Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Bradley R Smith

Troy, Illinois

January 3, 2010

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
24 Air Force Senior Airman

10th Air Support Operations Squadron

Fort Riley, Kansas

 Killed near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

Patriot Guard Riders Honoring Our Hero

Photos Courtesy of Rick "Stretch" Wegner 

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Submitted by Curtis W. Jacobs.

Subject: Flags for Senior Airman Bradley R. Smith, 24, Troy, IL
Date: Monday, January 11, 2010, 12:18 PM
I want to thank Post 407 for the use of the flags for the escort and
visitation missions for Senior Airman Bradley Smith. Thanks to AJ, who
helped load them (and will help unload them this evening). Some of the
photos attached are of the flags at the funeral home. As the old
Patriot Guard saying goes, "You can NEVER have too many flags". See the
attached photos, and you will see what I mean.

As of this morning, nobody had posted a report about the escort on the
Patriot Guard web site. So I posted a report. This is what I wrote
(with some minor editing):

I don't believe there was anyone that made it through the escort mission
of Senior Airman Bradley Smith from Belleville to Glen Carbon without
shedding a tear. That was a very gut wrenching and emotional journey.
Even before arriving at Lebanon, people were parked along the highway
holding flags, holding their hand over their hearts or saluting along
the route. People were lining the streets in near zero wind chill
conditions to pay their tribute to Senior Airman Bradley Smith. The
GIANT billboard in Lebanon said it so eloquently that Senior Airman
Bradley Smith gave his life today so that we may live tomorrow. Lebanon
was only the beginning of the tear jerking drive to Glen Carbon. People
from Highland, St Jacob, and many other areas were there along the route
to pay their respects. Then the part of the route that really made the
tears flow like a river. The city of Troy was lined for roughly 5 miles
of flags that were brought in from Galesburg by Larry Eckhardt. More
than a hundred volunteers had posted these flags along the route.
Businesses posted their tributes, people held posters and/or photos of
Senior Airman Bradley Smith. Thousands of people braved the dangerously
frigid conditions to line the streets in Troy to pay their respects.

-Curt "Papa Jacobs"

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