10th ASOS dedicates facility to fallen airman
Airmen assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Riley stand in front of a decommissioned Air Force jet bearing the name of Senior Airman Bradley Smith, who was killed in Afghanistan while serving with the Army’s 4th Infantry Division. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Roland Hale, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs)
Story by: Sgt. Roland Hale
1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
An Air Force squadron at Fort Riley rededicated its headquarters Oct. 14, 2011 in memory of one its own who was killed in 2010 while serving with an Army unit in Afghanistan.
The 10th Air Support Operations Squadron, an Air Force element attached to the 1st Infantry Division, officially touted the building "Bradley R. Smith Hall" in honor of Senior Airman Bradley Smith, who was killed in Afghanistan while serving with the 4th Infantry Division.
Smith and a platoon-sized element of Soldiers were on patrol near Kandahar in January of 2010 when they encountered an improvised explosive device and were attacked by mortars, small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades.
After the initial attack, Smith and an Army medic volunteered to leave their fighting positions to retrieve wounded personnel. Once Smith and the medic retrieved a wounded airman and a deceased Soldier, he coordinated several waves of scout helicopter attacks against the platoon's attackers.
After controlling air support for more than half an hour, Smith again volunteered to recover the remains of another fallen Soldier. On his way back to the platoon, only ten meters away from the casualty collection point, Smith and the medic hit another IED and were killed instantly.
Smith is survived by his wife, Tiffany, and young daughter, Chloe.
Squadron Commander Maj. Jason Wood spoke at the ceremony.
"Today we honor a great American hero and pay tribute to his ultimate sacrifice," he said. "He died protecting his comrades in arms, but his spirit lives on with us today."
The ceremony also honored Senior Airman Mike Malarsie, who was wounded alongside Smith during the attack.
The squadron placed the names of both airmen below the cockpit of a decommissioned A-10 Warthog that sits across from the headquarters building.
Near the entrance to the headquarters, the squadron unveiled a small monument bearing an engraving of Smith in uniform surrounded by his military decorations. The monument reads, "GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN."