A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Tyler J. Smith, of Licking, at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Saturday. Smith was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Patriotic area residents lined U.S. 63 in Houston on Friday as a hearse carrying the body of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tyler Smith passed through the Texas County seat. It was the day before his service Saturday afternoon in Licking.

Traffic was halted in both directions as a large procession passed through.

The convoy started at the Vichy airport, traveling to Bradford Funeral Home in Summersville.

Numerous citizens and dignitaries lined the street to view the procession, many holding American flags of varying sizes. As the dozens of law enforcement vehicles, motorcycle-escort bikes and other vehicles carrying members of the Smith family and friends rolled slowly through town, they passed under a large American flag suspended from the extended ladder of the City of Houston Fire Department’s ladder truck. It  was parked near  U.S 63 and West Highway 17.

Earlier: Following his death April 3 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tyler Smith will be laid to rest on Saturday.

Licking VFW Post 6337 Commander Billie Krewson has asked that when Smith’s body arrives in his native town of Licking, people honor him and show support for all other troops with their presence.

Bradford Funeral Home of Summersville is handling funeral arrangements. The procession is scheduled to leave Summersville at 10 a.m. Saturday and should arrive in Licking between 10:30 and 10:45.

“I am asking that you and everyone in Licking line the streets with flags in hand,” Krewson said. “We should be at the ready by 10:20 and again as the procession leaves around 3.”

Smith’s funeral services are at Pentecostal Holiness Church, at Walnut Street and U.S. 63 in Licking. Westboro Baptist Church (of Topeka, Kan.), well-known for staging protests at military funerals around the country, has indicated on its website that it will have people present Saturday in Licking.

Licking Police Chief Scott Lindsey earlier this week released a statement warning the public of Westboro’s likely presence.

“These protestors are seeking attention for their cause,” Lindsey said. “I would like to encourage the public to ignore them and not give them the attention they want. They will probably make rude and obnoxious remarks trying to provoke those around them. I encourage everyone – do not stoop to their level and allow them to provoke you.”

Lindsey stated that law enforcement would have a strong presence at the funeral, including officers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and two other local departments. Sgt. Travis Davis said Thursday that the Texas County Sheriff’s Department would be sending five vehicles, and Houston Police Chief Jim McNiell said his department would send three officers.

“If someone is unduly harassed or threatened, they need to report it to an attending officer,” Lindsey said.

Smith’s body is to be flown to Missouri and will arrive Friday morning at the airport near Vichy. A short service is planned at that location, and then a procession will head south on U.S. 63 toward Licking.

At Licking, the procession will turn off onto Highway 32 east then south onto Main Street through the downtown area. After leaving Licking, the procession will continue to Houston before eventually turning east on Highway 17 toward Summersville. McNiell said he estimates its time of arrival in Houston to be about 11 a.m.

On Saturday, Smith’s body will be taken back to Licking for the funeral, which is set to begin at about 2 p.m., following a two-hour visitation period. A procession is scheduled to leave Summersville at about 10:15 a.m., and follow a route taking it from Highway 17 to Highway 137 through Raymondville and on to Licking.

Following the service, a procession will leave again for the burial location at Smith Cemetery. That procession will depart from the church in Licking at about 3 p.m. and go back down Highway 137 before turning east on Highway B and traveling about 8 ½ miles to Timber Hill Road, where it will turn right, go another two miles and turn left onto Smith Road (which leads to the cemetery).

In a statement released earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Defense stated Smith was killed by an enemy IED (improvised explosive device). He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (two awards), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/Bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal w/Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Basic Parachutist Badge, Combat and Special Skill Badge Basic Marksmanship Qualification Badge, and the Overseas Service Bar (two awards).

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered that the U.S. and Missouri flags at state buildings in all 114 counties and the City of St. Louis be flown at half-staff on April 14 to honor Smith. Nixon also ordered that the U.S. and Missouri flags at all state buildings in Texas County be flown at half-staff from April 15 to April 20.

“Staff Sgt. Smith served our country with bravery and dedication, and I ask all Missourians to remember his sacrifice when they see the lowered flags,” Nixon said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they mourn for him.”

As the procession proceeds down U.S. 63 Friday morning, McNiell will provide the Herald more specific information about its time of arrival in Houston. That information will be posted on the paper’s website and sent by text as soon it becomes available.

Earlier:

Following his death last week in Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Tyler Smith will be laid to rest on Saturday.

Licking VFW Post 6337 Commander Billie Krewson has asked that when Smith’s body arrives in his native town of Licking, people honor him and show support for all other troops with their presence.

Bradford Funeral Home of Summersville is handling funeral arrangements. The procession is scheduled to leave Summersville at 10 a.m. Saturday and should arrive in Licking between 10:30 and 10:45.

“I am asking that you and everyone in Licking line the streets with flags in hand,” Krewson said. “We should be at the ready by 10:20 and again as the procession leaves around 3.”

The U.S. Department of Defense stated that Smith was killed by an enemy improvised explosive device (IED).

PDF: Schedule for Smith procession

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply Cancel reply