Prior to retirement, Rear Adm. Charles E. “Grunt” Smith served as Program Executive Officer for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS). In this role, he oversaw a $2 billion portfolio of information technology projects and programs designed to enable common business processes and provide standard information technology capabilities to the Department of Navy.
His service began at the Virginia Military Institute, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and commission.
Following flight training, he deployed three times with the "Diamond Cutters" of Sea Control Squadron (VS) 30 aboard USS Forrestal (CV 59) and USS Saratoga (CV 60). In a follow-on instructor pilot tour, he was selected for the U.S. Naval Test Pilot program and served as lead test pilot for aircraft, tanker, carrier suitability, and weapons programs.
Following flight test duties and receipt of a Master of Science, Smith deployed with the "Maulers" of VS 32 aboard USS America (CV 66) in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Following Desert Storm, he reported to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
Smith next reported to the "Dragonfires" of VS 29 as executive officer and then commanding officer, where he deployed twice aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in support of Operations Southern Watch and Continue Hope. Smith was selected and qualified in the Navy’s Surface Nuclear Power Program and soon after reported aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) as executive officer, where he deployed to the Persian Gulf and upon return oversaw the ship's Drydock Planned Incremental Availability.
After his tour aboard George Washington, he was assigned to U.S. Joint Forces Command as a Capstone instructor and Joint Task Force Deployable Team chief. Smith assumed command of the helicopter carrier USS Inchon (MCS 12) and deployed through the Panama Canal for a 29,000 nautical mile Western Pacific deployment.
In April 2003, Smith assumed command of the nuclear powered aircraft carrier, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), where he led “Ike” and crew through the mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul, returning Ike to sea combat-ready.
After commanding the Ike, Smith became the director Aviation/Ship Integration and assistant commander for Acquisition at NAVAIR (AIR-1.0) where he performed program executive and director duties for the commander.
In January 2006 Smith became the vice commander of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), leading information technology current readiness improvement efforts throughout the fleet.
Smith’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit (four awards), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), the Strike Flight Air Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal (three/one with Combat “V”) and the Navy Achievement Medal (two awards).
He has more than 4,600 flight hours and 596 carrier arrestments while piloting 32 different fixed and rotary wing aircraft.