Remembering the Life and Memory of...
Cpl James E. Smith
Hometown: Long Valley, NJ
Died: October 3rd, 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia, Operation Gothic Serpent.
Unit: Company B, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Ft. Benning, Ga.
Incident: Died from injuries suffered whilst attempting to rescue a team member.
Posthumously awarded the Silver Star with Valor Device and Oak leaf cluster and Purple Heart.
Corporal Smith was born in Morristown, New Jersey in February 1972. He is a 1990 graduate of West Morris High School. He entered the service in October 1990 and after completing initial entry training at Fort Benning, Georgia, was assigned to B Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. On 16 August 1993, Corporal Smith and his company were sent to Mogadishu, Somalia. While in Somalia, Corporal Smith participated in six combat operations, the final operation being the fifteen-hour battle known as “The Battle of the Black Sea.” During this battle, one of the UH-60 helicopters providing aerial coverage was shot down. Corporal Smith and his team were the lead element for the company in the movement toward the downed aircraft.
Under an intense fusillade of enemy fire, Corporal Smith and his men fought from street to street to link up with the downed aircraft. Upon reaching the crash site, Corporal Smith began to suppress the enemy as other elements attempted to rescue the helicopter crew. Corporal Smith continued to hold the enemy at bay until he was mortally wounded by enemy fire. Corporal Smith was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” device and oak leaf cluster (Posthumous), and the Purple Heart. His other awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and the Combat Infantry Badge.
Cpl. James "Jamie" Edgar Smith Jr. (1972 – October 3, 1993) was a U.S. Army Ranger who served in Mogadishu, Somalia. He was one of the 19 American soldiers killed during the The Battle of Mogadishu, bleeding to death after being shot in the thigh. Smith was the eldest of three sons of James H. Smith, a Vietnam War veteran.
Military ServiceSmith was one of 19 US military personnel killed in action in Somalia between October 3 and 4, 1993. He had been part of a Ranger unit fast roping from a helicopter to provide security for a mission to capture Somali clan leaders. He was among the first Rangers to arrive at the scene of one of the downed helicopters. The Rangers did not want to leave dead bodies in the helicopter; Somalis were known for mutilating American bodies. He was helping a fellow soldier when an enemy bullet struck his thigh, severing his femoral artery.
Film and Book portrayals In the 2001 film Black Hawk Down, based on the operation, Smith was portrayed by Charlie Hofheimer and served as Matt Eversmann's second in command. The most notable scene including Smith was shortly after he was shot in the leg, being cared for by other United States soldiers attempting to save his life. Jamie Smith's role in the Battle of Mogadishu was described in the novel Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. Smith's father was extensively interviewed by the book's author, Mark Bowden, prior to being published in 1999.
Tributes Jamie Smith was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star with Valor Device and Oak Leaf Cluster in addition to a Purple Heart.
During the reading of a tribute to him in the senate he was said to be "dedicated and responsible...extremely focused on his commitment to the U.S. Army"