Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team to hold Change of Command

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Capt. Keith M. Smith will relieve Capt. Algernon J. Keith as Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team Chesapeake, in a ceremony at 11:00 a.m. at the Naval Support Activity, Norfolk, Northwest Annex in Chesapeake, Va., May 22.

Rear Adm. Thomas F. Atkin, Commander Coast Guard Deployable Operations Group (DOG), will preside over the ceremony. Atkin is the operational commander for all Coast Guard DOG activities providing properly equipped, trained, and organized deployable specialized forces to Coast Guard, DHS, DoD and interagency operational and tactical commanders.

The MSRT is the Coast Guard’s only counter terrorism force with advanced interdiction capabilities. Providing a rapid response to Maritime Homeland Security/Maritime Homeland Defense operations. The team is supported by an aviation detachment in Elizabeth City, N.C., as well as a Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) in Jacksonville, Fl.

The Change of Command Ceremony is a time-honored tradition of the naval services. The passing of command between officers is a strong representation of the honor, respect and the devotion to their duties. This classic ceremony signifies the transference of authority.

Keith assumed command of the MSRT on June 1, 2005 when it was formerly known as the Enhanced Maritime Safety and Security Team (EMSST). In 2006 the team underwent a name change to MSRT and was realigned with the DOG. Keith will retire to his native city of Norfolk, Va., where he will pursue a second career yet to be determined.

Before receiving orders as the new commanding officer of the MSRT, Smith had been assigned to many law enforcement units. Receiving his commission in 1987, he was assigned to Coast Guard Group Galveston where he served as the officer in charge of the Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET). From 1995-1998, Smith served as the commanding officer of the Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET) North. He oversaw the successful commissioning of the Coast Guard Marine Safety and Security Team (MSST) 91103 Los Angeles/Long Beach in 2002. Following his tour as the MSST 91103 commanding officer, he was assigned to Coast Guard Atlantic Area where he served as the program manager of 12 MSST’s, TACLET South, 5 Port Security Units, and the MSRT. Smith after his duty as program manager, assumed the duties of Deputy Operations Officer for the DOG in 2007.

Smith graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from California State University Long Beach. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four Meritorious Service Medals, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals, and two Coast Guard Achievement Medals.

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