Soldier Honored: Justin S. Smith
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: 1st LT.
U.S. Army First Lieutenant Justin S. Smith, of Lansing, Michigan was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colorado. He was serving as a General Armor Officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On November 7, 2005, 1LT Smith and three other soldiers were killed when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near their dismounted patrol in Baghdad. He was 28 years old.
A graduate of Waverly High School, Justin Smith excelled in sports, with his passions being wrestling and football. From a young age he was destined to wear a uniform. After high school graduation in 1995 he joined the Army and attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He became a signal specialist and later earned his Airborne (Jump) Wings. 1LT Smith worked diligently to be promoted to the next rank. His hard work and leadership skills paid off when he was offered a slot in the Army’s Green to Gold Commissioning Program. In 2004, 1LT Smith completed the ROTC program and earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Campbell University. After graduation, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and a short time later, earned his promotion to 1st Lieutenant. One of his favorite past-times was dancing – which is how he met his wife. They were married soon after meeting and were later blessed with a son.
1LT Smith’s military career included a tour in Bosnia and one in South Korea. He was on his third tour in Iraq when he made the ultimate sacrifice. His wife said he was keeping a journal of his experiences in the war and he was planning to share it with her when he came home. She said her husband was proud to be a soldier and “believed in what he was doing.”
1LT Smith’s son is the recipient of a Folds of Honor Children’s Fund Scholarship.