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Force Master Chief
Force Master Chief
Commander Mike Smith
Commanding Officer, Airborne Command & Control Squadron (VAW) 125
26 October 2020
A native of Fairfield, California, Commander Smith graduated from California State University, Sacramento in 2000. He was commissioned through Officer Candidate School at NAS Pensacola, FL in November 2003 and earned his Naval Flight Officer Wings in the E-2C Hawkeye in November 2005.
After completing training at VAW-120, the E-2 Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), CDR Smith reported to the “Black Eagles” of VAW-113 in June 2006. He completed two deployments aboard USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76), participating in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
He reported back to VAW-120 as an instructor in June 2009, where he contributed to early E-2D Advanced Hawkeye training curricula development. CDR Smith attended the E-2 Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course and, after qualifying as a WTI, went on to training with the Northrup Grumman Company to become one of the “initial cadre” of E-2D instructors at the FRS.
CDR Smith returned to the Fleet in 2012 as Flag Aide to Commander, Carrier Strike Group EIGHT. During this tour he made two deployments aboard USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69), participating in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Upon completion of his Flag Aide tour in 2013, CDR Smith attended the Naval Post Graduate school in Monterey, CA, earning a Master of Business Administration focused on government financial management.
In 2015, CDR Smith again returned to the Fleet as Department Head in VAW-115, the “Liberty Bells,” forward Deployed to Atsugi, Japan. While with the “Liberty Bells,” he completed four FDNF Patrols aboard USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73) and USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76) after completing a trans-Pacific carrier hull swap in 2015. During his time as a Department Head, CDR Smith helped plan and execute the “Liberty Bells” homeport change to Point Mugu, CA in summer 2017.
Following his department head tour, CDR Smith reported to NORAD and USNORTHCOM where he served as an action officer in the Homeland Defense Plans Branch of the J-5, and later as the Executive Officer to the Director of Strategy, Policy, and Plans.
CDR Smith reported to Iwakuni, Japan in April 2019 as Executive Officer of the squadron VAW-125 The World Famous Tigertails, and was promoted to Commanding Officer in February 2020.
CDR Smith has accumulated over 1,800 flight hours. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal (1 award), Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4 awards), and Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
VAW-125 Commanding Officer