Commander Brandon Smith

Cmdr. Brandon Smith, from Sperry, Oklahoma, relieves Cmdr. Thomas McKeon as commanding officer of Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Pittsburgh, during the change of command ceremony at the historic Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Pittsburgh, Pa., July 23. NTAG Pittsburgh is one of 12 Navy Talent Acquisition Groups within the Navy Recruiting Command. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Benjamin Dobbs/Released

Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Pittsburgh held a change of command ceremony, where Cmdr. Thomas McKeon was relieved by Cmdr. Brandon Smith as commanding officer, July 23.

Capt. Katrina Hill, commodore of Navy Recruiting Region East, officiated the transfer of command as the presiding officer. The event was held at the historic Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum.

“As I look back on the last year and how far we’ve come, it reminds me what an honor and privilege serving you has been,” said McKeon. “You have shown me how far a dedicated team can go. I would like to pay tribute to each and every one of you, who have all left and will continue to leave and indelible memory of excellence, achievement and friendship on my heart.,”

Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, Commander, Navy Recruiting Command spoke to the to NTAG leadership and personnel via a recorded video message.

“Bravo Zulu to the entire NTAG Pittsburgh team for the incredible strides you’ve made over the last 14 months, especially recently with the additional challenges of a global pandemic,” Velez said.

Velez welcomed Smith to his new role and expressed confidence in his future as the commanding officer of NTAG Pittsburgh.

“Cmdr. Smith, congratulations to you and your family on this momentous day,” Velez said. “I trust that you will lead with the integrity and energy that are the hallmarks of successful recruiting. I’m excited to see what new heights Pittsburgh will achieve under your command.”

During his speech, Smith, from Sperry, Oklahoma, shared his command philosophy and views on recruiting

“It is our great honor, and our greater responsibility to be the ambassadors of the United States Navy to our communities,” Smith said.” “You are not just a recruiter, and you are not just a sailor. You are the United States Navy. When a young woman or man decides they wish to join our service, their most fundamental desire is to be like you.”

Established August 1, 2018, NTAG Pittsburgh is one of 12 Navy Talent Acquisition Groups. Their recruiting efforts span throughout parts of western Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Maryland.

CNRC consists of a command headquarters, two Navy Recruiting Regions, 14 Navy Recruiting Districts and 12 Navy Talent Acquisition Groups and 5 Prior Service Detachments that serve more than 815 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (, Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).

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Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Renuard was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.