Capt. Benedict J. Smith Memorial Book
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Monroe County Soldier Killed in Black Hawk Helicopter Crash
by Alex Fees
You may have heard that the Missouri soldier who died when a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down
in Iraq last week was named Captain Joseph Smith.
In Monroe City, west of Hannibal, people will tell you otherwise.
They have, indeed, suffered a loss. But here, he was known as Ben.
Captain Benedict Joseph Smith was one of six U.S.
Army soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division who died when a Black Hawk helicopter was apparently brought down by shoulder
fired missile on the east side of the Tigris River, near Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town.
Half a world away, Sister
Sue Walker remembers Ben as a second-grader.
She taught him at Holy Rosary Catholic School, in Monroe City, where she now serves as principal. There, she says Ben
played the role of the Ringmaster in a fifth and sixth-grade production of "P.T. Barnum."
"He just stood so straight
and tall. He was a real leader, even then."
Smith's eighth grade class photo hangs with other alumni photos right outside
the classroom where he attended second grade. In the photograph, he's standing in the back row, wearing a blue suit. He appears
to be one of the tallest students in his class.
Smith would go on to graduate from Monroe City High School in 1993,
and enlist in the Army. Later, he was accepted at U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Sister Sue remembers more recent
"Recently, I attended his wedding, which was a year ago in September. He was just so happy to be married,
and so happy to be in love. He just had everything going for him, ready to be a part of the world. He really enjoyed being
in the Army, being in the service."
Smith's wife, Maggie, also serves in the 101st, as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot.
Smith was based at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
He is the second oldest of six children.
Smith's wife is on
the way from Iraq to their home in Tennessee. Funeral services for Smith are pending. He will be buried near his parent's
home, in the town of Indian Creek, MO.
Outside his parents' country home, a crisp, colorful American flag blows in
the wind, right next to a faded yellow ribbon, which is tied near the base of the flagpole.
Sadly, it is a faded yellow
ribbon for a soldier who will not be coming home.
101st remembers fallen Black Hawk crew
By PFC. THOMAS DAY U.S. Army 40th Public Affairs Detachment
QAYARRAH, Iraq The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) used Veterans Day to remember the four fallen "Screaming Eagles"
of the Nov. 7 helicopter crash at a ceremony in Qayarrah.
Capt. Benedict J. Smith, Chief Warrant Officer Kyran E. Kennedy, Staff Sgt.
Paul M. Neff, and Staff Sgt. Scott C. Rose, all members of the 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, were killed in a crash
after an attack in Tikrit Friday. Their fellow aviators honored their sacrifices at the 101st Airborne's "Q-West" Airfield,
under the shadows of two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters the type of aircraft in which the crew took their final flight into hostile
The crew of Black Hawk 26431, "The Goat," were remembered on Veteran's Day
as four unique individuals but with a common love of their families and trust in their fellow soldiers.
"In the deadly chaos of battle, soldiers hold trust and when they fight, they
fight for each other because of the trust that resides in one another," said Lt. Col. Laura Richardson, 5-101st Aviation commander.
"The crew of aircraft 26431 had that trust."
Capt. Ben Smith
The son of two Missouri pig farmers, Smith was remembered for his adoration
of his wife, his affinity for bacon and his inability to keep his desk organized.
"The funny thing was, you could ask him for a specific memo or paper and he
would only have to move two or three sheets to come up with it," said Capt. Patrick Patrino, who delivered Smith's eulogy.
Patrino recalled an experience in breakfast chow hall line where his friend's
family roots shined. After Patrino refused bacon from a chow hall server, Smith "proceeded to load his plate up with bacon
and told the server, I'll have the bacon that he didn't get'."
Smith recently married Capt. Maggie J. (Bradley) Smith before both deployed
to Kuwait before the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, she is with 9th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment.
CW3 Kyran Kennedy
Like another Democrat named Kennedy from Massachusetts, Chief Warrant Officer
3 Kyran Kennedy knew the value of doing what you can do for your country, recalled his friend Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jimmy
Kennedy, a native Bostonian and resident of Hopkinsville, Ky., loved a political
debate among friends, which the Republican McElhaney was happy to give him over a cup of morning coffee.
Kennedy was the crew's safety officer, a responsibility he never took lightly.
"He always came up with a way to do it safely," said McElhaney during the ceremony. "He was never there to say, no, we can't
do it.' He just came up with other, safer ways to do it."
Kennedy was in his 16th year in the Army when his helicopter went down Friday.
He is survived by his wife Kathy and children Christopher, 11, Kaitlyn, 9, and Kevin, 3.
Staff Sgt. Paul Neff
"He left us doing what he loved to do: fly," said Sgt. First Class Jerardo
Gamino. "If he were standing here today, he would tell his soldiers, get in that aircraft, fly, do your job."
Neff was an honest non-commissioned officer, remembered his friend. He loved
the Army, having grown up in Columbia, South Carolina, just miles from the Army's Fort Andrew Jackson. "He performed his job
in an efficient, professional manor," said Gamino.
Neff asked his girlfriend Sabrina Campbell to marry him before the 101st Airborne
Division deployed to Kuwait. She said yes. Neff is survived by Sabrina and his seven-year-old son Christopher.
Staff Sgt. Scott Rose
Like his crew-mate Kennedy, Staff Sgt. Scott Rose was born in Boston. He is
the son of a retired colonel and father of five-month old Megan, his first child with wife Michele. He had never meet Megan.
Sgt. Bradley Green remembered the day his friend celebrated the Megan's birth
this past summer. "He came to me and asked me if I was as nervous as he was when my daughter was born. Of course I said yes,
and we talked for hours about being a dad and how wonderful it will be when we go home."
Just before Rose flew his last mission, he told Green that he would soon be
leaving the unit to teach Advanced Individual Training in Fort Eustis, Va. Green told his friend that he would miss him. Rose
replied facetiously, "you're not going to get all weepy eyed on me?"
"Well Scott, you got me all weepy eyed now."