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News: Smith assumes command of Joint Task Force Guantanamo

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Smith assumes command of Joint Task Force Guantanamo Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Hammond

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. David B. Woods departs after relinquishing duties as commander, Joint Task Force Guatanamo at a ceremony at the downtown lyceum at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, June 25, 2012. (Joint Task Force Guantanamo photo by MC2 Joshua Hammond, U.S. Navy)

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John W. Smith, Jr. assumed the duties as commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), from U.S. Navy Rear Adm. David B. Woods during a ceremony held today at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. U.S. Air Force General Douglas Fraser, commander, U.S. Southern Command, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.

Woods, who began his tenure as commander, August 24, 2011, will report for duty as commander, Strike Force Training Pacific, San Diego, Calif.

Prior to assuming command of JTF Guantanamo, Smith served as deputy director, Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Fla.

Smith has commanded two aviation squadrons, including Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11, deployed aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 10, the Fleet Replacement Squadron for the HS community. He also served as commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

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 Victory Base Compound, Baghdad, Iraq, responsible for fielding, sustainment, and combat readiness for the Counter Radio Controlled IED Electronic Warfare system in Multi-National Corps-Iraq.

Smith entered the Navy via the Aviation Officer Candidate program in 1982 and was designated a naval aviator in 1984. 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 more than 4,200 hours in H-3 and H-60-F/H/B aircraft.

JTF Guantanamo conducts safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detainees, including those convicted by military commission. JTF-GTMO conducts intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination for the safety and security of detainees and JTF Guantanamo personnel working in facilities as well as in support of ongoing overseas contingency operations. JTF Guantanamo also provides support to law enforcement, war crimes investigations and the Office of Military Commissions.


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U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John W. Smith, Jr. is piped aboard...
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U.S. Navy Rear Adm. David B. Woods is piped aboard prior...
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U.S. Air Force General Douglas Fraser, commander, U.S....
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Liana Merrill, a recent graduate of Guantanamo Bay's...
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Troops from Joint Task Force Guantanamo render honors at...
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Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, commander, U.S. Southern...
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Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, commander, U.S. Southern...
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Distinguished guests observe the change of command...
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Troops from Joint Task Force Guantanamo attend change...
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Gen. Douglas M. Fraser is commander, U.S. Southern...
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Gen. Douglas M. Fraser is commander, U.S. Southern...
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U.S. Navy Rear Adm. David B. Woods, left podium,...
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Debby Woods, wife of Rear Adm. David B. Woods, is...
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U.S. Navy Rear Adm. David B. Woods reports his relief as...
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U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John W. Smith, Jr. reports to Gen....
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Maple Smith, wife of Rear Adm. John W. Smith, Jr., is...
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U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John W. Smith, Jr. delivers remarks...
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USAF Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander, U.S. Southern...
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This work, Smith assumes command of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:06.25.2012

Date Posted:06.25.2012 18:22

Location:NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, CUGlobe

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  • On Tuesday, July 16, 2013, Joint Task Force Guantanamo conducted a change of command ceremony where U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Richard W. Butler assumed command.  Rear Adm. John Smith Jr., the outgoing commander, relinquished command and will be reporting to his new posting as Commandant of the Joint Forces Staff College.
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  • Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is the oldest overseas U.S. Naval base, the only base located in a country with which the U.S. does not maintain diplomatic relations, and is home to the Joint Task Force Guantanamo detention facility. All this information is easily found on the Internet, but there is another side to GTMO that is not as easily found by typing "Guantanamo Bay" into a search engine: The base is also a wildlife refuge, providing protection for a variety of fluffy and scaly creatures that do not have the chance to flourish on the rest of the island.
  • Joint Task Force Guantanamo's Joint Detention Group, consists of Army and Navy service members working together as camp guards for Joint Task Force Guantanamo since 2005, providing safe care of detainees at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo.

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