Sgt. David Smith, a 2002 graduate of Frederick High School and a Marine in the local reserve unit, died Tuesday of injuries suffered in an attack on Saturday in Afghanistan.
A bomb killed three and injured several others during a patrol in Helmand province, which borders Pakistan and is one of the most volatile regions in Afghanistan.
In the attack around 11 a.m. Afghanistan time, Smith was hit by shrapnel in the head, said Smith's cousin, Ann Rudd. His family was notified about nine hours later, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. By Saturday evening Eastern time, Smith was at a trauma center in Kandahar. He was later sent to an air base in Bagram and then on to Germany by Monday morning.
Rudd said Smith, 25, died Tuesday afternoon. He donated his organs, a final selfless act that Rudd said he always proudly said he would do.
"Frederick's lost a very good human being, it's just so hard to see," Rudd said. "He was the best of us."
Rudd recalled how fun it was to watch Smith at his sister Kristen Forse's wedding last summer. Smith, Forse, and their brother Daniel took over the dance floor and had everyone laughing, she said.
"I just keep thinking of all his dance moves and how funny he was and how close those three siblings were," Rudd said.
Smith wrestled and played lacrosse and soccer at Frederick High, his friends said. He joined the Marine Corps in December 2003 and served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006, Forse said. Smith was attending East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.
"No one could ever find a bad word to say about him," Caitlin Barton, who grew up with Smith and attended church and school with him, wrote in a Facebook message on Monday. "He is an amazing person with such a spirit about him that you can't help but love David. He loves what he does, he loves being a Marine, but he also loves being a son, a brother, a uncle, and a friend to many."
"He was a great guy -- the sort of guy who would give all he had to whatever he was doing or whatever person he was spending time with," wrote Evan Hays, a 2002 Frederick High graduate and old friend of Smith's, in an e-mail. "I remember him for his strength, his fun-loving attitude, his intelligence, and his welcoming attitude."
Several people mentioned the death of Smith's stepfather as a key point in his life. Smith was in high school at the time, and his family had a hard time dealing with the loss.
"David was extremely strong and probably began to drive his determination to be the person he was today," Megen Majoros Franklin, a friend, wrote in an e-mail about the death of Smith's stepfather.
Franklin said she and Smith attended St. Joseph's-on-Carrollton Manor Catholic Church in Buckeystown, where they went to dances and class together. She described Smith as an unselfish man and a proud Marine, which was obvious when she ran into him once at Frederick Community College.
"He was dressed in his uniform and I almost did not recognize him. He never looked so proud and happy," Franklin said. "I believe he would say that he was proud to die for his country and in being a part of something that he loved and respected so much."
His friends from East Carolina University saw the same things in him.
"David Smith was a strong, compassionate and courageous man," said Allison Rayle. "Dave loved to cook and found a passion for country music and cowboy hats. Dave always had a smile on his face and always knew how to cheer you up."
Many of his friends said Smith had a real love for life and will be greatly missed by all those whose hearts he touched. Two other service members died Saturday in the attack. Lance Cpl. Jeremy Kane, a Marine in the 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Company B, was a 22-year-old student at Rutgers University's Camden campus and a native of Cherry Hill, N.J. Kane joined the Marines in May 2007 and was serving in his first deployment to Afghanistan.
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Xin Qi, 25, was a Navy hospital corpsman from Cordova, Tenn., who was attached to Company B after they deployed in November. Qi joined the Navy in June 2006 and was also serving in his first deployment to Afghanistan.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
B4LAR Sgt. David Smith
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