Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel D. Smith is a native of California. He attended the University of California, Davis and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and English in June of 2006. After graduation he reported to Officer Candidates Course 193 and upon completion was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on 15 December 2006. He immediately reported to The Basic School and graduated with Bravo Company in July of 2007. Following graduation he reported to NAS Pensacola, FL for Aviation Pre-flight Indoctrination and was assigned to Training Squadron Six at NAS Whiting Field for primary flight training in the T-34 Turbo Mentor. In February of 2008 he reported to Training Squadron Nine, NAS Meridian, MS for advanced flight training in the T-45. On May 18, 2010, First Lieutenant Smith completed advanced flight training and received his Naval Aviator Wings with orders to fly the AV-8B Harrier.
In July of 2010, First Lieutenant Smith reported to VMAT-203 at MCAS Cherry Point, NC for training in the AV-8B, and upon completion reported to VMA-211, MAG-13, in MCAS Yuma, AZ. While with VMA-211, Captain Smith served as the Airframes Officer in Charge, Daily Schedule Writer, Aviation Safety Officer, NATOPS Officer, and Director of Safety and Standardization. In 2012 Captain Smith deployed with VMA-211 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Following this deployment, Captain Smith received his Section Leader designation and completed the Weapons Training Officer certification in May of 2013.
In November of 2013, Captain Smith received orders to 3d MAW (FWD) at MCAS Miramar, CA and deployed in January of 2014 with Marine Expeditionary Brigade Afghanistan (MEB-A) to Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. With MEB-A, Captain Smith served as the Air Tasking Order Writer and Operations and Intelligence Briefer. Following this deployment Captain Smith received his Division Leader designation and was assigned to VMAT-203 to serve as an Instructor Pilot. While at VMAT-203 Captain Smith served as the Logistics officer, NATOPS Officer, Instructional Systems Development Officer, and Pilot Training Officer. During this tour Captain Smith completed his Low Altitude Tactics Instructor, Night Systems Instructor, and Mission Commander certifications. In the fall of 2016, Captain Smith attended Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 1-17 and was designated a Weapons and Tactics Instructor in October of 2016.
In July of 2018 Major Smith reported to the Naval War College to attend Naval Command and Staff. While at the War College, Major Smith was selected to participate in the Halsey Bravo research group and conducted classified research into potential future conflicts. In June of 2019 Major Smith graduated with distinction and received a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies. Upon graduation Major Smith reported to VMA-231, MAG 14, where he served as the Pilot Training Officer and Operations Officer. In June of 2021 Major Smith reported to Marine Aviation and Weapons Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) in Yuma, AZ. While at MAWTS-1 Major Smith served as an AV-8B instructor and as the AV-8B Division Head. During this tour Major Smith was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and selected to command VMA-223.
Lieutenant Colonel Smith’s personal decorations include the Air Medal with Bronze Numeral Three, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star, the Navy Achievement Medal with two Gold Stars, and various unit and campaign decorations.