Licking native Tyler Smith, a U.S. Army sergeant, was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan.
His command released the following statement:
“On Tuesday, April 3, one of our great paratroopers, Sgt. Tyler Smith from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan. Two other troopers were wounded but are expected to return to duty in a few days. Sgt. Smith was strong yet compassionate. He loved being in the Army but loved his wife and two children even more. Sgt. Smith will be greatly missed.”
This story was released this evening by the Associated Press:
Wednesday morning Dan and Jeannie Smith of Licking got the news every parent who has a son or daughter in the military dreads.
Their son had been killed while serving in Afghanistan.
Army Sgt. Tyler Smith, a 2006 graduate of Licking High School lost his life while serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, according to Jerry Dodson, senior pastor of the Licking Pentecostal Holiness Church.
Smith leaves behind his wife, Lara and children, 5-year-old Wyatt and 2-year-old Carson.
Dodson said, while he didn’t know Smith well — he came to the church after Smith had already joined the service — that he was a very nice, strong young man who was dedicated to his family and the Lord.
Smith, who was deployed from Fort Bragg, N.C., last visited Licking in Christmas before he left to serve on the front lines in Afghanistan in January.
Dodson said Smith talked about joining the military all through high school and left for the Army shortly after graduation.
Shock is rippling through the small town of under 1,500 people as the news of Smith’s death spreads.
“I worked at the school for 10 years and pretty much watched him grow up all through elementary school,” said Debbie Dakin. He was just a very nice young man, he never caused his family any grief.”
Dakin said Smith’s family was not yet up to talking to the media.
“They are a very nice family,” she said. My heart just breaks for them.”
“What can you say under the circumstances?” said Dakin.
No details surrounding his death have been released by the U.S. Department of Defense and funeral arrangements have not been made.
The U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday that Staff Sgt. Tyler J. Smith, 24, died April 3 in the Kandahar province in Afghanistan following a blast from an enemy improvised explosive device.
Smith was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508the Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.