Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army CWO John D. Smith

32, of Nevada.
Smith died in the weather-related crash of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter in Kuwait. He was assigned to 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, Giebelstadt, Germany. Died on February 24, 2003.

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"JD was one of the only people who was nice to me. He didn't care that I wasn't liked, that others were mean to me, that others excluded me from everything. He was so kind to me. He was my only friend for a while. His loss, to this world, is undeniable. He was a fine person, of character, of compassion, of love, of God. I have truly known few people like him. I will never forget JD."
Maria of Italy

"To JD's family and all friends: JD continues to live in my family's life every day. In fact in 2006 we decided to name our son John D. in honor of my best Ft. Rucker friend and flying stick buddy. JD is now seven years old and knows the value of JD Smith. As soon as we can we would like to visit JD's family in Utah. Italian friends, we will never forget."
Massimiliano BELLADONNA of Rome, Italy

"God bless you JD Smith and your family. His sacrifice will never be forgotten."
Adam Teach of New Berlin, WI

"JD, bro it's been almost 8 yrs this week...we miss ya tons."

"To JD's family: I knew JD personally for a few years while stationed at Aviano, Italy. JD was a great guy full of energy and life. I will always remember what a great friend he was to so many people. He had a special something that lit up a room with his smile. JD you are missed!"
Brent Dillon of Delray Beach, FL

"From the Murrays and the Walkers in Sparks NV, we want you to know we appreciate the sacrifice that John made in the fight for America and Americans. We know it is because of brave soldiers like him we are able to enjoy this Christmas. Decemver 25, 2008"
Murray and Walker Families of Sparks, NV

"May 21, 2007
To the family of John D. Smith. John gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"JD Smith was originally from West Valley City, Utah. I went to Elementary, Jr. High and High School with Darren. (Back then he went by Darren not JD) We walked home from school together for years. He was a good friend. It was his sense of humor that really got me. He managed to crack me up at least once a day. He had a sharp wit and a charm that was undeniable. Growing up he was bright and self-assured without being arrogant. He had the ability to project strength while maintaining kindness. He had a genuine goodness about him. He knew who he was and what was important in life. One thing Darren wasn’t was idle. He was always doing something. I remember once trying to explain to him about the show Moonlighting and how his snappy comebacks reminded me of Bruce Willis’s portrayal of David. He just didn’t get it because he didn’t watch TV. He told me over and over again about how he thought TV was a huge waste of time. Now I wonder if he somehow knew that his time would be short and that he had to live each moment to the fullest. By high school we traveled in different circles and only talked occasionally but I always thought of him as my friend. He had a strong testimony of his faith and served and LDS mission to Italy. Before he left, I went to his farewell. It was held at the church and then moved to an “open house” reception at his home. I was not an active member of any church at that time so I felt quite uncomfortable with the sheer number of religious people waiting to wish him well. My apprehension overtook me and I tried to sneak out unnoticed, but he saw me. Unable to get through the crowd, he opened the living room window and hung half of his body out of it. As I tried to leave out the front door he said, “ Charley, you’re not leaving before saying goodbye are you.” That’s the kind of guy he was. There could be a hundred people around him and he had the uncanny ability to make you feel like you were welcome and important. I can remember the day I found out that Darren had died. I had avoided the television because of my small children and the heavy coverage of the war, so I didn’t know for quite some time. I saw a headline in our local paper that showed a picture of Darren with his family and said “JD Smith Local Hero”. The headline didn’t surprise me I had always thought that Darren was capable of heroism. I read the article out loud to my family thinking that it was a story about him rescuing someone. I read until I discovered that he had died…then I couldn’t go on. I broke down and cried. I couldn’t believe that he was gone. After I regained my composure my children, husband and I prayed for Meredith and their family. If anyone knew Darren they knew that family was very important to him. I saw him find the love of his life, Meredith, in High School. She was a cheerleader but like Darren she was not the norm. She was kind, beautiful, and genuinely liked by everyone who met her. Theirs was a good match. I was really glad to see two people of such quality find each other. My heart now goes out to her and their daughters. I can only say that they were truly blessed to have shared this life together, if even for a short time. I know that he will be waiting for her on the other side. Until then, I hope that she knows that there are countless people just like me, who pray for her and ask the Lord to comfort her. I don’t know if having a loved one called a Hero posthumously helps to comfort anyone who has felt such a profound loss, but Darren was an American Hero for more than the way he died. He embodied our most precious values; conviction, love, compassion, faith, and honor. He was an American Hero because of the way he lived."
Charolette Price-Jensen of West Jordan, Utah

"I first met JD in Warrant Officer Candidate School. Though he was a class ahead of me, he never acted as if he was a class "above" me. I never would have guessed that he didn't have prior service. He carried himself in such a professional way. When he and I both wore grey hats (go EIGHTBALLS!) in flight school, he drove me nuts because he always knew the answer. It seemed that even when he was wrong, he was right. It was the most uncanny thing. He was always reading, studying, talking aviation... and bemusing about how great his family was/is. JD could outrun me, out PT me, out "ultimate football" me, and probably even outlove me.... but it couldn't be said that he didn't outlive me. His love for the outdoors, his family, his church, and his job added more to his life than most people could live in TWO lifetimes.
I remember the day that I heard of his crash. I was in Kuwait waiting to cross the berm and do what I'd trained for. When the names were released, I just spent my whole day in my tent. It wasn't fair, it isn't fair. The world is a darker place for his passing, but a better place for his passing through. Save a seat for me, JD. I'll be there some day."
Douglas Chace of Washington, DC

I would like to say thank you to you and the other soldiers who were on that Blackhawk with you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy."
Mike Casey of El Paso, Texas

"I attended both Basic Training, Warrant Officer Candidate and Flight School with J.D. He was a man of great character and integrity and will be missed by everyone he knew. May God bless his family."
Mark Holt of North Carolina

"To the family and friends,

Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your loved ones bravery and sacrifice. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. Your loved one is a hero. Greater love have no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.

God bless you.

Home Front Ministries
Shepherd of the Hills Church
Porter Ranch, CA"

"Thanks for stepping forward when America needed you. To the family - Thank you for your contribution to our liberty and freedom. I'm sorry for your tremendous loss."
Ronald Carlson of Montrose, MN

"Warrant Officer Smith, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"John D. Smith actions made my family safer. How do you express your thanks for something as important as that? I can only say that I am grateful for this brave man's devotion to his duty. God bless him and his family."
The Estes Family of Phoenix, AZ

"Thank you John Smith, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To Wendy

I am a soldier just finishing my tour in Iraq. I met your husband at our weekly church services in Udari. I was one of three Military Intelligence Warrant Officers who had just arrived in Udari from the Utah National Guard. It was at our weekly church meeting that we first met J.D. and we became fast friends. He was in the process of trying to arrange to take us up in his Blackhawk the week of the accident. We were just beginning to get to know him and his wonderful optimistic personality when the new came to us of the accident. I was the acting LDS servicemen's group leader at the time so I was allowed to attend the memorial service at the hangar in Udari with another of the Warrant Officer's from our unit. It was a memeorable service. I just wanted you to know how very much the loss of your husband has impacted me. As I have had to suffer my own inconveniences and separations from my family and when I have thought about what my children are missing, I have often remembered what the Lord has asked you and your daughters to sacrifice and it has humbled me. I am a few weeks away from finishing my tour and as I have said, the thought of your sacrifice has deeply touched me. I have tried not to complain and have wondered many times why one of us is taken and another allowed to continue in this life. I pray with all my heart for the Lord to bless you and in some way compensate you and your children for the sacrifice that your wonderful husband has been required to make. I imagine you must be a wonderful person yourself, as J.D. was a fine person and he probably was no dummy when it came to picking a wife. Thank you for your involuntary contribution and may the Lord ever be with you and your children. You are in my prayers. I always think of you and J.D. when I hear the saying about war, "All gave some, and some gave all." May God Bless"
CW2 Corby G. Campbell of Draper, Utah

"To the family and friends of CWO John Smith:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless John for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of CWO John Smith:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of John, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on