Rear Admiral Keith Smith assumed the duties of Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District, in August of 2018. In this position, RADM Smith serves as the operational commander for all U.S. Coast Guard missions from the North Carolina/South Carolina border to New Jersey, encompassing nearly 3,000 Coast Guard active duty, reserve, and civilian personnel, spanning 1.4 million square miles of oceans, bays, and rivers, several mid-Atlantic ports, the largest U.S. Naval Base in the world, and our National Capitol Region. Prior to assuming Command of the 5th District, Rear Admiral Smith served as Commander, Coast Guard Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM), where he supported readiness for operational commanders through training, leadership development, readiness assessments, major exercise support and tactics, techniques and procedures development and review.
RADM Smith is serving in his sixth Command assignment and has spent the majority of his career specializing in frontline tactical maritime law enforcement, port security and homeland security operations. His previous Command assignments have included Director, Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) West, Commander, Maritime Security and Response Team (MSRT), Commander, Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) Los Angeles/Long Beach, and Commanding Officer, Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET) North.
RADM Smith previously served as the Coast Guard Atlantic Area Chief of Staff and as the Coast Guard Fifth District Chief of Response. Other Operational and Staff tours include Deputy Operations, Deployable Operations Group, Deputy Group Commander, St. Petersburg, FL, Chief of Tactical Intelligence Section, JIATF East, Operations Officer of Group Woods Hole, MA, and Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 5C Officer in Charge. Prior to receiving his commission in 1987, RADM Smith signed his enlistment into the Coast Guard on September 11th, 1980, and served in various assignments as an air crew member on both the HH-3F helicopter (“The Pelican”) and C-130 aircraft.
RADM Smith’s military decorations include Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit Medals, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, seven Meritorious Service Medals, as well as numerous other personal and unit awards and decorations. He was the Coast Guard’s 2004 recipient of the John Witherspoon Inspirational Leadership Award.
RADM Smith is a native of Cypress, CA, and is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Homeland Security. He has been married to his wife Vikki for 36 years and they have two adult children.