Commander Robert S. Smith, Jr. is a native of Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in May 1993, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Personnel Management. He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
Commissioned an Ensign through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) program at USC, CDR Smith's initial Division Officer sea duty assignments were as Repair Division Officer in USS INCHON (LPH 12) from December 1993 to March 1995, participating in Operations CONTINUE HOPE, DENY FLIGHT, and SUPPORT DEMOCRACY. He was next assigned as Engineering Fuels Officer in USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) from February 1998 to July 1999, during which, KITTY HAWK relieved USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62) as the Forward Deployed Aircraft Carrier, homeported in Yokosuka, Japan.
His Department Head sea duty assignments included Combat Systems Officer in USS UNDERWOOD (FFG 36) from February 2000 to August 2001. In September 2001 he reported to USS BELLEAU WOOD (LHA 3) as Surface Operations Officer, deploying in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Chosen for Early Command, CDR Smith took command of MHC Crew INFLICT in October 2004. As part of the Mine Force's "Crew Swap" program, INFLICT rotated between USS FALCON (MHC 59) in Ingleside, TX, USS RAVEN (MHC 61) in Manama, Bahrain, which supported Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and SEA DRAGON IIA, and USS ORIOLE (MHC 55) in Ingleside, TX. Decommissioning both INFLICT and ORIOLE in June 2006, he then took command of MHC Crew CONQUEST embarked in USS CORMORANT (MHC 57). Subsequently, CONQUEST provided in-depth training to two Egyptian Navy crews as part of the Foreign Military Sale of MHC Class Ships. He decommissioned MHC Crew CONQUEST in March 2007.
CDR Smith returned to sea as Chief Staff Officer for Commander, Amphibious Squadron THREE (CPR 3) in April 2007, deploying to FIFTH Fleet AOR with 15th MEU/USS PELELIU (LHA 5) Expeditionary Strike Group in support of Operations IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM, Exercises STAKE NET II, EAGER MACE and INFINITE MOONLIGHT. Returning to the Mine Force, CDR Smith assumed duties as Commander, Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Squadron TWO Chief Staff Officer/MCM Class Squadron (CLASSRON) Deputy Commander in June 2009, where he oversaw the relocation/ redistribution of the MCM Class Ships and Staffs from Ingleside, TX to San Diego, CA, Manama, Bahrain, and Sasebo, Japan. CDR Smith reported as Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron TWO's (MAREXSECRON TWO) Executive Officer in June 2011 and fleeted up to be Commanding Officer in August 2012.
Commander Smith's personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Army Commendation Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), as well as various campaign awards and unit commendations.