This week marks 10 years since the beginning of the Iraq war, a good time honor those from Montgomery County who sacrificed their lives in the fight, including Tristan Caleb Smith of Bryn Athyn.
Smith, who was 23-years-old, was killed by a roadside bomb in Taji, Iraq, on Aug. 27, 2006, where he was serving as a weapons specialist with the U.S. Army’s Fourth Infantry Division.
Tristan was the son of Grant and Kim Smith, and had three siblings Alizah, Jennica and Jaron. He was a member of the Bryn Athyn Fire Company.
Reverend Grant Schnarr described the fallen soldier as the following:
Tristan always wanted to serve, and every time you turned around he was there, smiling. He would work cheerfully and diligently, whether at the Fire Company, SWET weekends, or volunteer service. It may have been different at home or at school, especially if it had to do with homework or cleaning his room, but when in service to others the one thing you could always say about Tristan was that you can count on him.
By one count, the war is directly responsible for 189,000 deaths, not including those who died from hardship caused by the fighting.
CNN has a stunning map of all casualties in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
In all, 4,802 Americans and allies have died in the war, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, including 197 Pennsylvanians.
Among them, are six people from Montgomery. From the CNN war casualties website:
· Tristan Caleb Smith, 23, of Bryn Athyn. One of four soldiers killed when a roadside bomb detonated near their M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle during combat operations in Taji, Iraq, on Aug. 27, 2006.
· John Kulick, 35, of Harleysville. One of four soldiers killed when a mine exploded, followed by an enemy attack with small-arms fire in Bayji, Iraq, on Aug. 9, 2005.
· Travis Martin Stottlemyer, 20, of Hatfield. Died as a result of a non-hostile incident at Naval Support Activity Bahrain in Manama, Bahrain, on Aug. 17, 2008.
· Joseph Basil Maglione, 22, of Lansdale. Killed by a non-combat weapon discharge at Camp Coyote, Kuwait, on April 1, 2003.
· Sherwood Russell Baker, 30, of Plymouth. Killed in a large explosion during a military raid looking for suspected 'chemical munitions' at a building in northeastern Baghdad, Iraq, on April 26, 2004.
· Anthony Lee Sherman, 43, of Pottstown. Found unconscious in his living quarters and died after cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and other attempts to revive him were unsuccessful on Aug. 27, 2003, in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.