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Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel L. Smith

Lieutenant Colonel Nate Smith is the Commander, 21st Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Army Airfield, NC. He organizes, trains, and equips Special Tactics Teams for world-wide deployment in support of Combatant Command priorities and requirements. The 21 STS fields Air Force ground special operations forces specializing in the precision application of airpower, executing combat and humanitarian missions around the world, and across all threat environments and political situations.

Lt Col Smith is from St. Louis, Missouri and received his commission in 2007 as a distinguished graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy. He holds advanced qualifications as a military freefall parachutist, combat scuba diver, air traffic controller, static-line jumpmaster, and Joint Terminal Attack Controller. His career includes assignments as a flight commander, director of operations, and squadron commander. Additionally, he has served five deployed and combat tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, across North/Central Africa, and Jordan. Nate is married to Deanne, and they have five children, Ali, Stirling, Isla, Eden, and Benaiah.
 

 
EDUCATION
2007   Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado
2007   Air and Space Basic Course, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
2013   Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
2015   Master of Arts in Leadership, University of Oklahoma
2021   Command & General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
2021   Master of Arts in Operational Studies, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
 
ASSIGNMENTS
1.    Jun 2003 – May 2007, Cadet, USAF Academy, CO
2.    Aug 2007 – Sep 2007, Student, Air and Space Basic Course, Maxwell AFB, AL
3.    Sep 2007 – Jun 2009, Trainee, Special Tactics Training Squadron, Hurlburt Field, FL
4.    Jul 2009 – Apr 2011, Assistant Flight Commander, 23rd STS, Hurlburt Field, FL 
5.    Apr 2011 – May 2014, Flight Commander, 321st STS, Mildenhall AFB, UK
6.    Jun 2014 – Jun 2015, Executive Officer, 24th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, FL
7.    Jul 2015 – May 2016, Special Tactics Officer, 24th STS, Pope Army Airfield, NC
8.    Jun 2016 – Mar 2018, Flight Commander, Data Masked
9.    Apr 2018 – Jul 2020, Director of Operations, 22d STS, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA
10.   Aug 2020 – Jun 2021, Student, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS
11.   Jul 2021 – Present, Commander, Special Warfare Training Squadron, Pope Army Airfield, NC
12.  Aug 2023 – Present, Commander, 21st Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Army Airfield, NC


 


MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal 
Air Force Commendation Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
Air Force Combat Action Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
NATO Medal
 
OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS
2007   Distinguished Graduate, Social Sciences, U.S. Air Force Academy
2007   Outstanding Cadet in Character, Class of 2007, U.S. Air Force Academy
2007   Team Captain Award, Class of 2007, U.S. Air Force Academy
2009   Partner Unit Group CGO of the Quarter, Hurlburt Field, FL
2012   Team Mildenhall CGO of the Year, Mildenhall AFB, UK
2012   AFSOC Special Tactics Officer of the Year, Mildenhall AFB, UK
2012   USAF Special Tactics Officer of the Year, Mildenhall AFB, UK
 
(Current as of 20 July 2021)