Living Memorial For Adrian Smith

Submitter’s Name: Sherrell Washington
The Service Member’s Name: Adrian Smith
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Specialist/E-4
Military Job: Convoy Security
Hometown for Service Member:
Fort Worth, Texas

Submitted by Navarro College student, Sherrell Washington

Adrian Smith joined the Army on his 28th birthday. He was currently living in Fort Worth, TX, in an apartment. Before Adrian joined the Army he was in the Navy, but he felt like he did not take advantage of that opportunity. He felt like he needed to reestablish his self, so enlisting in the Army was best for him. He had prayed about what branch he should join for days and felt that God finally showed him which one is best for him.

Smith said the first days in the Army were confusing for him. He thought the Navy was like the Army ways, but it was not. He realized everyday he would have to wake up early and go to sleep late – but in the first few days in his new branch felt like he finally found his purpose in life. He felt like he found something that would help push him forward in life.

I asked him “Do you remember your instructor or did you have a favorite instructor?” He said instructors were similar and none of them really stood out to him. He said in the beginning, the Instructors treated you like a child even though you were an adult. In his head, he had to become a child again. However, he said, the instructors did not take a day off because they wanted to push you and make you a success.

He served in Operation Iraq Freedom. To get to Iraq, there was a 23-hour flight and they stopped over Kuwait. Kuwait was a neutral place to land and prepare to go into Iraq. Smith said he got off the plane and it was completely dark. In order for them to get to their destination in Kuwait, they had to take buses. For protection, the buses had curtains to prevent people from seeing inside the bus. He said he could not see what was going outside because of the curtains and that the lives of the soldier-riders depended on the soldier-drivers.

In Iraq, his assignment was Convoy Security. He provided security for the convoys in which logistics or supplies were transported from point A to point B. They rode in heavily armed vehicles. During the tour, he did not see combat but had to treat each day as if he would, knowing he was in a war zone and the potential for combat and attack was constantly present.

Smith said they ate well and because of mission times, they could eat until midnight. He said the best part about the food was that was unlimited. He said he drank cranberry juice with every meal and that he did not even like cranberry juice until he got into the Army. They also had fast food foods on base, but you had to spend your own money to purchase the food. I asked him “Did you have plenty of supplies?” He dropped his head then looked up and smiled – he said they had plenty of supplies and care packages came from people all around the U.S. because “people actually cared about us.”

Smith indicated that he did not feel pressure or stress out while serving because he did not think about home. He said he had to forget about home because he was there to focus and he did not need any distractions. Adrian said the only luck he needed was maintaining who he was; he wanted to stick with what he believed in and he used laughter to maintain his humor. To keep himself busy, when not on duty, he watched movies, wrestled and joked around with comrades. He remembered Charlie Wilson coming and putting a show on for them. In Adrian words, “Boy, it was good night.”

During service, he saw a lot of the world and traveled from Texas to Oklahoma, New Mexico, Georgia, Louisiana, Kuwait and Germany. Germany was the place they stopped and rested.

His funniest memory was when he in Oklahoma. He said he a drill charger that had a “country” accent. He got so used to the drill charger being around, and Smith started imitating him. He would joke around with his friends and act like the drill charger. His greatest memory was going home. He was appreciative to leave the war with the same people he got there with and grateful that nobody he served with was killed. Smith said he was close to six people on this journey and only two “went down.”

The most painful memory he had was concerning the two comrades. One was young woman, who “went down” for stress and had to be returned to the states; he was close to this young woman and he was sorry to see the affects that being in Iraq had on her. Another one was a friend who had a seizure and died. After his friend died, Smith said he started to lose it. He could not function right after that death and after that, his chain of command tried to kick him out. They took his weapon and tried to make him look like threat, but they could not see that he was hurting because he just lost two of his friends. All he could say was “but God.” Overall, he said he had some good leadership and even though he did not see eye to eye with some fellow soldiers, he respected them.

The day his service ended, he had an option of continuing or re-enlisting. When he chose not to continue, he knew it was going to be different. He knew when he went back “out to the real world” he had to go from being a solider to an everyday person. The day his service ended, he did a lot of reflecting and saw the progress of where he had come from to that day. When he got discharge papers in the mail saying his service period was complete, he said he felt like dancing. Weeks after of being at home, he finally went to back to work. He stayed in touched with the five people he met overseas. To him those five people are like family and “his true backbone.” He says he could not have survived being in the Army without them.

Smith said, “If I could get on a stage and give a warning to everyone, it would “Don’t Let Love Die.” He also wants to remind everyone to make sure laughter is a part of life and to remind everyone to help someone else. He wants to thank everyone for the prayers and the criticism. He is also grateful for the people that believed in him.