Leslie Nicole Smith
VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans
Leslie Nicole Smith, a retired Army Captain, graduated from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia and received her commission from the Army ROTC program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Leslie was then assigned to the Nuclear Biological Chemical Corps, and also attended the Army Defense Information School, enabling her to serve as a Public Affairs Officer. Leslie deployed to Bosnia in September 2001 with the 29th Infantry Division for Stabilization Force 10 during Operation Joint Forge. While in Bosnia, Leslie developed a blood clot and returned stateside two weeks before the end of her deployment. She was immediately admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and diagnosed with a blood infection, resulting from exposure to a chemical agent or toxin. Ultimately, Leslie lost her left leg and she is now legally blind. Leslie was never discouraged by her losses and forged ahead. Her positive attitude carried over into her work at the USO and the Department of the Navy. Despite her challenges, Leslie is a dedicated advocate for Veterans and serves as a Peer Mentor for the Wounded Warrior Project.
In 2007, Leslie served as a Wounded Warrior Advocate on the President George W. Bush Commission for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors. The following year, Leslie spoke at the Republican National Convention and proceeded to campaign as a Tier 1 Surrogate across the country for the McCain presidential campaign. She is also an active spokesperson for several organizations including Fatigues to Fabulous, the USO, the Fisher House Foundation, Canines for Veterans, Freedom Alliance, Operation Warrior Wishes, and the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. Most recently, Leslie has become an Ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Travis Manion Foundation. She has appeared on Lifetime’s Project Runway All Stars to raise awareness for women Veterans and on the daytime drama, Days of Our Lives, for a special Veterans episode dedicated to PTSD. Leslie has shared her inspirational story across the country including the White House, West Point, and Wall Street.