Father Says There’s No One To Blame In Arlington Marine’s Death

ARLINGTON (KRLD/CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The father of an Arlington Marine reservist says he’s not interested in placing blame as officials explore whether his son died in what could be the first case of American troops killed by a missile fired from a U.S. drone.

The body of Marine Staff Sergeant Jeremy Smith received a hero’s welcome at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Tuesday. Patriot Guard Riders then escorted the flag-draped casket to the funeral home. “I feel for his family,” said Patriot Guard rider “Cookie” Lambert. “I’m just thankful that mine all came back, that’s why we try to do what we can for these that lose their lives.”

The Marine Staff Sergeant Smith, 26, died last week during combat operations in Afghanistan. His father, Jerry Smith, says he doubts the firing from the drone aircraft was a mistake. “And it [the drone missle] can only, to my knowledge and understanding, be brought to bear at the request of the people that it’s gonna be fired for,” Jerry Smith told KRLD NewsRadio 1080.

Smith said he’d like to meet the family of the service member who fired the missile remotely, to offer his support and forgiveness. “Whoever was at that joystick, flying that drone, is someone else’s son, that’s just as dedicated as my son,” he said adamantly. “And I assure you if that drone was flown over there it was flown over there to save my son and his men not to harm them in anyway.”

The North Texas Marine Corps reservist and another serviceman were killed in the incident. Military officials say they are investigating the deaths.

The elder Smith says it may have been his son who directed the suspected “friendly fire”. “We don’t know who called it down, it could have been my son himself because he was the platoon leader.”

Now Jerry Smith says Americans must do a better job of remembering service people like his son. “It really grieves me that they’re over there fighting for their lives and it’s almost like we’ve forgotten about that over here.”

Staff Sergeant Smith had served three tours in Iraq prior to his service in Afghanistan.

The funeral for Staff Sergeant Smith will be held April 15 at Grace Community Church in Arlington. He will then be buried at DFW National Cemetery.


One Comment

  1. teresa says:

    May God bless Mr. Smith’s family and hold them in their time of need. I can see where his son got his honor. My heart hurts for you and your family.

  2. CanadianTexan says:

    Thank you for your sacrifice and service. Prayers and blessings for your family as they carry on without you.

    1. Sandy Taylor says:

      Rest in peace young soldier. Thank you for your service!

  3. Miller Henley says:

    Bless you all. And thank you so much for both the sacrifice and incredible grace.

  4. Glenda Hammer says:

    This soldier’s father is taking this better than I would. I thought we were over there to kill terrorists, not our soldiers. The idiot that did this, should be court martialed.

    1. Don says:

      Friendly fire has killed people in all wars (probably back to the dawn of time). Mistakes happen every day in our world too and no one is held accountable unless they where made on purpose, such mistakes are far more deadly in a war zone where bullets are flying. If a child runs into the street after a ball and hit by a car if the driver tried to stop and did stop, they will not be found at fault (child does not belong in the street). What I have read about this applies about the same way, movement seen during a heavy attack and not known it was our own coming to the rescue until it was too late-brave souls do not run away, they join the fight and try to get to their people. Just as with a child in the street, on a battle line things happen quickly. Sad in both cases, but something that will happen far into the future more than likely.
      Japan went to level 7(Chernobyl) and we aren’t even safely storing spent fuel. U.S. has earthquakes, tornado’s and human errors too so who will you blame for flipping your light switch on and causing the demand for more energy?

  5. Kay says:

    Jerry Smith, I am sorry for your loss (and everyone else’s in these missions) and very proud you do not place blame on anyone over this, investigations do attempt to try to keep from repeating the same mistakes.
    Having been born into the military (Dad’s career) and later joining my mind is never far from them except sometimes during times of peace.

  6. will says:

    Words cannot express my gratitude for your sons ultimate sacrifice. God bless you and God bless Staff. Sgt. Smith and all that have gone before him to protect our great nation

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