Fallen Warrior: Senior Airman Bradley Smith

  • Published
  • By 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

For our Fallen Warrior commemoration this week, we remember Senior Airman Bradley Smith, 10th Air Support Operations Squadron member, from Troy, Illinois.

Smith followed in his brother’s footsteps when he joined the Air Force in November 2006.

He deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, in support of a regiment from the 4th Infantry Division. While on patrol with his team, less than a month after his arrival, they came under enemy fire. Part of the team advanced over a bridge when an improvised explosive device detonated, killing two soldiers and wounding another.

While under intense fire Smith and an Army medic went to help, pulling the injured wingman and a fallen soldier to safety. Once stabilized, Smith rejoined the firefight and called in close air support.

During the next 30 minutes, Smith controlled three separate formations of attack helicopters while steering his team clear of friendly fire. By this time, the body of the other fallen soldier had been located and Smith volunteered without hesitation to conduct the recovery mission.

He waded through waist-high water with the Army medic to retrieve the body in the creek. As they made it to the casualty collection point a second IED exploded, killing them both instantly.

Smith is remembered as being family oriented. He left behind a wife and newborn daughter. He was very well-liked in his squadron and remembered as a leader among peers.

Editor's note: The Fallen Warrior series highlights Fallen Warriors who exemplify our core values and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Take a moment to honor this week’s hero.