Lieutenant Colonel Michael F. Smith completed Officer Candidates School via the Platoon Leaders Class Combined program in the summer of 1999. He was commissioned in May 2000 after graduating from the University of Maine at Orono with a degree in Political Science. Upon completion of The Basic School in May 2001, Lieutenant Colonel Smith reported to Naval Aviation Training Command in Pensacola, Florida and was designated a Naval Aviator in May 2003.
In June 2003, Lieutenant Colonel Smith reported to Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron (HMHT) 301 at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii for training in the CH-53D “Sea Stallion.” Upon completion of training in October 2003, Lieutenant Colonel Smith reported to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 463, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 24, at MCBH.
While assigned to the “Pegasus,” Lieutenant Colonel Smith served as the Assistant Logistics Officer, Logistics Officer, Airframes Officer, Weapons and Tactics Instructor, and Assistant Operations Officer. Lieutenant Colonel Smith deployed three times with HMH-463; from January to August 2004 as part of the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) and 31ST Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), from March to October 2006 to Al Asad, Iraq in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, and again in support of the UDP from January to June 2008.
In June of 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Smith reported to Marine Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1), Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona. In July, Lieutenant Colonel Smith completed CH-53E “Super Stallion” Series Conversation training at HMHT- 302, MCAS New River, North Carolina. During his tour at MAWTS-1, Lieutenant Colonel Smith held billets as the CH-53 Training and Readiness (T&R) Manual Syllabus Sponsor, Aviation Naval Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (ANTTP) Model Manager, MAWTS-1 Infrared Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (IR MANPADS) Subject Matter Expert (SME), Heavy Lift Subject Matter Expert SME, Forward Looking Infrared SME, and Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course Long Range Raid Evolution Coordinator. Lieutenant Colonel Smith served as the MAWTS-1 CH-53 Division Head from June 2010 until June 2011.
Upon completion of his MAWTS-1 tour in June 2011, Lieutenant Colonel Smith reported to the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island for Intermediate Resident Professional Military Education where he earned a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. Following Command and Staff in June 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Smith reported to HMH-466, MAG-16, MCAS Miramar in San Diego, California.
While assigned to the “Wolfpack” Lieutenant Colonel Smith served as the Logistics Officer, Operations Officer, and Aviation Maintenance officer. Lieutenant Colonel Smith deployed with the “Wolfpack” as the Operations Officer in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM 14.1 to Camp Bastion, Afghanistan in January 2014. Upon return from the deployment in August 2014, Lieutenant Colonel Smith served as the HMH-466 Maintenance Officer until July 2015. In January 2015, he attended the Naval Aviation Maintenance Officers Course aboard Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Florida. In July 2015, he was reassigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 (REINFORCED) (VMM-166 (REIN)) to serve as the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) Operations Officer and CH-53E detachment Officer In Charge (OIC). Lieutenant Colonel Smith deployed with “SeaElk” as part of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit on board the USS Boxer from February to September 2016.
In September 2016, Lieutenant Colonel Smith reported to the Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot and Western Recruiting Region, San Diego to serve as the Operations Officer for the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3. In June 2017, Lieutenant Colonel Smith was reassigned to I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Staff, Camp Pendleton and assumed the duties of the G-3 Deputy Air Officer and Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) Air Officer. In July of 2018, Lieutenant Colonel Smith returned to MAG-16 and assumed the duties of MAG-16 Operations Officer.
Lieutenant Colonel Smith has over 3,200 flight hours and holds all qualifications and flight leadership designations in the CH-53E. His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with Strike/Flight numeral “10,” Individual Air Medal with numeral “2,” the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with 2 gold stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.