Rear Admiral John Smith Jr.
Rear Admiral Smith entered the Navy via the Aviation Officer Candidate program in 1982 and was designated a naval aviator in 1984. Prior to command, he flew with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 3 aboard the USS Saratoga (CV 60), Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 43 Detachment 1 aboard USS Ford (FF 54) and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 4 aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). He also served as an FRS instructor with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 1.
Smith’s squadron command tours include Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11 and deployed aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, .and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 10, the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) for the HS community. His most recent operational assignment was as commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
Ashore, he served as deputy director of Equal Opportunity (PERS 61) in Washington, DC; and head aviation commander Helicopter Detailer, Bureau of Naval Personnel (PERS 43) Millington, Tenn.
In September 2005, he was selected to be Joint Force Maritime Air Component commander for Joint Task Force Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2008, Smith assumed command of Joint CREW Composite Squadron 1 in Baghdad, Iraq, responsible for fielding, sustainment, and combat readiness of Counter Radio Controlled IED Electronic Warfare systems. In 2009,he served as Chief of Staff for Navy Cyber Forces in Little Creek, Va. From 2010 to 2012, he served as deputy director, Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, responsible for coordinating joint, interagency and international efforts to combat illicit drug trafficking and narco-terrorism.
Smith currently serves as Commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
He holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting from South Carolina State College and a Master's degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and various campaign, service and unit awards. He has flown over 4,200 hours in H-3 and H-60-F/H/B aircraft.