Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army CW4 Bruce A. Smith

41, of West Liberty, Iowa.
Smith was the commanding pilot of a CH-47 Chinook Helicopter when it went down in Al Fallujah, Iraq. Smith was assigned to Detachment 1, Company F, 106th Aviation Battalion, Army National Guard, Davenport, Iowa. Died on November 2, 2003.

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"Proud to have flown alongside you. Happy to call you friend. I miss you every day brother."
CPT David A Hill of Madison, WI

"To the family of CW4 Bruce Smith. I was blessed to have met and flown with Bruce and his crew many times in Iraq in 2003. As the Commander of Army Materiel Command, Iraq, Bruce flew me from Balad to my log outposts from Mosul to Al Asaad to Tikrit and Camp Victory. He was the consumate professional...a true Soldier. I think of him, his crew and those Soldiers very often, but especially on Memorial Day. It was an honor to have served with him. God Bless him and his entire extended family"
Bob Spidel, COL, USA (Ret) of Grayson, Georgia USA

"Though I barely new you I was with the 368th engineers who built your wash racks and landing pads. I can remember every time you came in or left I was so proud to be serving beside a great man.I am deeply saddened for you to be taken . You will always be remembered."
SSG James E Mumford of West Rutland Vt

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"To the family of CW4 Bruce A Smith. I had the extreme honor of having served with Bruce both at home and in Iraq. He was the kind of Officer you would follow anywhere he asked with no questions. He always HD time ri talk with mW and really made me feel like part of the unit which wasmore than some. Losing him was the worst thing to happen to us as well as your family. He shall be misses by me forever. Having his name as well as Paul and Brian's tattooed on me was the beat way I could think of to always have them with me."
Ronnie Milburn of Davenport, Iowa

"10 years tomorrow and I will never forget! You made a lasting impression on everyone around you and it was an honor to serve with you."
Adam of Bloomington, IL

"Bruce was among the best of the best at whatever he did."
SGM RET. Chet W. Wildemuth of Tipton, Iowa U.S.A.

"Dear bruce,
It has been almost 8 years since you passed away. I wish I had gotten to meet you just once before you left us. I will cherish all the letters and stories you sent me over the years as my godfather. I still miss you and think about you often. I know you and dad , if you could choose a way to leave this world, you would go doing what you both love most - flying. May you rest in peace and maybe someday we will meet."
Sarah Thede of Nevada, IA


I was thinking about you on this Memorial Day. I told my children about you and your sacrifice. I told them of our time as roommates in flight school. I look back at those days with fondness now. You will be a part of me all the days of my life. Thank you for all you gave to keep us free."
CW4 (RET) Steven McPeek of Savannah, GA

You are not forgotten. It is an honor to have known you."
Lynn Boeding of Spring, Texas

"November 2, 2008
To the family of CW4 Bruce A. Smith:
Bruce 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

"To Bruce's family and Friends: I was deployed with CW4 Smith. He was always a pleasure to work with and taught me a lot. I think about him and his family and pray for peace. Know that he was well respected and that his family and friends are in my prayers. He left with great memories. He is and always be a hero in my eyes.God Bless his commitment and ultimate sacrifice to OUR country."
Lydia Jensen (Willoughby) of New Orleans, LA (Now DC)

"God bless you Bruce, you were a good man and a great pilot. We will miss you and remember you always"
Sgt Adam England of Bloomington,IL

"To the family of:Bruce A. Smith I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"Heartbeats From Heaven

A cool crisp wind gently blows by my ears,
I sense a flutter in the distance too far to see.
All my emotions are on the ready to fight back the tears.
The sound is faint; others might not even hear it yet,
But I listen for it always, years of loyalty, and now a friend,
Thump, Thump, Thump, it has a pulse, a heartbeat all it own,
I cannot see it yet,
I scan the sky,
Where is it?
I know its there,
Others may think its something else, another kind, but I know,
Only one can make the sound of the mighty Chinook rotor blades.
The heartbeat is getting stronger, getting nearer to me now,
On the horizon it appears, I freeze in place afraid to move.
I wonder where it is coming from, the crew, where their going on.
Emotions run rapid, angry, sad, afraid, I don’t know how to feel.
Thump, Thump, Thump, the heartbeat is strong, directly overhead,
Am I still breathing, I am not sure that I am, my pulse is racing,
All my senses tell me that it cannot be my brother, I know he is gone.
I went to his funeral, I was there, I know it cannot be him above me.
The tears swell in my eyes as the Chinook flies away from me,
thump, thump, thump, the heartbeat is getting weaker, fading away,
heartbeats are getting weaker; the pulse of the pilot has faded away…
I can hardly see the Chinook now, just a speck on the skyline…
No heartbeat audible …but his memory will be with me forever!!
Written by Brian Smith in memory of
Bruce A. Smith
KIA Fallujah, Iraq.
May 3, 1962 – November 2, 2003"
Brian Smith of Columbus Junction, Iowa

"To My Uncle Bruce...

My uncle was a member of the National Guard,
Everyday of his life he worked so hard.
He was a pilot who taught others to fly,
Never knowing when he might die.

On November 2, 2003,
My uncle died, but at least he was free.
My uncle died a hero, no matter what you say,
‘Cause there’s 20 lives that he saved.
He landed that helicopter as smoothly as he could,
And saving 20 people out of 35, I’d have to say that’s pretty good.

My uncle is my hero, and you can’t take that from me.
My uncle is my hero, so just let me be.

At least I know one thing and that one thing is this:
He died a hero, doing what he loved best.

I thought everyone might like to know all he did if you didnt already...I dont even know all the wonderful things he did in his life. I do know that he is the greatest man I have ever known and the best uncle a girl could ask for. I will never forget him!! I love you Uncle Bruce or as I like to say...I love you Mr. Wilson....Love, Margret!!"
Tia Nachelle Smith of Columbus Junction, Iowa

"Dear Brother,
Two years have now come and gone,
The war still rages, tis far from done.
Not an hour goes by, you are on my mind,
I can’t move on, I can’t leave you behind.
Memories are all I have now, I hold these so dear,
With each memory comes a single tear.

Dear Brother,
You are often in my dreams,
So close I can touch you, still alive it seems.
But when I wake, the reality hits me so cold,
Gone forever, a memory is all I have of you to hold.

Dear Brother,
I think about what might have been,
The choice to go to war, the dilemma we are now in.
I speak out against this war, the circumstance,
Done differently, you would have a second chance.
Two thousand soldiers may have had a different life,
To hug their children, the chance to take a wife.
I pray this war ceases, no more senseless death,
Not one more soldier has to draw their final breath.

Dear Brother,
I cry for you nearly everyday,
“Your brother died a hero”, I hear everybody say.
It does not ease the pain, I am not sure it should,
Some days I wish there was something that could.
A “Sergeant York” to our Dad, he would tease,
I pray you are with him, and you are both now
“At Ease”,

Dear Brother,
I will never forget you.......

Written By
Brian Smith"
Bruce's brother, Brian Smith of Columbus Junction, Iowa

"Bruce, my extra dad over there. You always looked after me and i apreciated that. I miss you on a daily basis. brenda I'm so sorry this ever happened. I've been in shock about it for a long time. Bruce, dont worry, I'll be back under your some day."

"Mr. Smith was one of the greatest 47 pilots I got the chance to work with. I was serving with him at Al Asad at the time of his passing. He was always ready to help out in any way possible with the mission at hand. He was an extremely kind and caring person. I am proud to have served with him, one of the Army's finest."
SGT Thompson, Shelly of TallAfar, Iraq

"I knew Chief Smith shortly while I was deployed to Al Asad. He used to deliver my unit's parts from Balad, Iraq. Everytime I came to pick up parts, he would say "it's my favorite PFC!" I attended the memorial service in Al Asad for him and 1LT Slavenas. He was a great person and did a lot of things for a lot of people over there, and always with a smile. I am sure he is missed greatly by his family and those who knew him."
SPC Megan Fitzthum of 224th MI, Hunter Army Airfield, GA

"To the family of Bruce A. Smith:

The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 29 May. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain, LTC Kenneth L. Beale, Jr. will preach a message entitled “Remembering Our Freedom.” A former Soldier and country music songwriter and performer “Rockie” will pay a special musical tribute. At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Leila Campbell
Administrative Assistant
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org"

"My name is Spc. Thonn and I was part of the 106th aviation at the time of the crash and I just wanted to send my prayers and my love to the families and dear closet friends of the best soldiers in the U.S. Army National Guard in my opinion."
Andy of Moline, IL

"I flew with Chief Smith on many flights. I was stationed at Al Asad Airbase with the 94th MP CO. Chief Smith transported my prisioners in his bird, about twice a week. I always flew with him. He was a great guy. I remember the day it happened. They were going to drop off some troops at Baghdad Airport that were going home on leave, then they were going to come back and pick me up with 25 prisioners that were being transferred to the Abu Ghurayb Prision. I was waiting on the runway when my sqaud leader came out to inform me of the terrible news. I will never forget that feeling. When I would see Chief Smith he would say to me "How's my MP doing" when I would see him in the chow hall, or the PX. I will never forget you!"
Sgt. Crowell of Massachusetts

"To the family of Bruce Smith. I didn't know Bruce personally but I did have the pleasure of carrying his flag at the Healing Field in Waterloo. It made me proud to do so. My son and I were there on behalf of my 1st husband and son's father pfc David Kirchhoff Sr. along with his parents and other family members. It is hard when you lose someone but always know that they are by your side and will watch over you in everything you do. God Bless Bruce, David and all the soldiers who are fighting for us."
Brandy Joyner of Cedar Rapids, Iowa

"This is from "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom, p. 94: "Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it, you're just passing it on to someone else." I miss my Bruce so very, very much, but I find delight and love in all he has passed on."
wife--Oliva Smith of West Liberty, IA

"Ii never got to meet Bruce or his family, but I wish I could have. When T.C.B. Demo Team went to West Liberty we were very excited to meet his family but the only problem was they weren't home!! NOBODY in the state of Iowa can forget those 15 brave souls who gave their life for us. May they rest in peace and god bless their families and friends"
Ana Farrier T.C.B. Demo of Washington, Iowa

"Bruce was my baby brother and I am so touched by all that I read here. He has left a hole in our hearts that will never heal, but we soldier on knowing that is what he would have wanted from us. He touched many, many lives, both here and in Iraq, and we are all the better for it.
I close my eyes and see that wry grin.....Godspeed, bro."
Brenda Smith Peter of Coralville, Iowa

"For Bruce and the family left behind,
I knew Bruce only briefly, we were stationed together at Al Asad Airbase in Iraq, and I had the privelege of calling him a friend in that short time. Very few people can claim to be the kind of person Bruce was, and the truly great ones would never claim it. Bruce was one of these people. I will miss our talks late at night when neither of us could sleep- myself on duty, him trying to call or email home. You will be forever missed and remembered. And to the family, I cannot know your full loss, but I share your pain and am here as a friendly ear. "Our liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain.""
SGT Jason Rottinghaus of Ft. CArson, CO

"Bruce always had a smile on his face when we saw him...and he brings a smile to ours today as we remember him. Bruce was a good friend, father and husband....and now he's an American hero. We are proud to have known him. Our thoughts and prayers continue over the miles for Oliva, Nathan and Savannah."
Lynn of Spring, Texas

"Low Flight"

Dedicated to Bruce A. Smith

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth,

And Hovered out of Ground Effect on Semi-Ridgid Blades.

Earthward I've Auto'ed, and met the Rising Brush of Non-Paved Terrain;

And done a thousand things you would never care to.

Skidded and Dropped and Flared Low in the Heat Soaked Roar.

Confined there, I've chased the Earthbound Traffic

And Lost the race due to Insignificant Headwinds.

Forward and up a Little in Ground Effect,

I've Topped the Admirals hedge with drooping turns,

Where never SkyHawk nor even Tomcat Flew.

Shaking and Pulling Collective, I've Lumberd

The Low untresspassed Halls of Victor Airways;

Put out my Hand, and Touched a Tree.

Today Bruce you Fly with Angels. Thank you for your Dedication and Sacrifice. "Godspeed Chief..."
Dennis B. Dray MAJ (R) ARNG ; Former IANG Member of Tucson, AZ

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

"To CWO Smith's Family:
Though we are strangers, we want you to know how sorry we are your Bruce was taken from you. He is our hero. You are in our hearts. We will never forget."
Carol & Larry Miller of Tampa, Florida (2/24/04)

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Bruce, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"Rest in peace brave soldier!"
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"Light a candle for a soldier!

Corrie Simpson of Wilmington, Ohio USA

"Dear Smith Family,

I am so sorry for you loss. My older brother Steven Conover was also on that helicopter. Olivia, your husband was a true American hero, and I thank him for the immense sacrafice that he has made for my freedom, he will not be forgotten! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Corrie Simpson of Wilmington, Ohio 45177

"Thank you Bruce 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

"Bruce is the true meaning of a hero. His wife shows the true meaning of strength. Olivia and I are in the same situation, we both lost our husbands in that fatal crash. We couldnt be more proud to have been the wives of these two men. The love we had for our husbands will carry us through in life, but our tears will never stop falling. There will always be part of our heart that was ripped away that Nov. 2nd. We hope no one else has to go through this terrible pain. Lets hope for peace in the world and get the rest of our men and women home to their families. May no one else feel the pain we will live with forever. Bruce and Paul, you will live on in our hearts forever and we will never feel the love we had with you again. We can only hope we can continue to carry on with the strength you have taught us, and may we always make you proud."
Karen Fisher of Cedar Rapids, Iowa

"I knew Chief Smith very briefly during the war. He often flew into the airfield where my platoon works in Iraq. I knew him enough to know that he was a great, great guy. Some of my young soldiers had questions about being a helicopter pilot, and he graciously answered every one of them, for hours. We were shocked, and saddened beyond words by seeing his face among the dead in Fallujah. I know he will be sorely missed by those who loved him, because I knew him only a little, and it seems like any minute I will see his Chinook landing on our pad, and him coming through our door minutes later, a big smile on his face, begging for coffee. What a great guy."
SGT Mike Krause of Camp Anaconda, Iraq

"To the family and friends of CWO Bruce 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 Bruce 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 Bruce 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 Bruce, 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