diego State Navy/ Marine Corps Veterans’ Committee. During his long and successful Naval career, Admiral Smith left lasting imprints on the physical structure of American Naval Forces, as well as the Marquette NROTC Unit