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A route to success: Former Idaho Statesman paperboy becomes Space Force commander

A route to success: Former Idaho Statesman paperboy becomes Space Force commander

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Colonel Smith

Col. James Smith, a Meridian High graduate, has been confirmed as a Space Force brigadier general.  

MERIDIAN — A Meridian High School graduate and former Idaho Statesman paperboy was confirmed as a Space Force brigadier general on Thursday, according to a news release from Peterson Air Force Base.

Col. James Smith, a 23-year Air Force veteran, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as commander of Peterson-Schriever Garrison, a team of 2,500 personnel headquartered in Colorado.

Space Force is a branch of the U.S. Armed Services founded under President Donald Trump that is intended to address national security threats from space. It is the first new military service created since the Air Force in 1947.

The news release said Smith was delivering newspapers 30 years ago in the Treasure Valley.

“I was actually a paperboy for the Idaho Statesman during my high school years. I can honestly attribute success in the Air and Space Force to the discipline that job taught me,” Smith said in the release.

Smith left Idaho in 1991 to enlist as a cadet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, the release said. He graduated in 1997 and later deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the base’s website. He recently served as commander of the 50th Space Wing.

“When I first left Boise for the Air Force Academy, I didn’t necessarily know what kind of career awaited me,” Smith said. “However, I’ve had incredible opportunities and served with amazing people all around the world. I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue to serve my country.”

Smith’s garrison is part of the Space Operations Command, whose mission includes gathering combat intelligence and overseeing missile warning systems, satellite communications, electronic warfare and cyberspace missions.

“We directly enable the execution of numerous Space Force missions ... all capabilities critical to preserving the ‘American way of life,’” Smith said in the release.

“I’m humbled to be selected for the rank of brigadier general. ... It would have been hard to imagine this milestone as I left Boise.”

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