Monday, August 12, 2013
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mark A Smith of Bakersfield, California, was killed August 5 when his helicopter crashed during a training mission on Okinawa.
As Home Post reported last week, the HH-60G Pave Hawk went down in the Central Training Area near Camp Hansen in Okinawa late Monday afternoon. Three of the aircraft's four crew members ejected safely from the aircraft.
Smith was considered missing until his body was discovered at the crash site on August 6.
The 30-year-old Smith was assigned to the 33rd Rescue Squadron at Kadena Air Base. Lt. Col. Pedro Ortiz, 33rd RQS commander, said in an Air Force news release that Smith was irreplaceable:
"Smitty was a total professional and true warrior. He led by example and was wise beyond his young age of 30. In combat or out, I am proud to call him my brother.
"He was a quiet guy outside the aircraft, but in the aircraft, a totally different person. In the aircraft, he was blunt and told you how it was. I loved that. His ever-present drive was to make you better and to take care of everyone in combat."
Smith leaves behind his wife, Jessica, and two daughters.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.