Forrest E. Smith is a native of the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. He is a 1984 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and a 2005 SAMS fellow and graduate of the Advanced Operational Arts Studies Fellowship (AOASF) at the school of Advanced Military Studies (SAMs) on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He also served as a faculty member and seminar leader at the School of Advanced Military Studies from 2005-2006.
Smith’s assignments as an officer in the Air Defense Artillery (ADA) began in Europe in 1985 with the VII Corps, where he served as a motor officer, platoon leader, executive officer and adjutant in the 6th Battalion, 52d Air Defense Artillery Battalion, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade in Wurzburg, Germany. After attending the Advanced Officer Course, he returned to the 69th ADA Brigade to command Alpha “Air Attack,” a HAWK missile battery, for 30 months. Six months of this command were served as part of Task Force 8-43 ADA, a PATRIOT/Hawk Missile Task Force, in Saudi Arabia and Iraq in support of the VII Corps in Operation Desert Storm. Follow on staff assignments included three years as a test officer for TEXCOM/OPTEC, before transferring branches to the Acquisition Corps, serving as the assistant program manager for the PATRIOT PAC-3 missile program in Huntsville, Alabama. He returned to the Air Defense branch in 1996, where he served 20 months as the executive officer of 3-43 ADA (PATRIOT), of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. From July 2001 to July 2003, he returned to Europe to command the 5th “Air Attack” Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery, as part of the V Corps’69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, his units deployed to and provided air and missile defense in both Turkey and Israel. He commanded U.S. Patriot forces in Israel as part of Task Force Cobra, the U.S.-Israeli, Arrow Missile and Patriot Missile Task Force with the mission to provide air and missile defense of Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel. From July 2006 to July 2008, then serving as a colonel, he commanded the Army’s largest Air Defense Brigade, the 11th Air Defense Artillery, “Air Attack” Brigade, on Fort Bliss, Texas, where he deployed brigade air attack forces to Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Israel. The 11th “Air Attack” Brigade also fielded the Army’s first Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system during that period. He followed brigade command with a military transition team (MTT) assignment as the advisor to the Iraqi army chief of staff with duty at the Iraqi Ground Forces Command Headquarters in Baghdad.
Smith returned from Iraq to Fort Bliss in 2009, and served sequentially as the chief of staff for 36 months and as deputy commander for 12 months for Joint Task Force North. Seven of his 30 years of military service have been in support of DoD support to law enforcement agency counter narcotics missions. Before battalion command as a major, he served 35 months as a joint operations planner and chief of plans for counterdrug support to California and Arizona, at what was then known as Joint Task Force-Six (Counterdrugs).
He assumed his current duties as Joint Task Force North’s chief of staff in December 2014.
Smith is married to the former Elma Dolores Rodriguez of El Paso, Texas. He has three children: Dakota Bleu, Alexandra Paige and U.S. Air Force Capt. Tara Brittani.