Major General Martin Smith MBE
Major General Martin Smith joined the Royal Marines in 1984 having completed a degree in zoology at Bristol University. In his first four years of service he served as a Troop Commander in Northern Ireland and Norway, a Forward Air Controller and a Mortar Troop Commander. The early 90s saw him specialise in reconnaissance, including a deployment to Operation DESERT STORM in 1991. He attended Royal Navy Staff Course in 1995, where he completed a MA in Defence Studies.
In 1996 and 1997 he served as an Operations Officer, before moving to Headquarters Royal Marines as Staff Officer to the Chief of Staff. He was awarded the MBE in 1998 and was promoted Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. During 2000 and 2001 he worked in the Operations Division of the Permanent Joint Headquarters.
After the terrorist incidents of 11 September 2001, he deployed to US CENTCOM in Tampa with the initial UK advisory team, returning to Britain in November of that year as Second in Command of 45 Commando. His tour of duty with 45 Commando included Operation JACANA in Afghanistan. During Operation TELIC 1 in Iraq he served as a Deputy Chief of Operations within the multinational headquarters, subsequently taking command of the United Kingdom Landing Force Command Support Group, now 30 Commando IX Group, the unit responsible for reconnaissance, intelligence and communications within 3 Commando Brigade.
From May 2005, he served in the MOD Directorate of Joint Commitments before promotion to Colonel in August 2006 and a move to FLEET Operations as Head of Plans. He became Deputy Commander of 3 Commando Brigade in July 2008, commanding Battle Group Centre South in Afghanistan (Op HERRICK 9) and the Landing Force for the TAURUS deployment to the Far East. A period in the MOD Naval Staff was followed by promotion to Brigadier and a move to the Defence Reform Unit. He commanded 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines from November 2011 until June 2013 and then attended the Royal College of Defence Studies for a year. On promotion to Major General in June 2014, he became Commandant General Royal Marines (CGRM) and Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces (COMUKAMPHIBFOR).
He was appointed Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force on 28 August 2014.
Martin is married to Sue and lives in Scotland. His hobbies include mountaineering, sea kayaking and sailing.
Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia
The Operation Commander (OpCdr) commands the operation from the Operational Headquarters (OHQ) at Northwood, United Kingdom. There he plans and conducts the operation in conjunction with the political and military authorities of the European Union.
Rear Admiral Paolo Pezzutti
Rear Admiral Paolo Pezzutti was born in Rome in 1963 and graduated from the Naval Academy as a Lieutenant in 1986. After specializing in Communications Systems, he served in a number of Italian Navy warships, namely ITS Vespucci, ITS Ardito and ITS Durand de la Penne
Between 1993 to 1994, he was assigned as a staff officer to the WEU Contingency Maritime Force (WEUCONMARFOR) for Operation Sharp Guard. Between 1994 to 1995 he commanded the Italian Patrol Vessel ITS Vega in the rank of Lieutenant. From 1998 to 2001 he was assigned to SHAPE in the Communications and Information Systems Division – Planning Section.
After promotion to Commander, he was appointed as Executive Officer on board Italian frigate ITS Euro, participating in Operation Enduring Freedom. Between 2003 to 2004 he was the Commanding Officer of the Italian Frigate ITS Aliseo, participating in Operation Active Endeavour. From July 2005 to January 2007 he worked in the Italian Navy General Staff as the head of the Combat Systems Integration Office in the 7th Department Combat Systems.
Upon promotion to Captain in 2007, he was appointed as the Military Assistant of the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation in Norfolk (USA). Upon his return from the USA in 2010 he was appointed as Commanding Officer of Italian Destroyer ITS Caio Duilio. Between October 2011 to July 2013 he was the head of the Shipbuilding Bureau in La Spezia. From July 2013 to December 2014 he was the Commanding Officer of the Naval Station of Taranto. He was promoted to Rear Admiral on 1 July 2014.
He was appointed EU Naval Force Deputy Operation Commander on Friday 23 January 2015.
Rear Admiral Pezzutti is married to Caterina and has twin girls, Carla and Livia.
Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia
The Deputy Operation Commander (DCom) exercises command in absence of the Operation Commander.
Rear Admiral Alfonso Gómez Fernández de Córdoba
Rear Admiral Alfonso Gómez Fernández de Córdoba received his commission as Lieutenant Junior Grade in 1983. Following assignments on a Minesweeper and a Frigate, he was appointed the Executive Officer of a Minehunter and then a Corvette.
In July 1988, he specialised as an anti-submarine Warfare Officer. In September 1993, he was appointed the Commanding Officer of ESPS Espalmador, before going on to command ESPS Guadalmedina, ESPS Marques de la Ensenada and ESPS Juan Sebastián de Elcano.
Following promotion to Lieutenant Commander in May 1995, Admiral Gómez held positions in the Spanish Navy Staff, Air Combat Command Staff and Defence Joint Staff. In July 1998, he graduated from the Naval Warfare College.
On promotion to Commander (July 2002), Admiral Gómez was stationed in the Spanish Royal Household, where he was assigned to the Military Chambers, before serving as Aide-de-Camp to His Majesty the King of Spain.
In August 2009, he was promoted to Captain and assumed the position as Chief of Staff (COS) to Combined Task Force 151, which is a counter-piracy mission operating off the coast of Somalia. Following this appointment, in July 2010, he served as Secretary-General of the Spanish Navy Staff.
Admiral Gómez was later the Head of the International Engagement Department at the Spanish Navy Staff, before assuming the role of Force Commander of the EU Naval Force, on 6 May 2015.
He is married to Pilar Botia and they have three daughters Pilar, Marta and Celia.