GRAND PRAIRIE, TX, U.S.A.
SPC, 215TH BDE SUPPORT BN, 3RD HEAVY BCT,1ST CAV DIV, FORT HOOD, TX
12/31/2006/ BAQUBAH, IRAQ
U.S. Army SPC Richard Anthony Smith was born in Arlington, where he grew up, with the exception of time his family spent in Whitehouse in East Texas.
SPC Smith was killed in action on New Year’s Day, Sunday, December 31, 2006 during combat operations in Iraq. He was 20 years old from Grand Prairie, Texas.
SPC Smith believed he was called by God to serve in the Army. SPC Smith deployed to Iraq in October. Richard was trained originally as a dietitian and cook. In Iraq he was assigned as a driver. During the short time he served in the Army, SPC Richard Anthony Smith distinguished himself as the 1st Cavalry Division’s Soldier of the Year.
In 2004, SPC Smith graduated from Summit High School in Mansfield, where he met his future wife during their junior year. SPC Smith and his wife, Amber Smith of Arlington, were expecting their first child in three months. SPC Smith married his high school sweetheart in July 2005 after he completed boot camp.
“He loved her so much,” explained his mother, Barbara Speer . “He told me that the worst thing he could think of was if he died there … because he wouldn’t want to hurt her.” She added that her son’s life was transformed since marrying Amber.
“He became very passionate about the Army and about doing what God was trying to tell him to do,” Barbara Speer said. “I cried because I didn’t want him to go into the service at first. Then he told me, ‘Mom, I’m going because God called me, and you can’t cry.’ ”
SPC Smith was taking college courses and intended to get a degree after his military service was completed.
In addition to his wife and mother, SPC Smith is survived by his father and stepmother, James and Tammy Smith of Frisco; a brother, Andy Preston of Grand Prairie; and two sisters, Denise Thompson of Arlington and Jessica Preston of Grand Prairie.