Army Chief Warrant Officer Eric A. Smith

Army Chief Warrant Officer Eric A. Smith

Died April 02, 2003 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom

41, of Rochester, N.Y.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.; killed in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash in central Iraq.

Eric A. Smith had wanted to fly since he was a little boy, but by the time he graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology he figured his grades would keep him grounded. In the mid-1980s, some Air Force pilots he met at a bar in San Diego gave him new hope, said his mother, Lillian Lake, 70, of Lake Placid. They invited him to take a flight. “They told him he would be better off going into the Army and being a helicopter pilot, even though it’s more difficult to fly a helicopter than a plane,” she said. Smith, 41, a 16-year Army veteran, was killed April 2 when the helicopter he was in went down. In December, he visited his mother and spoke of the possibility of not coming home. “He said, ‘Remember it was my choice, I was not drafted. I was not in the reserves. I love what I’m doing and I want to die that way — flying a helicopter — if that’s the way it has to be,’ ” she recalled. The youngest of three brothers, Smith played soccer at Brighton High School in the Rochester area and was, his mother said, “picky about his friends.” He never married. “He was always hoping to find a girl to marry,” his mother said. “But because he moved around so much, if he met somebody he felt it wouldn’t be fair to pick her up from her roots unless it was the right type of girl that could adjust.”

USA Today, Associated Press

4 Comments

  1. Robin

    I appreciate all that you are doing to get this memorial built. It looks like it will be absolutely wonderful…and I’m SO excited that it will be here — in KANSAS!!. My 11 year old son’s father, CWO Eric A. Smith, was KIA on April 2, 2003 and is represented in your biographies. I do have one concern though. The picture that is shown of Eric is his High School Senior picture. Eric was 41 when he died and did not look anything like this picture at that time. Is it possible that you could find a different picture of him to work with? Thank you for looking into this.

    • Robin,
      Thank-you for your comments. We are very excited about the Kansas location. If you would like to email a picture to me at kat@AFWMF.org I would be happy to change the image Eric’s page. Just put his rank and name in the subject line and tell me it’s a photo change for the website so I know where it goes. I will email you from that address to make it easier for you to respond. Thanks Kat.

Leave a Comment