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MIAMI — U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Kurt W. Tidd is scheduled to assume duties as commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) from U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly during a formal change-of-command ceremony Jan. 14 at the command’s headquarters.
Kelly will retire after more than four decades of distinguished military service as a Marine infantry enlisted man and commissioned officer, including combat tours in Iraq as assistant division commander of the 1st Marine Division and commanding general of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).
Upon assuming command of SOUTHCOM on Nov. 19, 2012, Kelly worked closely with civilian and military leaders from the U.S., South America, Central America and the Caribbean to counter transnational organized crime, strengthen security and defense capabilities, and promote regional cooperation. During his command, Kelly also had oversight of detention operations at Joint Task Force Guantanamo at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Tidd’s presidential nomination for assignment as SOUTHCOM commander was approved by the U.S. Senate Dec. 16. He will receive his fourth star in a private military promotion ceremony before assuming duties as SOUTHCOM’s 23rd Commander.
He comes to SOUTHCOM from the Pentagon, where he has served as assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Tidd previously worked with naval and maritime security forces from South America, Central America and the Caribbean while commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, headquartered at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., from Aug. 5, 2011-June 22, 2012.
A 1978 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, his career has included command and operational assignments aboard U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, destroyers and frigates, including command of Carrier Strike Group 8 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) during a combat deployment supporting coalition forces as part of Operation Enduring Freedom from 2004-2005.
Tidd also served tours of duty at the National Security Council Staff in Washington, D.C., headquarters North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium, and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet in Manama, Bahrain.
He completed graduate degrees with the University of Bordeaux, France, and the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.
U.S. Southern Command is one of the nation’s six geographically-focused unified commands with responsibility for U.S. military operations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.