CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Commander, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Adm. Eric T. Olson presented two USSOCOM Medals to former members of the Naval Special Warfare Command Aug. 13 during a visit to Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado.
Retired Rear Adm. Raymond C. Smith and retired Master Chief Quartermaster (SEAL) Richard M. Rogers received their medals for outstanding contributions to special operations in separate ceremonies.
The USSOCOM Medal has only been presented to a small group of recipients since its inception in 1994. Four have been presented in the past four years. The medal is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the defense of the United States through special operations during either war or peacetime operations.
Smith served at many levels within the Naval Special Warfare community during his military career. He was assigned to Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) 13, where he served as an ordnance officer, operations officer and platoon commander in Vietnam. Smith was the director of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training from 1981-83 and commanded SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) Team 1 from 1985-87.
Upon selection to captain, Smith was appointed deputy commander and chief of staff, Naval Special Warfare Command. He deployed to the Persian Gulf where he served as Naval Special Warfare Task Group (NSWTG) Commander during Operation Earnest Will. Smith led SEALs in more than 200 operations of strategic significance during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Smith developed the Navy's first capability-based assessment process, providing recommendations directly to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). He also served on the CNO's Strategic Study Group. In 1992, Smith served as commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, then as the USSOCOM director of resources. In 1997, Smith became the USSOCOM deputy commander at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., until his retirement in 2001.
"There is no officer more deserving of this award," Olson said. "No officer who has served our community, the Naval Special Warfare community and by extension the special operations community, as well for a long period of time as retired Rear Adm. Ray Smith."
Smith, modest of his accomplishments, attributed much of his success to his colleagues and supporting community.
"The fact of the matter was, the guys who went out on the operations, they're the guys who made me admiral," said Smith.
Rogers also has an extensive resume of military experience within the Naval Special Warfare community. He began his Navy career in 1972 and completed BUD/S training in 1973. He served as platoon point man and communicator at SEAL Team 1 in Coronado, as a BUD/S instructor, as a platoon chief petty officer at SEAL Team 5 and as boat crew leader at Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NAVSPECWARDEVGRU).
After promotion to master chief petty officer in 1991, Rogers served as an operations chief and assistant current operations officer at NAVSPECWARDEVGRU, the command master chief at Naval Special Warfare Unit 8 in Panama; as the command master chief at Naval Special Warfare Group 1, and as the first command master chief at Special Operations Command, Europe. During 2000-2003, Rogers served as USSOCOM's command master chief and senior enlisted advisor.
In his 30-year Navy career, Rogers also held numerous leadership positions during Operations Just Cause and Allied Force.
Rogers retired from the Navy in 2003 and continues to work to improve the training and professional development of Naval Special Warfare personnel as a civilian at the Center for SEAL and Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC). He became the driving force in the development of the new SEAL and SWCC ratings for enlisted personnel. Rogers also successfully negotiated additional senior enlisted billets from the Navy to ensure proper force structure for the community.
Olson said he was impressed by Rogers' performance in the demanding roles of senior enlisted advisor and command master chief.
"Rick did more than meet the expectations, he excelled in all of them," said Olson.
Rogers accepted the USSOCOM Medal and praised the Special Warfare community for their hard work and commitment.
"You don't get one of these [medals] without a lot of help and a lot of good fortune," said Rogers. "It has been a privilege serving with the greatest Special Operations Force, the greatest Naval Special Operations Force and the greatest Navy the world has ever known."
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