COLUMBIA, SC – VoteVets PAC, the largest progressive group of veterans in America, is today endorsing James Smith to be the next governor of South Carolina.
“James Smith is the very definition of what a patriotic public servant is, and that’s why he’s going to win the primary, and be the next Democratic governor from South Carolina,” said Rick Hegdahl, veterans outreach director for VoteVets. “The men and women who become JAGs, instead of looking for money in private practice are all dedicated public servants. But for James to give that up, so he could join and serve with the infantry in Afghanistan, after 9/11, is above and beyond what this country calls for. With James Smith as governor, South Carolinians will know that they have someone in the governor’s office who never puts himself first. With James, it is all about service to others. We need that in America, right now. We’re very proud to endorse him.”
James Smith joined the United States Army Reserve in January 1996 as a Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) officer, transferring to the South Carolina Army National Guard in the same role in August 1998. In 2001, following the September 11 attacks, Smith resigned his commission and enlisted as an infantryman, beginning basic training at age 37. In February 2007, Smith deployed to Afghanistan as an infantry officer, part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He Commanded a combat advisory team, and worked to bring 2 of his 3 interpreters to the United States. Unfortunately one of them died while attempting to leave Afghanistan, but he was able to successfully bring the other over, who now works with Smith, in Columbia. Smith and his team captured the number one high value target Mullah Saleem, who killed more Americans and more Afghans than any other Taliban commander in the region and built the IED that blew up his Smith’s truck.. During his 12 month tour, he received the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and Purple Heart.