David C. Smith
Final Flight on June 09, 2010
David C. Smith, Staff Sergeant, USAF
August 04, 1983 - June 09, 2010
Staff Sergeant David Cazzie Smith
Born August 04, 1983, Died June 09, 2010 in Helmand, Afghanistan.
Staff Sergeant David C. Smith of Eight Mile, Alabama is the youngest of five children and a Satsuma High graduate. After graduation he waited a full year before making a decision to join the Air Force.
He was know by several nicknames, either by his family, his friends, or his comrades, 'Smitty', 'Stuntman', 'Cazzie' or even simply 'Dave'. He was very good with computers and electronics and could dismantle anything and put it back together again. He also had compassion for others and would stand up for the underdog, something that carried over to doing rescue missions in Afghanistan. While still in school he stood up for one of his peers who was being teased because he had learning disabilities. He loved standup comedy and he himself had a dry sense of humor. Though he could be funny he also knew when it was time to be serious, and that was anytime he put on his uniform. He was intelligent, dependable, honest, humble, modest, tough and was respected by his peers.
Dave wouldn't want much fuss about him; he felt that he was just doing his job in the military. Others in his family also served. One sister is in the Coast Guard, and a brother is a Navy veteran. His maternal grandfather served with the Army's Military Police in World War II.
David was already making plans for his future, he had become engaged, was planning to continue his education, and would soon be buying a house, which he had been saving up for.
He leaves his mother, Mildred Hardee, two brothers, Randall and Todd, two sisters, Tracey and Jamie and his fiancée, Meggan Eckersley, among others.
He had previously served a tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He was scheduled to return home in just ten days. David died at age 26 near FOB Jackson, Afghanistan, in a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crash. Also killed were Air Force Staff. Sgt. Michael P. Flores, Air Force 1st Lt. Joel C. Gertz and Air Force Senior Airman Bengamin D. White. Capt. David A. Wisniewski died July 02, 2010 at National Medical Center in Bethesda, MD., due to injuries suffered in the crash.
Air Force, 66th Rescue Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
Burial is at Mobile Memorial Gardens in Tillman Corner, Alabama.
SOLIDER'S BODY RETURNED HOME FOR BURIAL
STAFF SERGEANT DAVID C. SMITH
Thursday, 17 Jun 2010
MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) - The body of a local solider returned home Thursday. Staff Sergeant David Smith, from Eight Mile, was killed last week in Afghanistan. Smith, who was stationed at Nellis Air Force base, was part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He was killed just 10 days before he was supposed to return home. It was an emotional day for many.
It was a homecoming that had a somber welcome. Family members of Staff Sgt. David C. Smith gathered at The Mobile Air Center for his arrival. A charter plane landed with the airman's body inside. As the casket draped with the American flag was lowered, the Honor Guard and Patriot Guard stood in salute.
"We try to bring respect to all our service men and women. It's sad and we hope that we can help. Words won't help them get over grieving but we can definitely draw attention to our servicemen, especially the ones that have been killed," Don Herrin, Ride Captain with the Patriot Guard said.
The 26-year-old was one of four airmen killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
"He goes out and rescues other people in his helicopter. He's a great hero. He goes out and saves other people," Herrin added.
"We're there for a reason, we love our country. We're all brothers in the military right now. It's a big loss for the family obviously and for the United States Air Force and America. I'm here with the family just to help them through," Master Sgt. Jacob Chandler with the U.S. Air Force said.
A man who served two tours in Iraq paid the ultimate price while protecting our country.
Military members did a dignified transfer while loved ones looked on in disbelief. After the casket was gently placed into the hearse, local law enforcement and Patriot Guard riders led the procession to Saraland.
Family and friends visibly shaken are preparing to say their final goodbye.
The family was too distraught to comment.
Military members tell us Smith will receive full honors at his ceremony on Monday.
The wake is Sunday night from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Radney Funeral Home in Saraland. His funeral will be held Monday at 11:00 a.m. at Little Flower Catholic Church on Government Blvd.