HULRBURT FIELD, FL – More than 400 Airmen, families, friends, and former Tactical Air Control Party Members gathered at the TACP Memorial Wall, outside the schoolhouse May 26, 2010, to honor the sacrifice of a fallen TACP Airmen, who was killed in action during a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom January 3, 2010.
“Last year, hundreds of members, past and present of the TACP career field, stood here as we unveiled the long-awaited memorial monument dedicated to those who serve as TACP members, as well as an eternal remembrance of our brethren who lost their lives in while fighting the Global War on Terror,” said Staff Sgt. Jarred Taylor, 342nd Training Squadron instructor. “Today, by the actions of our enemies, we are forced to add another name, Senior Airman Bradley Smith, to our wall. Instead of this being a sad day, we should celebrate this warrior’s life as we honor him for all future TACPs to know his name and what he did.”
During the ceremony Airman Smith’s name joined the names of two of his fallen TACP brethren, Staff Sgt. Jacob Frazier and Airman 1st Class Raymond Losano, on the back of the memorial that was unveiled in May 2009.
Airman Smith, along with three other servicemembers, was killed during a complex ambush. After a roadside bomb detonated near a platoon he was serving with, the 26 year-old Airman volunteered to accompany the platoon medic to help treat and retrieve the wounded servicemembers. A second bomb detonated, claiming his life. Among the injured was Senior Airman Mike Malarsie, a TACP who was serving alongside Airman Smith.
“Brad was one of the most selfless people I have ever known, if he saw a friend in need, or someone in need, he was first there to try and make things right, and that is the Brad I will always remember,” said Airman Malarsie, who lost his eyesight during the engagement. “I am just a regular guy and I got to serve with this amazing person who I will never forget. I will always live my life to its fullest in honor of him, so his legacy can live on.”
Airman Smith was born in Troy, Ill., and leaves behind his wife, Tiffany, and newborn daughter Chloe, who he was only able to spend a month with before his deployment.
“Brad was more motivated than most to begin with, and was always trying to better himself, but his dedication to his family is what really made an impression on me,” Airman Malarsie continued. “He was always talking about Tiff and Chloe. He had a set schedule while deployed to talk with them and he never missed it. It was what was most important to him, what drove him.”
Also in attendance at the ceremony were Airman Smith’s parents, Gary and Paula.
“We are all here together today to remember our son’s life, and though we are sad to have lost him, we know he lived his life doing what he loved and we are proud of him for what he accomplished,” said Mrs. Smith.
The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of Airman Smith’s name on the memorial, a flag-folding presentation by the Hurlburt Honor Guard, as well as the family being presented with a memorabilia chest and flag display case from the TACP schoolhouse and TACP association, a community of TACP’s past and present.