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Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and Africa, Task Force 68 Welcomes New Commander

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090717-16
Release Date: 7/17/2009 1:42:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Paul Cage, NAVSTA Rota Public Affairs

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and Africa, Commander Task Force 68 (CTF 68/368) received a new commander during a change of command ceremony July 16.

Capt. Martin A. Beck relieved Capt. James 'Red' Smith as commander, Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and CTF 68/368. Smith served in this position since Feb. 2007.

Smith thanked the men and women of CTF 68/368 for their efforts and their service.

"You are small in numbers, but you punch above your weight. You truly are champions, and I appreciated all that you have done for me, everyday," said Smith. "And to the staff of CTF 68/368, you have made the job fun and easy because of your hard work, and I appreciate it."

Beck thanked Smith and the men and women of the task force he is inheriting and looks forward to executing CTF 68/368's unique expeditionary missions in support of Commander 6th Fleet, Naval Forces Europe and Africa, in addition to US European, Africa and Central Command's. He praised Smith for his leadership.

"Red, I know you are very proud of your staff and operational forces and I am amazed at what you and your team have accomplished," said Beck. "I am inheriting a team with tremendous depth and experience. It is my intent to continue to build upon what you have established and preserve the command's great reputation throughout the fleet and with our partner nations."

Beck, a native of Bethesda, Md., is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in cultural anthropology/Russian studies and a masters degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. As commanding officer of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11, Beck led the first Navy EOD unit in direct support of the Army's 101st Airborne Division (Assault) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Beck reports to CTF 68/368 from the Bureau of Naval Personnel where he served as the Special Operations Assignment and Placement Officer.

Smith, a graduate of the College of William and Mary and Edinburgh University, Scotland, is a distinguished graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and is a proven subspecialist in National Security Affairs. His final assignment in the Navy has been as Commander, CTF 68/368.

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