Brian Drew Smith
Published in the Austin
American-Statesman on 7/11/2004.
Lieutenant Brian Drew Smith was killed in action on July 2, 2004, in
Iraq. So many times, the names of young men and women are written in
the news media as '`killed in action' in Iraq. This mostly anonymous
soldiers receives nothing more than a name and date in the press. They
are all sons, sisters, brothers, husbands or wives of someone who
loved and still loves them very deeply. This comment is in regard to
one beloved and lost son, brother, and husband.
Brian Drew Smith was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 3, 1973. Brian
grew up in McKinney, Texas. He attended McKinney public schools and
graduated from McKinney High School in 1990. While growing up, he
participated in the Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout. (One
of the projects he started in Troop 303 was to put flags on the graves
of the veterans on Memorial Day). He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree
in History from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994. Brian
always loved to read and studied history continually to the date of
his death. He attended Baylor University's School of Law and received
his law degree in 1998. He practiced law in Austin, Texas.
His long-term fascination with mechanized armor and the evolution of
the '`tank' motivated him to enlist in the army in January of 2003.
Rather than practice law in the army, he wanted to work his way '`up
through the ranks' beginning with basic training, officer candidate
school, and armor training. He was assigned to the 1-34th Armored
Division at Ft. Riley, Kansas. He was deployed to Iraq in February
2004. Brian loved to correspond via e- mail with his family, friends,
and an ever-growing list of readers and colleagues, with his thoughts
and observations concerning the conflict in Iraq. Brian was a genuine
computer 'geek'. He loved nothing more than a rowdy night at the
keyboard of his computer, unless it was a good history or sci-fi book.
He was brilliant. When he was a kid, his parents ordered a belt that
was supposed to have his name on it. Instead, the belt said ``Brain'.
He wore it proudly. Brian was an eloquent speaker, a gifted writer,
and possessed an extraordinary imagination and intellect.
On July 2, 2004, Brian and a platoon under his command were ordered on
what was considered to be a '`routine' road patrol in his Abrams M1A1
tank and other mechanized vehicles. Upon arrival at an assigned
'`observation point,' Brian got out of his tank to evaluate its tracks
and suspension. He was shot in the chest, under his arm, by an Iraqi
sniper (one of two) and died shortly there after. His ground support
troopers '`neutralized' both snipers.
Brian is survived by his loving wife of two years (the love of his
life for over eleven years), Kathleen (KC) Carroll-Smith of Austin,
Texas; his parents, William M. and Linda Smith of McKinney, Texas; his
sister, Dr. Erin M. Smith of Austin, Texas; and his grandfather,
William M. Benton of McKinney, Texas; great-aunt and uncle, Reverend
Joe and Rooney Ader of Austin, aunt, Corinne Brown of Conroe, Texas,
aunt, Beth and uncle Dean Sawyer of Kerrville, Texas; cousins, Valerie
Sawyer of Cedar Bluff, Mississippi, Lisa LaBaff of Sugar Land, Texas,
Timothy and Jonathan Ader of Austin, and Duane and Nancy Cashon of
Rheas Mill, Texas. He also has a host of other aunts, uncles, and
cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Martell and Eva
Lou Smith and his grandmother, Alda B. Benton. There will be a
memorial service Sunday, July 11, at 3:00 p.m. at Memorial United
Methodist Church, 6100 Berkman, Austin, Texas. Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow
in McKinney will be handling the arrangements.
Speaking as his father, I hope and pray that those who place young
people in harms way truly know and realize the gravity of their
responsibility and its consequences. May a merciful God help and guide
us all during these times of sorrow and tribulations.