PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- The Picatinny community paid special tribute to a fallen Picatinny Soldier when it dedicated a building and plaque to his memory during a ceremony here Tuesday.
Nearly 100 friends, family members, Picatinny employees and guests gathered for the ceremony that renamed the facility formerly referred to as building 91 in honor of long-time Picatinny Soldier Sgt. 1st Class Scott R. Smith, who was killed in Iraq one year ago Tuesday.
The building is now known as "The Smith Building" in his memory. The 65-year-old building houses the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Directorate, where Smith worked for nearly six years. Armaments Engineering and Technology Center commander Col. Michael Smith explained during the ceremony why it was so fitting this particular building should be named after Sgt. 1st Class Smith.
"This building named in his memory and honor will remind everyone who enters through its doors of the dedication, professionalism and bravery he exemplified," he said. "It is equally fitting that the building should house the particular profession that was his love (as well as) the brave men and women who, like him, belong to it," Smith continued.
A law enforcement and Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialist, Smith was instrumental in the development and testing of new weapon systems and ordnance including the Army's first armed robot, the Special Weapons Observation Remote reconnaissance Direct Action System.
Smith played a key role in the SWORDS program, by not only contributing ideas, but also by training Special Operation Forces on its use during a 2005 mission in Iraq.
"While his involvement in that program has given Soldiers in harm's way a new capability with which to better defend themselves, few will know of his personal role in bringing SWORDS to the battlefield, except those of us here at Picatinny," Smith said.
Throughout the ceremony, Smith's friends and family also had the opportunity to reflect Smith and his work. Master Sgt. Gregory Miller, a fellow EOD Soldier who worked with Smith, said Smith took the danger of the EOD mission in stride and never said no to the hard tasks - often volunteering for them.
"He was a stand-up EOD technician and you couldn't ask for more," Miller said.
Smith was assigned here to the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team until February 2006. At the time of his final Iraq deployment, Smith, 34, was an explosive ordnance technician assigned to the 737th Explosive Ordnance Detachment, 52nd Ordnance Group, Fort Belvoir, Va.
On July 17, 2006, Smith died of injuries sustained in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom when an improvised explosive device detonated during a controlled ordnance clearing mission in Al Iskandariyah, Iraq. Previous to Picatinny, Smith served at Fort McClellan and Redstone Arsenal, Ala., Fort Richardson, Alaska, and Fort Lewis, Wash. He also served overseas in Vincenza, Italy, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.
A native of Punsxutawney, Pa., Smith joined the Army in January 1991 after graduating from Jefferson Technical School and Punxsutawney Area High School the previous June.
Smith is survived by his wife Gari-Lynn, a native of Tacoma, Wash., his parents Robert "Big Red" and Shirl Smith and brother Shawn and his wife Jen (Dupak) Smith, all of Punxsutawney. He is also survived by his paternal grandparents Richard and Betty Smith and maternal grandmother, Louise Vasbinder, also of Punxsutawney.