Senior Airman Bradley Randall Smith was born on September 11th, 1985 in Little Rock, Arkansas, and was raised in Troy, IL. A graduate of Triad High School, he was a member of the football team and an active member in his youth group at Bethel Baptist Church.
He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2006 and was an Honor Graduate from basic training. Following Tactical Air Control Party technical training at Hurlburt Field, Florida, he was assigned to the 14th Air Support Operations Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina where he attended and graduated Army Basic Airborne and Air Assault Schools. In 2009, he was assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Riley, Kansas where he completed Army Pathfinder School, graduating #2 of 90, and the Joint Terminal Attack Controller Qualification Course. He was also awarded the gold German Military Proficiency Badge, finishing #1 of 80 competitors.
Brad met his wife Tiffany while in basic training and they married in Feb. 2008 in Monterey, Ca. Their daughter Chloe was born in October of 2009. Brad was able to be at her birth and spend time with his daughter before he left for Afghanistan. He was so excited to have a baby daughter.
In December, 2009, he deployed to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, supporting 1-12 Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Operating out of Forward Operating Base Wilson, near Kandahar, Afghanistan, he conducted numerous Close Air Support missions while under hostile fire supporting Bravo Company, 1-12 Infantry Regiment.
On January 3, 2010, while on a dismounted area reconnaissance patrol in the vicinity of Badvan village, his 13-man platoon-sized element was attacked by indirect mortar fire and an improvised explosive device. The initial attack threw an Airman and a Soldier into an adjacent creek, critically wounding the Airman and mortally wounding the Soldier. A second Soldier was mortally wounded and thrown 200 meters across the village by the blast. Airman Smith, without regard to his own safety, immediately rushed from his covered position, and into the waist-high water of the creek to save his fellow Airman and recover the killed Soldier. After moving the victims of the improvised explosive device attack to the Casualty Collection Point, Airman Smith volunteered to retrieve the soldier thrown across the village. Determined to never leave a comrade behind, Airman Smith proceeded at extreme risk, and without regard to his personal safety, along the eastern edge of the village to the Soldier’s remains. Airman Smith retrieved the fallen Soldier and began maneuvering back through the village toward the extraction site. Airman Smith waded back through the waist-high creek and proceeded toward the Casualty Collection Point. Upon arrival, a second Improvised Explosive Device detonated, killing Airman Smith and the platoon medic instantly.
Airman Smith made the ultimate sacrifice protecting his fellow comrades in arms and the United States of America. His exemplary life defines the Air Force Core Values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do. Airman Smith was awarded the Purple Heart, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Combat Action Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Good Conduct Award, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NATO Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border, Basic Military Training Honor Graduate Ribbon, and Air Force Training Ribbon. Airman Smith is survived by his wife, Tiffany, his daughter, Chloe, his parents, Gary and Paula Smith, his brother, Staff Sergeant Gary Ryan Smith, as well as many other family members, friends, and TACP brothers. Senior Airman Bradley Randall Smith, your duty has been performed honorably and heroically, you will never be forgotten. Duty First and Always Ready!