WESTPORT, Conn. -- Dixon R. Smith, a Westport native and graduate of Staples High School, has been promoted to vice admiral in the U.S. Navy and taken leadership of the Navy Installations Command.
In a change of command ceremony Friday, Oct. 24 at the Admiral Leutze Park on the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., Smith relieved Vice Adm. William D. French as commander of the Navy Installations Command.
NIC is responsible for managing shore installation support. The command is made up of 11 regions and 69 navy installations worldwide, with 52,000 military and civilian personnel.
Minutes before the ceremony, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, promoted Smith to the rank of vice admiral in a small ceremony held in French’s home in front of family and friends.
At the ceremony, Smith expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to lead the organization.
“I am honored and deeply humbled by your faith and confidence in me,” he said. “I’m excited by the opportunity for continued service to our navy and our nation.”
Smith also stressed the importance of the CNIC mission.
“We are in a unique position within our Navy where we have the privilege to serve those who serve their country,” Smith said. “Our responsibility is our sailors, their families, and our civilian employees throughout the Navy who depend on us.”
Smith is the fifth commander since the command’s inception in 2003.
Originally from Greens Farms, Smith graduated from Staples High School in 1978 and then entered the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Annapolis, Md. He received his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983 and was designated a surface warfare officer in 1985.
Smith has served around the world at sea and ashore. His first sea tour was aboard USS Miller, where he worked as first lieutenant and damage control assistant. Follow-on assignments at sea included positions as operations officer aboard USS Jarrett, participating in Operation Desert Storm; operations officer aboard USS Gridley, participating in the establishment of Operation Southern Watch over Southern Iraq; and executive officer aboard USS Antietam.
Later, Smith transitioned to lead shore installations including commander of the Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Commander of Navy Region Hawaii; commander of Navy Region Southwest in San Diego; and commander of Region Mid Atlantic in Norfolk, Va., before arriving in Washington, D.C.
Smith is the son of Glenn Litch West, of Lake Oswego, Ore. and James Lesesne Smith of Sister, Ore.
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