Army 1LT
Lansing, MI
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Memorial Location: 

Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens
5401 N. Michigan
Lansing, MI

Killed by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in Baghdad, Iraq.

Assigned to 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Ft Carson, CO.

Justin Smith was born on August 4, 1977, in Lansing Michigan, to proud mother Judy Smith. Due to an illness at birth, Justin was only given a 50% chance of survival. He was a born fighter and overcame the illness. He went on to excel in sports, with his passions being wrestling and football. From a young age it looked like Justin was destined to wear a uniform. Whether it was Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts or a sports uniform, Justin wore it.

After graduating from Waverly High School in 1995, he joined the U. S. Army and attended Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He became a signal specialist and later earned his Air Borne (Jump) Wings and worked diligently to be promoted to the next rank. His hard work and leadership skills paid off and Justin was offered a slot in the Army’s Green to Gold Commissioning Program. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and completed the ROTC program. He graduated and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. He soon earned his promotion to 1st Lieutenant.

One of Justin’s favorite past times was dancing and dancing is how he met his wife, Shellie. They were married soon after and were blessed with a son, Ayden. Shellie and Ayden live in North Carolina where LT Smith is buried.

1LT Smith’s military career included one tour in Bosnia, one tour in South Korea and was on his third tour in Iraq when he made the ultimate sacrifice. He was fond of his men and did what any good leader does, takes care of his men and does what he can to protect them. This respect was returned by the men who served with him. “Justin was bigger than life. He had a confidence that would not waiver which was good and bad. He was stubborn gut knew what was important in life and what was important in war. He never let his mind rest. To stop thinking was a crime Justin wouldn’t let happen. He thought solutions to every challenge,” wrote CPT Seidel. 2LT Garner, 2nd Platoon Leader had this to say, “LT Smith was inhibit less, competent and a magnetic person. The kind of person you wanted to be with and the kind of person you wished you could be. His humor was limitless and his insight and ideas were golden.” From 1st SGT Hayes, “LT Smith was a stubborn man at times but he was genuine. He loved his job and was a dedicated professional who truly cared about his soldiers. He will always be remembered by me for his dedication and most importantly, the love he had for his family. Any time he would see someone down, he would ask if you wanted to see something that would make you smile? He would pull out a picture of his son and give you that huge grin of his and ask if you feel better and if you thought his son was amazing. I will miss him.”

On November 7, 2005, 1LT Smith made the ultimate sacrifice while engaged in combat operations in Baghdad, Iraq, when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his dismounted patrol.

1LT Justin Smith’s awards and decorations include: The Bronze Star, the Purple Heart Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (3rd award), the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NCO Medal, the Combat Action Badge, Airborne (Jump) wings, the Air Assault Badge and the Basic Marksman Qualification Badge (Expert).


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