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.