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Army 1st Lt. Kevin J. Smith

Died December 8, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

28, of Brandon, Fla.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; killed Dec. 8 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee in Baghdad.

Soldier’s final last words: “Look after my men.”

The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — A soldier from Brandon died in Baghdad when a bomb exploded near the convoy he was escorting, his father said.

Clifford Smith said Friday that 1st Lt. Kevin J. Smith, 28, was killed after insurgents detonated an explosive as the convoy of engineers went along the Tigris River to a power plant. The blast also injured three other soldiers, the elder Smith said.

Smith died within 30 seconds, said his mother, Georgianna Stephens-Smith. The bomb tore a hole in the Humvee and caused massive injury to his right shoulder and upper body, she said. “His last words were: ‘Look after my men.”’

Smith, a West Point graduate, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, based out of Fort Stewart, Ga.

“His commanding officer said that in Baghdad, there are two routes that are quite dangerous,” Clifford Smith said. “This was one of them.”

Despite the danger, Smith said his son rarely discussed his fears.

“He said, ‘When my time comes, my time comes. I could be killed in a car driving down I-95,”’ Smith recalled.

He had been in Iraq for about six months and had less than six weeks before the end of his tour of duty.

“Forty days and counting,” Kevin Smith said in an e-mail received Thursday by his father.

“We were all counting the days,” Clifford Smith said Friday. His son’s fiancee, Dana Scherry, was en route from Savannah, Ga., to join them.

On Friday morning, Smith took down the yellow ribbon he had hung in his house.

“He really is home,” he said. “He’s at home with the Lord.”

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