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Air Force Senior Airman Bradley R. Smith

Died January 3, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

24, of Troy, Ill.; assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Jan. 3 near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while supporting combat operations.

Airman was based at Army post

The Associated Press

TROY, Ill. — The Defense Department says an airman from southwestern Illinois was killed by a bomb blast in Afghanistan.

Senior Airman Bradley Smith, 24, of Troy died Jan. 3 near Kandahar Airfield. He was assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Riley, Kan.

Jim Wiens, Smith’s pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Troy, says Smith followed in his brother’s footsteps when he joined the Air Force in November 2006.

Wiens says Smith’s wife had a daughter in October.

The pastor says Smith’s parents arrived Jan. 4 at Dover Air Force Base, Del., to receive their son’s remains.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Services scheduled for fallen airman

The Associated Press

TROY, Ill. — Services will be held in the coming days for an airman from southwestern Illinois who was killed by a bomb earlier this month in Afghanistan.

Senior Airman Bradley Smith, 24, of Troy was killed Jan. 3 near Kandahar Airfield. He was assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Riley, Kan.

Smith joined the Air Force in November 2006. He and his wife had a daughter in October.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Jan. 10 at Bethel Baptist Church in Troy. Services will be at that church at 11 a.m. Jan. 11.

‘He always had a plan’

The Associated Press

Bradley R. Smith was about family — the close-knit one he came from, and the one he was building with his wife, Tiffany, and newborn daughter — but he also enjoyed spending time with the guys.

“Brad was a boy’s boy,” said a friend, Tim Kalb. “He had an eager spirit and was always looking for the next adventure.”

He recalled nights when Smith and his friends would camp in the forest, make inedible burnt breakfasts over a fire — and the time they accidentally set the woods ablaze.

Others at his funeral remembered how Smith played football, mentored youth at his church and bought fast-food meals for homeless people standing in intersections.

Smith, 24, of Troy, Ill., died Jan. 3 of wounds from a blast near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, less than a month after being deployed. He was assigned to Fort Riley, Kan.

His youth pastor, John Shaw, said the 2004 graduate of Triad High School had taught him to live more zealously and share his faith.

“He got excited about the smallest things, and he always had a plan, he was always thinking,” he said.

Smith’s survivors also include his parents, Gary and Paula; and his brother and fellow airman, Ryan.

Fallen airman’s items stolen from widow

The Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Authorities say the widow of an airman had some of her husband’s belongings stolen from her car while she was in Colorado Springs for a memorial service.

El Paso County Sheriff’s officials say the belongings included a red Garmin wristwatch with a black band and the dog tags of Senior Airman Bradley R. Smith. Smith died in Afghanistan last month.

Authorities say the thief also took two laptops, a digital camera and a cell phone from Smith’s wife after breaking one of her car’s windows while was at a Golden Corral restaurant Feb. 9. Tiffany Smith was going to attend a memorial service Feb. 10 for her husband and four Fort Carson soldiers.

Sheriff Terry Maketa says he “will use every available resource” to get the items back.

Man arrested in theft from widow’s car

By Tom Spoth

Staff writer

Law enforcement officials have identified two men they say broke into an Air Force widow’s car while she was en route to her husband’s memorial service in Colorado.

The men, Denard Thompson, 29, and Dwain Boyd, 22, are suspected of smashing a rear window in Tiffany Smith’s car in a restaurant parking lot Feb. 9 and stealing her husband’s dog tags, a watch, a digital camera and two laptop computers.

Her husband, Senior Airman Bradley Smith, was killed Jan. 3 in Afghanistan, where he was attached to a unit based at Fort Carson, Colo. A tactical control airman assigned to the 10th Air Support Squadron out of Fort Riley, Kan., Smith died from a bomb blast.

Tiffany Smith was heartbroken that the digital equipment was stolen because it contained numerous pictures of her husband, which she planned to show their 4-month-old daughter, Chloe, when she got older.

On Feb. 12, Thompson was arrested and charged with theft, criminal trespassing, and conspiracy to commit theft. A second suspect, Dwain Boyd, 22, was still at large as of Feb. 18.

The men were both pulled over for a traffic violation in a dark-colored Chevrolet Suburban by the Colorado Springs police department. Both had warrants for their arrest, but Boyd was released because his was a city warrant, not a county warrant. Thompson was taken into custody and let slip that he was involved in the theft from Smith's vehicle three days earlier, authorities say.

Spokeswoman Lt. Lari Sevene said the sheriff's office still hopes to recover Smith's possessions, although Thompson had refused to provide any useful information. Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact a local law enforcement agency, the El Paso sheriff's office at 719-390-5555 or Crime Stoppers at 719-634-7867.


Air Force camp to be named for JTAC airman  

By Brian Everstine - Staff writer  

A new Air Force camp in Afghanistan now bears the name of a joint terminal attack controller whom fellow airmen called “heroic and courageous.”
 Two years ago, Senior Airman Bradley Smith, a JTAC assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron, was killed by an improvised explosive device near Kandahar. In November he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, and last month, Kandahar Airfield officials approved renaming the recently acquired Canada 9 camp in honor of Smith.

 “We wanted to name the camp after someone who had done something extraordinary and whose actions were heroic and courageous,” Senior Airman Joshua Leibold, the president of Kandahar’s First Four Council, said in a release. “We considered many outstanding airmen, but Airman Smith was an obvious choice.”  

On Jan. 3, 2010, Smith’s platoon was ambushed and hit by mortar and machine gun fire, along with an IED. The ambush left Senior Airman Mike Malarsie — who served alongside Smith as part of a tactical air control party — and a soldier stranded in a nearby creek, with another soldier missing, according to the Silver Star citation. Smith ran through crossfire to rescue Malarsie and recover the mortally wounded soldier. Smith provided first aid and coordinated close-air support before attempting to recover another mortally wounded soldier when another IED detonated, killing Smith instantly.

 Smith’s name was added to a memorial wall for fallen tactical air control party airmen at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in May 2010.   Malarsie, who lost his eyesight as a result of his injuries, spoke at the memorial for Smith.  

“Brad was one of the most selfless people I have ever known. If he saw a friend in need, or someone in need, he was first there to try and make things right, and that is the Brad I will always remember,” Malarsie said. “I am just a regular guy and I got to serve with this amazing person who I will never forget.”  

Smith, who joined the Air Force in 2006, is survived by his wife and a daughter.  

Camp Bradley Smith will be dedicated during a ceremony in March.

 “We’re very proud to have one of our Air Force camps named after one of our finest,” Chief Master Sgt. Eric Kibby, superintendent of the 897th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron, said in a release.

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