Lieutenant Colonel Mark Schmitt, Class of 1987

Outstanding Achievement in Military Service

Born into a family fully involved in the F-M district -- his mother taught health and father physical education -- LTC Mark Schmitt was destined to succeed in both academic and leadership positions. 

"There was a general climate of excellence in the school and an expectation that F-M students could and would excel after graduation." Joining the F-M Pride varsity soccer team, Mark picked up the importance of teamwork, preparation, fair play, pride in appearance and conduct, intense physical fitness, self-discipline and commitment to excellence that paralleled his future army career.

West Point was a natural continuation of F-M's proud and competitive spirit, from where he graduated with a B.A. in 1991. Inspired by the countless teachers who brought passion and mastery of their subjects into the classroom, Mark continued his education, earning an M.A. in International Relations at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in 2003 and a Warfighting degree from the Army's Command and General Staff College in 2004. Wanting to further his credentials even more, he became qualified as an Army Parachutist and in Army Air Assault.

Directly after graduating from West Point, Mark was commissioned a Field Artillery Officer, assigned not soon after to the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea where he served as Fire Direction Officer. Throughout the past 20 years, he has distinguished himself through many positions from Battalion Operations Officer in Fort Sill, Oklahoma to Fires Warfighting Function Chief in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, rising through the ranks by excellence. 

Along the way, he collected a fair share of honors and awards: two Bronze Star Medals, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Parachutist Badge and the Air Assault Badge. He has also been appointed to two commands, an incredible achievement in his field in and of itself.

Recently, Mark took his exemplary skills to the next level. In August 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Specifically chosen for this position, there he trained Afghans to take over their own security.

The Army is a perfect fit for Mark in the way that its values run deep. Not a far cry from high school soccer, teamwork is central, creating a beautiful camaraderie that makes Mark love his career so much. Every day commanding 400 personnel in a U.S. Army Field Artillery Battalion, Mark works alongside people who share his values and interests. 

Taking a note from his outstanding former teachers, now Mark is the one to inspire his employees to accomplish their goals, only, instead of by teaching a subject, by setting an overall vision and organizational goals, managing a $2 million annual budget and managing other administrative functions within the U.S. Army.

When he is not off making our country proud, Mark is just your typical guy who enjoys a game of soccer, basketball and skiing. But his greatest interest of all is being a father to William, Gavin, Roxanne and Ryan with wife Gaylelee of 14 years. Family has played a large role in Mark's life as an unshakeable support system. "I'm most proud of my family's resilience and ability to sustain itself when I am away for the Army."

Despite being all over the world and the U.S. with the Army, Mark still remembers his time at F-M fondly. 

"I hope to someday settle back in Fayetteville and possibly work for the school district or the community."

May 2013 

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