Sergeant David J. Smith
David J. Smith was born on February 16, 1984, in Washington, D.C., to parents Mary Jane McWilliams and Leonard Alan Smith.
The Sergeant David J. Smith Memorial Fund website noted that he had been raised by stepparents, John Jones and Olga Smith, and was the “the middle child to sister, Kristen, and brother, Daniel… (and) he was part of a loving and extended family; he was a caring son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend.”
The Washington Post reported in its January 31, 2010, issue, “As a boy in Frederick, Maryland, David Smith loved to play with his Army and G.I. Joe action figures and spent hours (at play) rescuing his older sister Kristen from all manner of imagined peril.”
Smith was a 2002 graduate of Frederick High School, where he had participated in various sports, including wrestling, lacrosse, soccer, and football. According to his obituary, as posted by Stauffer Funeral Homes, he had also enjoyed participating in school plays.
At the time he enlisted in the Marine Corps, he was also attending East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where he played lacrosse and majored in distribution and logistics. According to his obituary, “He loved the Redskins, country music, living down South, ECU Pirates, and life in general.”
Smith had enlisted into the Marine Corps on December 29, 2003, and was assigned to the 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Bravo Company in Camp Pendleton, California, where he served as a light-armored vehicle crewman, according to thefallen.militarytimes.com.
His first deployment was to Iraq from 2006 to 2007, during the culmination of the War in Iraq, and he was subsequently deployed to Afghanistan during October 2009, during the final year of “Operation Enduring Freedom,” which had been initiated as the result of the attack on America on September 11, 2001, by terrorist elements based in Afghanistan.
At age 25, Smith was fatally injured on January 23, 2010, as the result of a suicide bomber attack while on patrol with his unit in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
The Washington Post reported on January 31, 2010, that Smith was injured when “a suicide bomber made it through the security perimeter and detonated a bomb, which had killed three Marines and injured four others,” noting further that Smith’s sister stated that a ball-bearing that had been contained in the bomb had fatally embedded itself in the back of the Marine’s skull.
The Post further reported that his sister said, “Military doctors kept Smith on life support until his father and mother… were able to fly to (medical facilities) in (Landstuhl) Germany… Once his parents arrived, doctors removed Smith from life support, and he died. In keeping with his wishes, Smith’s organs were donated.”
His sister told The Post that “They (medical authorities) told us he saved five or six other people because of that (the organ donations) … I think David would have liked that.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that Smith had died on January 26 from the wounds he had received on January 23.
The (Baltimore) Sun reported on February 2, 2010, that Sergeant Smith was to be interred in the Arlington National Cemetery.
Smith’s military service awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, according to thefallen.militarytimes.com.
In the aftermath of Smith’s death, his family established the Sergeant David J. Smith Memorial Fund” to provide temporary assistance to Veterans in Frederick County.” The fund can be accessed at sgtdavidjsmith.org.
Additionally, a scholarship is issued in his name every year at Frederick High School from an endowed fund. East Carolina University set up its own memorial scholarship at the School of Engineering and Technology, that being the David J. Smith Leadership