Remembering 1st Sgt. Smith

 
1st Sgt. Smith with his fellow Marines in Kuwait just before deploying to Iraq in 2003.

1st Sgt. Smith with his fellow Marines in Kuwait just before deploying to Iraq in 2003.

 
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1st Sgt. Smith had decided to retire in January of 2003, but the military delayed all retirements for a year and he was shipped overseas with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, based at Camp Pendleton. He wasn’t eager to go to war in Iraq, but he wanted to test himself after 20 years in the Marine Corps without seeing combat.

1st Sgt. Smith was an unbelievable man, the best man I’ve ever known. He believed in his country and his men and he was a natural leader whose endurance and passion inspired us to keep moving even when we were at the point of collapse. He was committed to doing whatever it took to defend his country.

Having witnessed his death on the battlefield, I saw firsthand the price of freedom. His death changed my view of life and I now know that I must model what it means to be a free citizen, to honor his life.  I must share my experiences and be a leader, not only for my family, but for my community. I must display the Marine Corps values of Honor, Courage and Commitment in all that I do.

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We the people make up this great nation and we are the craftsmen charged with its further construction. We must stand together in our pursuit to improve upon our republic for future generations.

Let today be a day of remembrance. A day to remember those like 1st Sgt. Smith and to honor their lives with the actions of ours. Citizens should remember the men and women that laid down their lives so that future generations may know a better tomorrow.

Sgt./PO2 Jeremiah Montell

Sgt./PO2 Jeremiah Montell served in both the Marines and the Navy. He lives in San Marcos, CA with his wife and two children and is a dedicated volunteer for our PTS Program, the Guardian Project, and other special projects.